Top Tips To Make Remote Work Really Effective

Work culture has undergone significant changes over the years. The relevance of remote working has increased, and it ensures smooth handling of office tasks despite the larger physical distances between the locations of the office and employees.

In this article, we discuss some tips that can be used to ensure the smooth functioning of remote work.

Your Communication Should Be Kept Personal

Face-to-face communication is crucial for remote companies. The information you get in the form of verbal cues, inflections, and intonations cannot be substituted by the information you get from any other form of communication.

 If the personal relationships that are important to ensure maximum productivity of your team are to be kept alive, video conferencing is a must-have. However, real-time conversations aren’t always necessary. Moreover, scheduling them is not an easy task. If you want to send a quick message to someone, consider video recording the message. This way you can establish a face-to-face connection with them and explain your message in the simplest possible way. They can view the message at their convenience.

Decide On A Meeting Cadence And Stick To It

When you have decided to shift your team to a remote environment, one of the first things that you should address is a meeting cadence. It is the weekly or monthly schedule of team meetings. By setting a meeting cadence and sticking to it, everyone in the team will have a clear idea about the projects under process and the tasks they are supposed to do.

A meeting cadence is not like a meeting that you can cancel on the go. Unless you stick to your meeting cadence, there is every chance that you end up as an unproductive and unmotivated remote team that has little idea about the things going on in the organization.

Here are some common meeting types that you should include in your cadence.

  • A monthly all-hands meeting involving everyone in the company.
  • Daily stand-up meetings involving smaller teams or departments.
  • Weekly departmental meetings to be conducted for discussing the projects within the department.
  • Weekly one-on-one meetings with superiors and their direct reports.

Do Not Rely Only On Email Communication

Relying on emails for communication is the biggest mistake you can make while working remotely.  If your team has to check their emails for messages from the office, they will not be able to do the work assigned to them.

It is an accepted reality that email is not meant for instant communication and you should not expect people from your company or outside it to give quick replies to your emails. You can instead implement a chat tool like Microsoft Teams or Slack for internal communication and use the app for that purpose alone. Make it a rule that all internal communications within the company should be made using that tool and use email for any external communication.

A Meeting Without An Agenda Lacks Purpose

Regardless of meetings in your office being held repeatedly, all meetings should have an agenda. As you are working remotely, the chalkboard in the conference room and pen and paper is not enough. Meeting agendas should be in the cloud and has to be attached to every calendar event. This will help the participants add relevant topics for discussion in advance.

The importance you give to set a meeting agenda ensures that everything that should be discussed are discussed in the meeting. It also ensures that the meetings go smoothly.

Notifications Have A Negative Effect On Your Productivity

A phone call, slack message, or text is enough to affect your productivity adversely. The number of notifications you get maybe double or triple when you work remotely to that you get when you work in a physical office.

Unless your team is aware of the cost of notifications, there is a chance that the productivity of your team is going to be lowered by recurrent notifications. Studies have suggested that it takes at least 20 minutes for one to enter a “flow state” where he/she is the most productive. Even a minute distraction or a notification is enough to pull them out of the state. If they have to get back to that state, it will take them another 20 minutes. Therefore, there is an overall loss of 40 minutes of productivity.

One simple tip you can try to avoid the decrease in productivity of your team due to notifications is to ask yourself a question before sending an idea or asking a question to someone in your team, “ Should it be sent now or can it wait till the next time I meet with them”? If your message can wait, you can add it to the next meeting agenda and save some precious minutes from the person’s day.

Digitize All Information

Many companies keep physical records of their operating procedures and other processes. That is always better than having no record at all but operating remotely means you have the duty to digitize all the information and store it in the cloud in an easily accessible form.

There are increased chances of data loss, which could cost a lot to your company. Hence you have to identify backups for your core processes and personnel. Stress test the members in your organization so that you can prepare for someone leaving in short notice. Also, try rotating roles periodically to ensure that everyone is capable of handling all roles in case it is needed.

Essential Tips To Manage Your Team Effectively During Trying Times

Difficult times like a global economic crisis or unexpected pandemic tests people professionally and personally. Businesses have to prepare themselves to face tough times that are coming ahead. The business team has to be well equipped to maintain unexpected uncertainties that could even bring an end to the whole company. The survival of a business depends on the ability of the team to stay atop of challenging situations.  

