“Your presence is the most precious gift you can give to another human being”
– Marshall B. Rosenberg.
Digital environments and modern interfaces are an integral part of the digital workplace. When businesses adapt to technology to support seamless digital experiences, employees need to be considered. To ensure the best team performance, an optimized digital workplace is important.
Your team needs to work smarter, more efficiently, and harder if you want to maintain your competitive advantage.
How? By increasing the operational and emotional efficiency of your remote workforce. Improving the processes in your company, which is operational efficiency, is not something you can do quickly or easily.
What are the ways to optimize the performance of the remote team in the digital work environment?
Managing a remote team. Main challenges of the digital working environment
Before answering this question you need to identify the main challenges that remote teams face.
Structure of the remote team
At the beginning of the year, the structure of people’s working day was very different. Waking up early, followed by a morning routine. You are in a hurry to take the children to school, making sure that they have taken textbooks, and have lunch. You go to the office, where you and your colleagues spend the day working on projects and having coffee breaks. At the end of the day, you relax on the couch, spend time with family, or indulge in a book.
Now the habits of millions of people had to change completely. A new routine has been established, creating stress due to the need to balance personal, professional, and school life in one house. This daily life can result in a lack of socialization, a busy schedule, a lack of structure and not being properly integrated into the company culture.
Communication between remote workers
The feeling of face-to-face communication cannot be replaced by any technology. 293.6 billion emails get sent and received every day in 2019. In 2020, our emails are more cluttered than ever, so the teams switched to communication platforms such as Microsoft Teams, Slack, and Zoom.
This messaging boom makes it difficult to handle problems and provide details on time, which in turn undermines the productivity of teammates. For managers, this means a disconnected team and misunderstandings.
Building and maintaining a strong corporate culture in a digital working environment
Communicating and maintaining the corporate culture among a remote workforce doesn’t have to be a difficult task. Much of the company’s culture is communicated and modelled by the leadership. This becomes more challenging when employees and managers work separately.
Team members who have already demonstrated similar values and beliefs can help by spreading the corporate spirit and involving their colleagues. Arranging regular meetings between remote teams and management can also help.
Now is the perfect time to conduct weekly team-building sessions and experiment with them! Team building builds a strong team that achieves solid results. After creating and leading committed and well-functioning teams, the next step is to move the concept of teamwork to an initiative for the whole company. The team building activities will enhance a strong culture that will help the business attract and retain talents.
Confidence and security in remote workers and team managers
When managing a remote team, it is extremely important to maintain a sense of trust, reliability, and the team’s awareness that you support them.
Make sure that every colleague feels at ease, knows how work processes work, can handle technology effectively. It’s easier than ever to lose the sense of security in the team, so try to keep it.
Managers have to work hard to support their teams and maintain their productivity. They are also concerned about the possibility of losing important data or compromising the security of remote computers.
Employers can restrict external access to remote workers’ laptops and phones or Internet access to unsecured wireless networks.
Remote teams are expected to implement certain security measures on their work computers and data. This may include encrypting, using passwords to lock, restricting the use of company-issued laptops, and keeping company files and devices in a safe place.
How To Optimize Team Performance In The Digital Working Environment
1. Assign weekly team meetings
Transfer life to the office in the digital space, starting with meetings. In the beginning, you can add additional meetings until your team gets in a rhythm and the work processes are completely smoothed out.
The duration of the meetings depends on the size of your team. 15-20 minutes will be enough for each team member to share briefly:
- What project (s) he/she is working on?
- Does he face any complications and problems? What kind?
- Does he need assistance and from whom?
Carry out the operatives at a time convenient for everyone, before the end of the working day. This allows workers to be productive on their own for a while, but also to deal with their obstacles in time so that they have time to get things done.
2. Successful delegation: Define work processes, jobs, and roles for remote colleagues
Working with remote teams can quickly go awry and you lose coordination. While you are trying to transfer all work processes and operations to the digital work environment, many steps and elements can be confused and/or forgotten.
How to ensure the proper execution of processes in the digital work environment? Create diagrams and visualize the team structure. Create documents that provide step-by-step instructions on what tasks there are, how they should be performed, when they should be completed, and who should do them.
