Managers overseeing employees who work together but do not have regular in-person contact with one another can encounter a variety of obstacles when they are trying to rally their team. The product of the team’s efforts may depend heavily on people’s individual efforts, but everyone’s ability to work cooperatively is going to have a determinative effect on a project’s outcome. When everybody is focused on their own individual efforts, managers need to find ways to bridge the gap between employees in order to cultivate a team-centered working dynamic. Here are some ways that managers can unify teams in which some or all of the members remotely and also optimize individual employees’ workflow.
Centralize Project Materials
To help a team work efficiently, managers need to give them the resources that they need to stay well-organized. In the context of remote or hybrid workplaces, team members need a central and secure way to access project materials.
Centralizing documents and other data saves people from constantly having to request materials from one another. This could be a big time saver in a work-from-home team member’s workflow. Rather than having to wait for responses from people to advance the next agenda item, they can instantly retrieve it from a single location. Likewise, they won’t be burdened with having to scour their emails and files to find what they’re looking for. The best project management software makes it easy for people to quickly identify and retrieve the information that they want.
Secure Data and Communications
It is imperative that business owners and managers who oversee teams that work from home adapt their cyber security plans accordingly. Enforcing security policies is a little more involved when IT managers have to worry about securing more than one site. Workstations spread hundreds of miles apart could all become vulnerable to the same single phishing or malware threat. The security of the group may be only as strong as the least protected group member.
Even if IT hasn’t previously been a key part of a project manager’s responsibilities, the introduction of new vulnerabilities that are inherent to project collaboration from remote workstations should prompt them to take protective measures. Using advanced security protocols for data storage and email encryption shields your team members from online threats.
Remote workers often feel like they have to fend for themselves instead of feeling like they’re part of a team. Their interpretation of their job roles is almost wholly task-oriented, and it may be hard for them to see the bigger picture regarding the significance of their contributions.
Explaining organizational hierarchies clarifies how team members are supposed to support one another. An organizational chart demystifies the structure of a business. Also, creating and periodically revising employees’ job descriptions helps to solidify expectations.
Ultimately, practicing good communication with employees who work on projects remotely will enable team leaders to generate positive project outcomes. The right tools can simplify supervisory functions for managers and give their employees resources to collaborate with one another effectively.
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