Covid-19 pandemic is a global threat that puts nations through the toughest of times in several years. Here are a few tips that will help contribute to better team management during trying times.

Stay Calm

Panicking is not the solution to any problem. The only thing we can do now is to focus on moving forward by adopting changes that the situation demands. Keeping in mind unpredictable situations that could come up in the future is important but fear of daring a move is going to be detrimental for the business. Operate from a solution-oriented perspective to clear up your mind to think creatively and strategically. The rational thought process you use to encourage your team will contribute to its productivity.

Task Forces

In an unexpected situation like COVID-19, the departmental priorities and individual responsibilities may not be the same as that of the times pre-crisis. They will undergo a rapid change that in itself is a challenge to the business team. Some skills get more attention as its importance keeps increasing, and employees may have to work more closely with the team to overcome the industrial challenges and adapt to the changes that came into effect.

Things are moving at a rapid pace now and we would recommend Slack as a solution for brainstorming, real-time updates, and for requesting information. We view a few of the virtual groups that are active at the moment as task forces that offer diverse expertise and help build a sense of ownership. When employees see that their ideas are given the attention they deserve and are put to action, they are motivated to continue delivering out of the box ideas.

Empathize

After all, the whole world is threatened by the crisis and it is important to realize that we all are human and will have fears and worries about the unpredictability of the current situation. Leaders have to empathize with the employees and realize that they have a life outside the office, meaning that they would be battling professional and personal challenges. They would be worried about the safety of their loved ones but still manage to show up for work (even if remotely) forgetting all the personal worries and give their best to the success of the business team.

Business owners have to realize that everyone would be delivering the best by staying within their physical, emotional, and mental parameters. It is important that you communicate with your team personally and realize that understanding the circumstances of each person is crucial in improving productivity and encouraging mutual respect.

The power of face-to-face interaction is proven beyond doubt especially in trying times. Due to the stay-at-home protocol enforced in several countries, many are isolated and human connection is crucial in a time like this.

Realize The Importance Of Communication 

Business strategies have globally shifted across all industries and the business environment is not the same every day, as so much is happening around us. As the priorities keep undergoing continuous changes, the management has to take those changing priorities seriously, deploy the tasks to a broader team, and guide individual work when priorities shift.

Now that workplaces have shifted to remote platforms, where individual employees work from the comfort of their homes, there is an increased chance for directional messages getting miscommunicated or even worse, not communicated at all. Leaders have to focus more on transparency so that employees develop a sense of teamwork. When the team stays informed about important decisions at the executive level, their dedication to the work they do increases by multiple folds.

To ensure that everyone who is part of your team gets every key message, you would have to keep repeating the same points during internal team meetings for quite a while. You would be going on and on about the team objectives and key projects via the communication platform that you use. You may find it overwhelming, but remember that most people are only getting this information once or twice and it is not going to exhaust them. Always be open to questions, innovating ideas, and important conversations.

Be Prepared For The Future

Even if your company has been thriving in the competitive business world for long with a team of experts who come up with innovative ideas, the possibility for a temporary shutdown still remains. That is how the situation is. This challenging time will affect various departments in your company differently. Some team members will end up having nothing much to contribute at the moment. That does not mean they are not valuable.

It is the time that you start thinking of big strategic work that you kept postponing to complete more urgent projects. You have to learn to use the current less busy business environment and invest the extra time you get to future-oriented goals so that the future success will compensate for the losses that you might have to face now. Sometimes you may have an idea in mind that needs to be developed. Invest your time in giving shape to the idea. Certain departments have to hold strategic meetings to identify key goals for the upcoming year.

Ways To Inspire The Sales Team To Achieve Their Objectives This Year

Exhaustion due to prolonged stress in sales is an actual phenomenon. As per LinkedIn’s data, there is about 34% annual turnover in this field. That said, exhaustion is beyond a retention issue. The task of selling is taxing, it involves much pressure, and even high performers face many problems in it. Therefore, slowly developing sales is not a sign that your business has incapable employees. Instead, it is a sign that there is possibly no fine incentive system in place for those high-performing sales representatives.

