Working remotely has become a lot more common in recent years. In fact, here at Don Creative Group, all of our team members work remotely! Being able to work from home certainly has its benefits – like working in your sweatpants – but it can also threaten your team’s productivity.
Whether your employees have designated office hours or are free to work whenever they want, it’s important to maintain workplace communication and effectively manage your remote team.
With this in mind, we’ve created a 6-step system to help you identify workflow blockages and increase your team’s productivity!
1.) Find Your Blockages
When we say “blockages,” we are talking about anything that slows down or stops your team’s progress. If something diverts resources or distracts your team, that is not good!
Some common blocks in the workplace are:
- Out-of-date tools or software
- Technology issues
- Unbalanced team responsibilities
- Lack of clear project goals
- Missing key or needed information
- Too many meetings, especially if they are not focused on furthering along projects
2.) Ask Your Team
A glance at the list above might have you thinking, I know exactly what’s wrong! If that’s the case, great! If not, no worries. In either case, we’d recommend asking your team members what they think is hindering their workflow.
There are many questions you could ask them, and we’ve given you a few:
- What questions or challenges do you have on a daily basis?
- What are your biggest office or technology complaints?
- What are your biggest productivity blockages?
3.) Get Rid of the Blockages
Once you have an idea of the specific blockages your team faces, you can start to implement changes to eradicate them. With your team members, work to brainstorm solutions for your productivity problems. Make sure that this brainstorming session is geared towards problem-solving and not assigning blame; this must be a safe space for employees to speak freely!
Oftentimes, an outdated process or software may need to be updated, but sometimes, it may seem like a person is to blame for these blockages. If that is the case, you can analyze their responsibilities and delegate them to others, or hire additional employees.
4.) Work Against New Bottlenecks
Now that you’ve worked to clear your workflow blockages, you don’t want new ones to form! You can prevent blockages by creating clear expectations and ways to measure productivity. Communicate these expectations and practices with your staff, detailing how – and how often – you will measure performance.
We’d recommend investing in a project management system and using a central communication hub, like Slack, to further your organizational efforts.
5.) Take Advantage of Being Asynchronous
Speaking of communication, this can undoubtedly be affected by a remote workplace. Unlike an office setting, communication and feedback isn’t instantaneous; people don’t have the ability to simply head over to your desk to ask for clarification. Add in different remote time zones, and this gets even harder.
But, asynchronous communication can be a positive thing too because – let’s be honest – it’s nice not having to reply instantly. Asynchronous communication allows team members to ponder a coworker’s questions and respond more thoughtfully and productively. And while said coworker is waiting for a response, they can work on other things, thus preventing a stalled workflow.
6.) Create Live Check-ins
With productive communication in mind, make sure to schedule synchronous meetings with your staff. Because face-to-face communication is limited, synchronous meetings are all the more valuable.
Whether these meetings are one-on-one or entire team meetings, regularly checking in with your team members gives them the opportunity to ask for clarification and feedback. You’ll also get to see how your workflow changes are impacting your team.
If these meetings reveal new or resurfacing productivity blockages, you can proactively extinguish them.
There you have it – our 6 tips for enhancing workflow for your remote team! Productivity blockages may be common in workplaces, but your business doesn’t have to fit that mold.
Optimize your technology, processes, communication, and team responsibilities… and watch your productivity levels soar. If you need extra help, reach out to us; we’re happy to help you on your remote business journey!