Different roles and departments may require different types of structure representation:
- Checklists for each element of a project or task
- Playbooks and guides that describe in detail how different processes and operations are performed – Content Creation Playbook, Ad Campaign Brand Design Guidelines
- Charts that illustrate what to do in changing circumstances
- Templates and forms that team members can easily fill out to automate manual work
Every member of the team should have access to this information at all times and some handy tools are:
3. Effective communication in the digital working environment
The weekly catch-up meetings with the remote team, where you discuss the results and plan, will help you keep track of what is happening in the company.
Give clear and specific tasks to your team members so they know what is expected of them. Don’t notify team members of tasks a few days before the deadline, but make sure they are informed at least 2 weeks in advance. In the digital workspace, communication is key and with it, you will eliminate additional work, failed projects, going back and forth by email.
To achieve maximum coordination and communication in the remote team, use project management, and communication tools. If necessary, appropriate training can be provided to both managers and employees.
Here are our 5 tips for improving team performance in a digital working environment with good communication:
- Set clear expectations: Team members need to be aware of their schedules, their tasks, who they need to work with, and what roles they play.
- Make optimal use of technology: Without the right communication tools, collaboration becomes almost impossible. Make sure employees are trained to use a variety of software and applications, conduct online meetings, and use project management tools.
- Weekly Reporting Day: How do you find out if remote workers are productive? An easy way is through weekly updates. On a given day of the week, each team member publishes an update on what they have done in the past week and what they will be working on next.
- Healthy work schedules: Remote work without healthy limits can lead to fatigue and even burnout. By establishing effective communication, you will be able to support and assist employees to maintain a balance between work and personal life.
- Discussing controversial topics may not be a favourite topic, but if you don’t talk about current issues with your colleagues, you’re missing out! Serious discussions stimulate curiosity, maintain the energy of the workers, develop communication skills, and bring participants together!
It can be a little awkward to get everyone involved in such a conversation. Don’t worry, the KissTheFrogNOW Discussion deck will do a great job for you.
On a deck card, draw 2 conflicting topics and let everyone express their opinion or divide the participants into groups ‘for’ and ‘against’. Thus, the team has the opportunity to explore all aspects of the issue.
Feel free to include ideas that are not present in the thirty cards on the deck. Let your team live the story!
4. Give the word to the remote workers: Get constructive feedback
Feedback can serve as a good advisor if received correctly, otherwise, it can seriously damage the productivity and morale of employees. Focus on the constructive aspect of the feedback, because then you will receive meaningful and useful advice for the recipient on how to improve.
Use verbs when looking for this information from your team. Feedback should be based on behaviour, not traits. Our behaviour is changeable and is influenced by external factors more than our traits. When team members use verbs instead of adjectives, it will be easier for them to focus on the behaviour and provide more constructive feedback.
During weekly group meetings, ask each team member for their assessment of satisfaction with the digital work environment. Let everyone support their opinion with a suggestion of what to change and how to improve.
Mindfulness activities are great for the occasion. With them, the team will deal with anxiety and depression, improve mood, concentration, and problem-solving skills.
How can you practice them using KissTheFrogNOW? The Illustrations deck is the perfect way to engage in a mindfulness session. Gather the team in a quiet place (outside / in the middle of nature works as well) and take out the deck with Illustrations.
Line up in a circle and have each participant draw an illustration. Pay attention to the drawing and the small details you don’t usually notice. Then answer a question that you have identified in advance. Eg. “How does the drawing make you feel?”, “How does this picture relate to your feeling/memory?”.
Listen carefully to others and engage with their words and illustrations. Such activity is relaxing, enriching and interesting for everyone!
The Digital Working Environment: Enhancing Team Performance
By following just some of the tips outlined in this article, you will make significant changes to the way your team works.
If you want efficiency to continue to increase, you need to constantly improve and optimize all processes. And don’t forget about your team building sessions! They provide significant improvement in overall team performance after each session. So grab your KissTheFrogNOW box and get started – let your team live its’ fairy tale!