The main sales incentive is in the form of money, and it will possibly remain so. Then again, it alone will not inspire salespeople to strive to achieve their goals. This would be the case, especially, in the event, they think that their leaders are not recognizing their considerable effort in sales. Leaders have to treat salespeople with importance for the things they do instead of merely compensating them.

There is no better way to tackle the exhaustion of salespeople and motivate them to achieve fresh objectives than making appreciation a part of your company culture. Giving gifts is a potentially influential element of its culture. The only thing is that presents should be worthwhile for them. Here, we will explain why giving gifts is an excellent motivating factor for salespeople, and will give you suggestions on implementing an incentive program based on presents.

Encourage An Appreciation Culture By Means Of Gifting

The work of an excessive number of salespeople often goes unrecognized. As per a study by the Harvard Business Review, 82% of US employees do not think that those who supervise them appreciate them sufficiently for the part they play in making something happen. This is negatively affecting their performance: a further 40% said that they would use more energy when working, in the event they were appreciated more frequently.

When you acknowledge the efforts of workers and reward them, they will have an extra drive to achieve bigger things. Recognition culture will serve the dual functions of inspiring people and reinforcing what achievement appears to the workforce at large.

No other form of acknowledgment will strike a chord just as well as a meaningful and timely present. Besides recognizing salespeople’s contributions, it will show that you value them as people, not only as true workhorses who close big deals.

There are other influential non-monetary ways to encourage salespeople such as through healthy competition, verbal recognition, and displaying the names of high-performers on a big board. These are three ways for leaders to acknowledge the achievements of salespeople and make them energetic enough to remain determined and engaged. That said, presents encourage them on a different level.

Take for instance quickly-growing companies that have high revenue. The Incentive Research Foundation discovered that these entities are 30% likelier to notice that their rewards and recognition programs are effectively affecting worker behaviour.

Tips And Ideas On Building A Purposeful Present-Based Incentive Scheme

The complication in a recognition culture based on gifts is that organizational snack cans and swags will not encourage high-performing individuals to accomplish fresh objectives. Instead, it will have to include the presents that convey the company’s gratitude truly and in a manner that its sales personnel will appreciate.

Present Them With An Experience Worth Remembering. Do you know whether your salesperson has been desperately wanting to do something, like, say, dining in a particular restaurant or rock climbing? If yes, give him or her a voucher that allows them to dine there or maybe give them a free pass to a rock climbing gym.

Give A Present With Enduring Value. Choose a present that the person from the sales team may appreciate and utilize repeatedly, like a plant, notebook or calendar.

Choose Something That Can Do Good. Every worker, particularly Millennials, have a strong feeling for society- and environment-related causes, and they wish for their employers to care about these things as well. Give a present that has a potential impact like the following.

  • Granola prepared by women employees who have survived maltreatment.
  • Artisanal beach towels produced by an organization that provides some of its profits to companies involved in marine conservation.
  • Wine stoppers handblown by teenagers who are affected by gun-related violence.

Give Them A Break From Work. The best gift is occasionally time off for people who work hard in order for them to reflect and return to work with a stronger will to do more. Motivate salespeople who are trying tirelessly to close a transaction by allowing them to have a day off.

Cause It To Be Surprising. All great presents have a surprise element. That said, this form of incentive scheme would work only if it is rarely implemented. After all, workers wish to be aware of the reason for the reward to feel encouraged.

Add A Note Of Thanks. You may not effectively acknowledge each person’s contribution through a blasé electronic mail. The most meaningful and personal action is to write a note that expresses your gratitude to the salesperson for his or her contribution.

Gift-Based Acknowledgement Does Not Suit All Circumstances

The finest leaders are aware that every single individual in their sales team deserves to be recognized for the part they played in producing a result. One salesperson may value a particular form of gift that is different from another. Therefore, a leader must be aware of each team member and what motivates him or her.

Personally thank team members for their fine work and encourage them to achieve their 2020 objectives through an organizational culture that acknowledges and rewards it.

How To Increase Productivity Of Remote And Distributed Work Forces

We are going through a tough time with the COVID-19 pandemic wave hitting the world.  ‘Work from home’ protocol adopted to keep ourselves safe has made remote workforces the new normal. But that hasn’t necessarily changed business goals and deadlines much. This is a challenge to the managers, as they become obliged to ensure that the remote workgroup performs just as well as usual employee groups functioned before the new work culture was adopted.

