10 Helpful Tips: Transitioning Your Team to Remote Work

In this article, you’ll find 10 actionable ideas about how to successfully transition your team to remote work.

1 . Have remote one-on-one calls with each team member

It’s important to do remote, face-to-face video meetings with your remote team members. You build trust by doing that and learn to know them better. Besides that, you should plan these individual conversations at least once a month so there is the opportunity for every remote worker to bring up their issues and get the possibility to talk about them with you in detail. This is a great way to get a “temperature” of your team culture and fix issues fast.

Quick tip: ask for feedback on how you are doing as a leader every time as well. It’s a good way to build trust with each employee and to grow in your role as well.

2 . Create transparent goals and KPIs for everyone

It’s important to create transparent goals and KPIs for everyone in your remote team. This makes it easier to hold people accountable for their work because everyone knows what others are doing. This makes remote work a lot more motivating at offers flexibility and autonomy for the employees to pick their own tactics and methods for achieving their goals.

Quick tip: Pick max 1-2 goals/KPIs per person or per team. More than that results in lost focus and efficiency.

3 . Keep everyone accountable for their results, not efforts

You can’t see remote team members working in an office so it’s easy to game the system by doing extra hours or “working” on weekends even though there is no good reason for that. That doesn’t only demotivate people but also costs your organization time and money. If remote work is meant to be efficient, you need to get rid of that bad habit.

Quick tip: Don’t ask remote team members how many hours they spent on a task but what results did they achieve instead. Make it transparent for everyone which tasks are done and also show the value/time ratio for all project activities so remote workers can track their own progress.

4 . Document all internal processes as wiki articles

This makes it easier for everyone to understand what you and others in your organization are doing, how you make decisions, what tactics and best practices you have and it becomes a good onboarding resource for new remote workers who want to get up to speed quickly.

Documenting internal processes also allows you to switch to asynchronous communication which is extremely important if your staff is working from different time zones.

Quick tip: Document important processes as video tutorials as well, this way remote workers have a short and easy-to-understand onboarding experience. You can use Loom for that.

5 . Openly discuss how it feels like to work from home

Transparency is key to remote work success. Besides written documentation, you should openly discuss with remote workers how it feels like for them to work from home and what they need from the company’s perspective to stay productive at all times. Listen, learn and provide solutions for them.

Quick tip: remote employees need remote work equipment like adjustable office chairs, standing desks, and noise-canceling headphones. Offer a generous budget for each employee to get this equipment to make remote workers happier with their job.

6 . Give your remote team members autonomy

Remote workers are self-directed individuals who expect an environment that is based on trust. You can’t hold remote team members accountable if you force them to stick to a strict schedule and make them do what they don’t want. That’s why remote work requires trust and autonomy. Give remote workers the ability to make their own decisions and follow their self-initiated plans how they want. This is the only way remote employees will stay productive at all times.

Quick tip: Let remote employees choose their own tools they work with and to create their own workday routines.

7 . Make all remote communication asynchronous

If remote employees are spread out across different time zones it’s crucial that you use an asynchronous communication channel like Slack to keep remote teams in the loop.

This helps remote workers be more productive because they can communicate with their colleagues when it’s best for them, not when it fits into someone else’s agenda. That way remote employees won’t feel rushed or stressed out by time zones and stay focused on work at all times.

Quick tip: Embrace asynchronous communication for daily stuff, but if you need to handle conflicts go to video call so you can chat face-to-face and solve the issues.

8 . Understand what makes remote work different from the traditional office culture and embrace the difference

It’s important to understand that remote work is extremely different from traditional office culture and needs a different approach. You can’t assume that informal bonding happens organically the same way it happens in an office-based culture – during lunch breaks and at the water cooler. You have to put effort into creating these opportunities in this new environment.

Quick tip: Conduct a remote culture audit in the beginning of the remote work transition process to understand what you need to change in your organization’s culture, daily routines and processes.

9 . Choose the right tools and software for your team

You’ll definitely need communication apps like Slack and Zoom. Document management systems like Google Drive, Airtable and Notion and many more.

Quick tip: Don’t be cheap with the tools, these will help your team to succeed, so get and trial all the tools that the team members suggest to try out.

10 . Become a master communicator

It’s much more demanding to communicate remotely than at the office because you don’t have your body language, facial expressions, tone of voice – or overall presence to support your message. This means that you have to become very masterful when communicating in written form. You have to learn how to be clear, concise, and intentional about what you’re saying. You can’t just ramble on or take for granted that remote workers will understand your message the same way as if you said it face-to-face.

Quick tip: If you’re using Slack, discourage your team from using private chats. Instead, all the communications should be in public channels where everybody could see the information that gets exchanged.

There’s a lot of potential for growth when you transition to remote work, but it’s tricky to get it right from day one. You need to set up some ground rules first, communicate a lot with your team and allow yourself and others to make mistakes while growing into the new remote roles. You’ve got this!

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