6 Ways Distributed Teams Can Thrive in the New Normal

Thoughts Nov 30, 2020

If your team has to work from home in the wake of COVID-19, then no doubt, you’re experiencing a bit of turbulence over the past few months. And as we move further into this pandemic, it’s becoming more evident that work just won’t ever be the same. In fact, over 23% of teams will be doing remote work by the end of 2021.

Companies that want to survive are no longer taking a wait-and-see approach, but are choosing to adapt to a remote work model. With this in mind, here are some ways teams can do better work from home during these uncertain times.

1. Update company policies

When teams are working remotely, creating and updating policies is often overlooked. In some situations, companies have up to 20 different policy portals that are outdated and unrelated to modern work. When creating policies for a remote workforce make sure all of them are in one place. Some policies to consider explaining might be a home office expense policy, a home office IT security policy, and compliance policies related to remote work.

2. Embrace video chat

Just as before this crisis, keeping a virtual line of communication open between team members is imperative for company success. In a telecommuting situation, video chat becomes the perfect tool to replace the previous open-door policies. When deciding which video conferencing service is right for a team, make sure to choose one that connects people securely and can see the availability of team members before jumping on an impromptu chat.

3. Respect personal time and time zones

As we work from home more, the boundaries between work and personal life can become blurred. Even after just a few weeks into the pandemic, remote workers complained they worked three more hours every day at home than they did in the office. For a more productive remote team, set specific hours in the day where collaboration can take place. Also, if team members are across the pond, make sure those hours aren’t infringing upon their usual sleep time.

4. Secure BYOD access to the data cloud

Using a “bring your own device” (BYOD) model can have many advantages for a team. Members are more comfortable working from home using their computers, hardware costs are shifted to the user, and device purchasing and management are eliminated. However, trying to secure personal devices accessing a data cloud becomes complicated. Creating a BYOD policy can mitigate the risk these devices present to a company’s data cloud. Also, employing proprietary software or a browser for remote teams can alleviate the security headache of BYOD devices.

5. Financially support remote teams

While the overhead costs of companies are diminishing as telecommuting becomes more prevalent, remote workers have to shoulder some of those expenses. From setting up workspaces in their house to paying a higher home electricity bill, work-from-home employees are footing the bill. Many companies, like Google, are providing remote workers with a work-from-home allowance to offset some of these expenses. Consider setting up a similar arrangement or simply just give employees a raise to cover any remote costs.

6. Invest in SaaS tools

In this new era where distributed teams are multiplying, so are the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) tools needed to teamwork across thousands of miles. Whether organizations need an all-in-one project management platform or just a simple way to message their colleagues, many web services will fit the bill. Trying out new SaaS tools will keep your company on the cutting edge of technology and might save you a lot of time and money.

In new normal, it’s clear that remote work for many knowledge workers is here to stay. By choosing to embrace it, we are keeping everyone safe and challenging ourselves to be even more productive in the coming years.

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