Keeping Your Virtual Team Active: Productivity Tips

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“The work productivity during the pandemic decreased by 17 percent”

In a situation of an acute shock to the world economy, education system, employment market, social resilience, globalization, international trade, global supply chain model, and international politics yet people are able to migrate to work possibly, exceeding the expectations through virtual remote platforms.

The top reasons for increased productivity are no commute time and ability to focus better in-home, on the other hand, not being able to focus properly on work and lack of dedicated workspace are the leading factors of decreased productivity but there is a reasonable amount of variation based on demographics, type of job, the mindset of individuals but by large it succeeded expectations that work can be done this way.

Often when we talk about how remote teams work we are able to look at technology as the only solution but as we are learning more about technology every day, it undoubtedly gives us the ability to communicate with each other and stay connected, however technology is just a small part of it. It also involves how people utilize it and how the structural function of teamwork needs to be changed as well as all the processes that take place.

The following are the three key challenges of remote teams which could lead to reduced efficiency and cohesion if not mitigated.

Excessive pressure and workload 

Initially, people are in favor of remote working they are excited to work from the comfort of their home and work according to one’s appositeness which sounds like a great proposition but, the remote reality is about being 24 hours in homes without a proper work environment and unfortunately, it also revolves around working, managing home and doing daily chores. The real challenge is not necessarily managing work but the fact that work from home puts extra pressure on people.

Structure and Process

There have been some incredible shifts in the way a team works that needs to be restructured because the office setups provided a quality work environment and it helped team members to communicate with each other and connect better.. Unclarity and dependencies are occurring between teams, also with new colleagues joining, there is a sense of getting lost and not knowing what to do.

One thing that has been helpful for many business units is to structure teams smaller than earlier, it is based on this agile principle of empowerment of smaller teams, cross-functional setups that can get together and execute tasks more accurately and promptly. From the top-down perspective, it helps in sharing important information with other team members to be able to execute and coordinate better.
Pic Credits: Time Doctor

The Technology Element

Technology is a very important element that is helping people to understand what solutions they have, how they can utilize them, and how they can get help in using various web services., and so on to be as effective as possible. It’s not only about the technology that is being used but also about the full-filling requirements of the colleagues, one’s suite of solutions that enables colleagues to utilize technology in the most efficient ways.

It also helps in deciding what needs to be done to solve the second-order and the third-order effect of people trying to be entrepreneurial and trying to be productive. It is crucial not to view these factors as individual or isolated units, rather it is about it’s how the three dimensions work together in an integrated way.

Six actions to consider in response to the crisis

  • Take a break, regroup, and plan as a team.
  • Communicate and clear work policies to protect employees, ensure service.
  • Structure team into smaller cross-functional groups and work as a team to define new processes.
  • Upgrade or sign on to new digital tools where ever it is possible.
  • Create a digital learning team to share developing practices.
  • Lead by example.

Creating a collaborative environment ensures the best work

It’s been shown time and again that employees do their best work when they feel like their efforts are being valued. The paycheck might be what motivates employees to show up at work but feeling valued is what motivates them to do their best once they are there. One of the best ways to ensure this is by creating a collaborative environment where they can share their input and feel as if they are a part of the big picture in the process. Telling people why their work is important or how important the work is to the company and the ways in which it affects other people.

Friedrich Nietzsche says “He who has a why to live can bear almost any how”. Even if all else is equal an employee working in a collaborative environment will be much more productive than an employee who feels unheard of or undervalued.

Communication is where effective teamwork begins and ends

A recent survey of 20,000 employees has found that 88 percent of the employees believe that frequent communication from leaders and team members has been effective on productivity. Leading a team at present time is extremely valuable, people are working from home, lacking assurance and many have become caretakers which are building a lot of stress and pressure. Many adults have been reporting symptoms of anxiety disorder, depressive disorder, or both were not communicating is certainly not an option.

In the absence of communication, people can easily get distracted and it’s important to be transparent and open, sharing what one knows now and knowing that it might change is essential. Part of communication is also listening, small businesses are planning out one afternoon a week to engage in storytelling sessions, making sure that they continue to have the human connection.

Productivity Tips

Sharing the vision and translating it to reality

It could be difficult for employees especially in present times to muster motivation if they don’t know what they are working towards. If one wants their employees to feel motivated by the work that they are doing it is essential to show them how their efforts are helping to achieve the company’s vision. Understanding what one is working toward is a huge motivation in itself and employees are more likely to deliver the best work if they are keyed in the company’s vision and if they know exactly what it is.

Additionally, it is very important to give positive feedback because a little positive feedback and praise to the team can go a long way. In certain cases, a single compliment is all that it takes to brighten an employee’s outlook and leave them feeling motivated for the rest of the workday.

Understanding each team member’s work style 

Understanding every team member’s working pattern and not just being rigid on the idea that the company holds is also important.

As a pacesetter, it’s necessary to grasp the working style of every team member and then telling them about what’s the one factor that makes them productive. Some employees might notice friendly competition as extremely motivating and productive whereas others might not take competition with other coworkers in a positive way, some workers may give their best once they are working with their competitors whereas other workers may go higher alone. Instead of applying general psychological feature methods to the complete team, it is more practical to focus on individual team members and work toward each one of them on a personal basis.

Lead by the power of example

To bring out the best in your team one needs to lead by example. Albert Schweitzer, the greatest humanitarian said, one must teach people by example for they will learn by no other.  The leader should set examples because the team members will be inspired by him/her. Setting the pace and defining what excellent work looks like sets a sense of effort or enthusiasm for the team members.

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