Here are 4 important steps that managers can adopt to address communication and productivity issues that could arise from the part of workgroups that are not acquainted with working remotely.

Integrations Of Communication And Management Tools

Integrations allow remote-friendly teams to connect on a regular basis with little effort. SaaS platforms that are based on communication have now become virtual offices where employees who are working in different time zones communicate one-on-one and also in groups. Microsoft Teams and Slack have become some of the important spaces to facilitate daily team interactions that contribute to building a sense of teamwork.

Progress Should Be Made Visible And Simple To Understand

Combining the methods to measure your performance with goal-setting processes is an important strategy that can be employed to motivate the employees. Through such an approach, employees gain a better understanding of how well the business is performing, figure out areas of personal improvement, and find opportunities for specialization.

To make sure the company is operating smoothl while working remotely, employees should have an unambiguous idea about prioritizing their time, sticking to deadlines and tracing task processes. Knowing individual responsibilities is not just enough. Every employee should clearly know what the tasks assigned to them as well as to their peers are. They gain this knowledge only if organizations remain transparent at all levels.  

Use Data To Increase Productivity And Check Communication Breakdowns

Data is a crucial tool that assists everyone in an organization in tracking the impact of their work on the entire business. It helps people set goals, manage them, and follow a work pattern that can bring out positive results.

Most of the organizational management and unified communications software has now begun displaying data in a dashboard format for users to draw necessary conclusions from it and make data-fueled recommendations.

Employing proper data-collection methods and putting the collected data together in an easily understandable manner helps employees working at different levels of the organization immensely. Data allows executives and managers to see the issues that have occurred and identify irregularities and performance issues if any.

Connect To Employees Personally

Working in remote platforms can be a source of frustration. Distributed working environments often make it extremely difficult to maintain coherency with even the simplest of tasks like parsing the meanings of phrases, emoticons, and punctuations in written communications becoming overwhelming for at least some employees. Comprehending communication in an in-person work environment is quite easy, as it has the advantage of context but in virtual environments, employees take some time to figure out the exact emotion behind a communication. Language differences add up to the challenge of global organizations.

To ensure that day-to-day work is done properly and bottom-line goals are met, managers can make use of the latest tools and technology but they have to keep in mind their long term goal. Ensure that your employees stay engaged, productive, and happy. Take time to call them up or leave a little reminder (it could be something like a mailed card or a link to the book they will like). It assures the employees that they are not forgotten and work is not going unnoticed. When they develop a belief that there is a bigger purpose to what they are doing, their productivity is definitely going to increase.

Tips For Recruiting People And Building A Remote Team

Nations around the world saw a drastic change that occurred in only a matter of a few days. A worldwide pandemic caused a recession to occur and uncertainty started to affect business people and new businesses all over the world. Startup owners have noticed the significance of discovering innovative methods of adjusting their enterprise to new conditions while sticking with an approach that values employees.

Many companies have planned on increasing their workforce size by twofold by yearend, and some of them are fortunately on schedule to achieve this objective. The global epidemic means that hiring new personnel is an altogether different ballgame with an entirely fresh set of factors to consider. Many have taken a virtual approach to interview and recruit people. Below is a list of lessons they have learned during this process.

Devote A Considerable Amount Of Time In Your Staff Initially

From the viewpoint of both recruiting and the act of retaining, backing your present workforce is one of the tactical business functions. Each new business has different requirements, but you have to treat building a positive workplace experience as important to lure the finest personnel into it.

Use Shared Resources

Businesses over the world are handling change that is occurring at a never-seen-before speed. New businesses have discharged over 30,000 workers permanently due to the epidemic after March 11, 2020. Several individuals are seeking a new job, so frequent reports are released regarding businesses that continue to recruit even in this epidemic situation. In the event you are recruiting, communicate with publications pertinent to your industry to know the way to make your business a part of the lists.

You must also personally associate with the local community, be it through your network of co-workers, other businesses in your area, or by looking at community boards. This will help to crowdsource fresh sources of information for talented personnel, such as opt-in email lists of layoffs, and provide you with a platform to share difficulties.

