Since 2005, the amount of people who now remote in to work has increased by 60%. Over 2 million people are able to work flexible schedules and choose whether or not they want to go into the office five days a week. This increase is due to more companies allowing flexible schedules. How could they not? Employees are 20% more productive when performing creative tasks at home and most of them work more than 40 hours a week. Just because they aren’t physically in the office, doesn’t mean the work isn’t being completed, in fact, it’s the opposite.
There are a few obstacles to overcome if you work from home as it can be easy to forget that there are actually faces behind the computer screen. How can our team members get to know us and create professional relationships – when we don’t actually meet face-to-face? Below are a few suggestions that can help you stay connected with your team in the technology age.
It can be easy to misinterpret emails and Instant Messages. Sometimes, emails can seem a little unclear and may not be detailed. Utilize programs such as Skype for Business to help communicate effectively with group members. Skype offers both verbal and written forms of communication. You can set up conference calls, Instant Message, and update your work status (available or not) all with Skype. Even if you are just changing your availability status, you will be communicating with your team.
Know WHAT you are trying to get accomplished and stay on track. It can be easy to lose track of time when you are devoted to what you are doing and work alone. It helps to set time limits on projects for both yourself (and team members) when working remotely. By track your own productivity, you can ensure you are keeping up with the team and progressing forward on the whole project. Calling in and giving a daily progress report with your boss could also help. It lets them know what you have gotten done and you can communicate any progress or setbacks that you have encountered.
A great visual resource to use when you’re out of the office is Screen Share. It can be difficult describing a problem, situation, wordy paragraph, etc. over the phone. Screen Share can help you communicate with your team visually by giving you the ability to share your screen with others. Sometimes, visual collaboration is the only way to solve a problem and this resource can help you stay connected.
Stay available. Whether you finish your work early for the day or if you worked till 9:00 at night, keep up with your emails and your phone calls. You may have completed your task at hand, but that doesn’t mean the day is done. Checking your email and answering your phone will help you stay connected to not only your team but your company as well.
Lastly, check out your company’s social media. It’s a great way to engage with the brand and learn about what other projects or initiatives are happening within your organization and not just your team. Do you have suggestions on how to stay connected to your colleagues or company when you work remotely?