Recognize The Importance Of People’s Difficulties And Adjust To These

Individuals are going through challenging situations like coping with responsibilities related to taking care of their kids while working full-time, plus the possible anxiety due to extended isolation. Never treat such challenges as unimportant when interviewing and hiring people, but acknowledge these instead.

Research into business transformation has shown that the key to success is communication. It now seems different from before, but it is important to communicate correctly. Share updates with both existing and potential workers, soon and frequently, even if you cannot provide details regarding everything. Candidates will often ask how businesses are handling the coronavirus pandemic. Communicate your company policies with candidates in a proactive way to give them a bigger feeling of certainty regarding your organization. Persuade two-way talks letting individuals communicate their concerns and questions.

Make Fresh Experiences That Specifically Suit Virtual Life

An experience where people feel physically present cannot be recreated through technology, so it is vital to adapt appropriately. Experts notice increased ‘video call fatigue’, which is a sense that digital conferences are more tiring as compared to physical gatherings because of excess non-verbal communication. Prolong the interviewing procedure over a few days to provide interviewers with some rest, in the event this is doable. It is easier to schedule interviews because situations like overbooked meeting rooms and travel times are out of the picture now.

To bring a welcoming ambiance, think about having one’s recruiter join his or her virtual interview for a few minutes initially to help check their tools and answer logistics-related queries. Have candidates meet some of their potential colleagues because wherever you work from, people are the ones who really define organizational culture.

Bond With One Another And Spread Laughs

It is very important to create a feeling of safety for a fresh worker who is yet to meet their colleagues physically. To help build a connection, prioritize chances to bring new recruits together from the first day onwards.

Think about executing engagement opportunities such as casual sessions, which reproduce the ambiance of a physical workplace. For instance, consider establishing group coffee gatherings, plus design fun activities such as one where workers bring their children to video chat and describe them to others. This will keep workers engaged, and will help them experience social interactions despite being physically apart from each other.

At the end of the day, this is the time to adapt to a new working environment. Things are unlikely to go as planned all the time. The consequences of the coronavirus disease include delivery disruptions that complicate accessing tech tools before the first day and the shocking impact it has on human lives. However, you must acknowledge that, even amid this situation, there is an opportunity to grow, innovate, and have fun at work with colleagues.

Tips For Communicating In Your Company During A Turbulent Period

Periods of quick change will test an individual’s capability to adjust and react to a given situation. This is when the communication capability of a leader will be the factor that decides if a business will fail or succeed. This applies no matter whether he or she is an executive-level or front-line leader. Good communicators can present a vision, plan a feasible path ahead, and help others understand the implications. All of the things mentioned above is very important to have, particularly in uncertain and turbulent periods.

Therefore, strong communication is beyond just a catchphrase. Rather, it is a tool that can affect collaboration, customer relations, and organizational culture in a positive or negative way. It is unfortunate that a survey discovered 91% of 1,000 workers said their leaders do not have good communication capability. It is possible to track this inability back to the way in which managers and leaders are involved in or communicate with workers.

So, in what way does one make sure that their employees are able to relate with their ideas during these times? Below are a few strategies to take into consideration when emailing a co-worker, presenting something to numerous workers in a conference hall, or talking to somebody somewhere remote.

Reiterate Your Idea Multiple Times

Leaders mistakenly feel that they would achieve their objective after just communicating something with their workers and the most important individuals in their organization. They must not continue doing that believing that this is the case. There is complete and successful communication when the receiver of your message internalizes that idea instead of simply listening to it.

To make sure of this, you must repeat your messages through different mediums, like video, telephone, and email, because there is a likely emotional reaction to those ideas. This research by Queen’s University’s Kate Sikerbol discovered, “Allowing employees to share stories and feelings helped them to develop a greater sense of control over the changes, improved morale, reduced absenteeism, and built trust between managers and employees.”

Try To Get Feedback

After delivering a message, the most difficult task may be to confirm that everyone thoroughly understood your idea. In order to be sure of this, you have to make sure you seek a response from your audience. This is a way of finding out what they listened to and understood, plus which actions are occurring consequently, and the level of acceptance your idea has got. This will let you move forward by being aware that the problem has been addressed.

Control The Reiterated Things

Sometimes, leaders are aware that they will have to repeat what they communicate with their team. It is specifically the case when a company member demands their viewpoint in uncertain times because their answer will likely be passed on to other people.

Circumstances often emerge when one’s remarks or reactions give the foundation for the next action, direction, or talk. Therefore, a leader must be capable of influencing how other people understand and pass on the things they say after leaving the discussion. They may do the following things to produce that result.

  • Be Proactive. Communicate the things they feel matter the most. This will confirm that the things passed on are exactly the ideas that a leader wished to communicate in their organization.
  • Keep Your Ideas Simple. Individuals cannot recall all the things you say as a leader, so they may choose the things they feel are important and pass on only those. Therefore, deliver your messages as short extracts from a recorded speech.
  • Do Not Say Negative Things. Several pieces of research on psychology show that individuals often keep negative things in mind longer than positive ideas. There is an appropriate situation to communicate these things, and a turbulent period is not one. In this situation, negative verbiage or examples could just be detrimental to your capability of communicating with an apprehensive audience.
  • Make Your Ideas Interesting. Make it intriguing so that the audience will not misrepresent or embellish your idea. You can just add a tale, illustration, or analogy to make the conversation interesting.

Finding the appropriate words to communicate is potentially challenging for a leader, especially in tough periods. This can cause a leader to communicate only a few things of little substance to those who work for them. As a leader, you might not get the right words, but it is your job to communicate something of substance with them. Therefore, pay attention to communication activities, opinions, impact behaviour, and influence outcomes in an effective way during the right time. This way, you could just give the guidance that others seek particularly in uncertain times.

How to Create the Best Corporate Culture

It is well understood that corporate culture is an inseparable part of today’s business. An average employee spends around 35% of their total waking hours at the office which means that the workplace culture easily affects them gradually permeating across all the parts of the organization. Therefore, it is important to realize the benefits of corporate culture and how to build on it.

Just like any other aspect of your business, creating a good company culture also requires a balanced approach. Although most people believe that corporate culture and company values flow from the top management to the bottom-level employees, it is often seen that the actual nature of company culture is shaped depending upon how it is managed by the mid-level staff in the organization. Below are five essential points to note so that you can instill the best corporate culture in your company.

Individuals Drive the Culture of a Company or a Subsidiary

Most people are familiar with a brand and the way things work with them before they may have started at your company. Generally, the way they operated until then would have formulated a modus operandi to manage their personal life and work, and most of them will not be able to change that. Therefore, you need to hire employees who can adapt to the changing trends and believe in a more demonstrated behavior.

Corporate Culture is Not Exclusive to the Head Office

Many teams on the international level are not interested in or even turn away from adopting the head office culture as seen in the US. This can lead to a hostile work environment in your company as your employees may not want to collaborate with each other. That is why you should work to figure out which type of culture works the best for each of your subsidiaries and adopt that in the unit no matter how different and distinct it is from your core corporate culture.

Maintaining Company Culture Can Be Simple When you are Successful

Everyone will find it very easy to adapt to the corporate culture when things are going well. However, when things start going south, most businesses lose their cultural values and forget what was keeping the team together until then. The lack of transparency and clarity due to the workload or stress leads to the creation of a company culture that lives for the short-term only. Therefore, you need to keep your focus right and maintain a healthy corporate culture no matter what comes your way.

Do Not Celebrate Achievements for the Sake of Celebrating

Every employee would like to be appreciated for their achievements. However, some do that just to make their employees happy and for no apparent reason. This can affect the culture in the company negatively and employees will soon start to resent the fake appreciation. That is why you should assess the performance of your employees fairly and celebrate their achievements that actually matter to your business. You should appreciate how they overcame the challenges for the overall benefit of the company.

Find and Fix Issues That Harm Workplace Culture

If your company is following a traditional approach to managing things and it is a poorly engineered process, then you cannot create an agile or customer-first culture in your organization. Your employees will not want to do meaningless things repeatedly as that will be making their lives miserable. The situation gets even worse if they see no efforts from the company’s side to resolve the problems. Therefore, you should try to make lives easier for your staff as well as your customers to incorporate the best company culture.

Remember that building a great team and the best company culture will not happen overnight. It requires time and effort from your side to empower your employees for cultivating a healthy and enjoyable workplace culture. When you create a positive corporate culture in your establishment, it will help your employees find real value in their work and it’ll motivate them to contribute towards the success of your business.