Working from home has become the new normal in the last two years. However, staying focused in a remote setting can be difficult; constantly observing the screen can also lead to fatigue. So, the most challenging aspect of remote work as a business owner is to ensure productivity in your team. Many factors, including communication patterns, work culture, and employee morale, can affect your company’s productivity.
Here, we have curated a list of tips and strategies from 20 experts to help you increase your remote team’s productivity:
Brian Minick, ZeroBounce
My tip would be to not attempt to micromanage remote workers. Doing so will cause a few issues. One of them is that they will never get comfortable taking care of things on their own. They’ll always rely on you. Also, they’re going to feel pressure, and that’s not going to boost their productivity.
Respect their time. Most people working remote are working longer hours. So what if they went to run an errand, did that affect a customer? If not, then stop micromanaging their time. If a customer did get impacted, help with a plan to fix it in the future.
If you can learn to let your remote employees do their thing, you will learn that the location of their desk means nothing. We support our team members by allowing them to work remotely and travel and continue to work from that location, as well. The outcome we have seen is happier employees and the same great productive work.
Brian Minick, Chief Operating Officer at ZeroBounce
Megan Mosley, Referral Rock
The easiest way to keep productivity high and tasks on track is to have good communication and organization. One way to manage this is to use a project management app. We use Asana, and it’s great for projects of all calibers.
Sometimes, it acts as a quick checklist, but it also has served as many project boards with multiple people and moving parts involved. So when you have a huge project due, but it relies on the whole team, everyone has a space to track all components of it and contribute when needed. Whether that be a comment, asking a question, or sharing a file – everyone (or those for who the project is relevant) is in the space to keep things on track.
Your team can be spread all over the world, but you’re all in one place seeing the same thing and moving forward together.
Ammara Tariq, Chanty
How can you make sure your team remains productive when they are part of a virtual team and you are unable to go to their workstation to monitor them? Give your employees more freedom.
You could be tempted to continually review your employees on the status of their job given that employees are working remotely. The last thing you want to do is keep a constant eye on them.
Instead, you need to modernize your management approach by strengthening your relationship with your team and allowing them more freedom. In fact, workplaces where workers have more freedom to accomplish their work report higher levels of job satisfaction. More autonomy at work is something that employees want because it increases productivity.
Miklós Kovács, OptiMonk
I would recommend you to have daily standups and week starter meetings and use Slack as an instant communication tool. Also, plan ahead and have a quarterly planning with strict OKR-s and measurable goals. Plan your 2 week sprint ahead with your team and try to estimate the time that each task will need. The best project management software for tracking the tasks is ClickUp, it worked well for us.
Addison Goff, Hive
At Hive, we are a fully remote organization with employees located across the world. One of the most impactful ways my team maximizes productivity is by being strategic with the meetings we schedule, making sure each and every meeting is necessary and will actually help us progress with a given project.
We all know that Zoom meetings are great for staying connected, but they are also a really easy way to waste time and keep people from working on other, more pressing items. I would be willing to bet that everyone knows the feeling of sitting in a virtual meeting, wishing you could be responding to emails or working on another project instead.
So long story short: if you don’t actually need a meeting, or if you could send a simple message instead of taking up an hour of your day, don’t be afraid to skip the Zoom call this time.
Tenny Jesse, Pearl Lemon Group
Employee isolation is one of the most common pitfalls in a remote team. Sensible use of technology to streamline communications and workflows by automating and constantly optimising the processes involved not only saves time and resources spent on daily tasks, but it also reduces cognitive burden on employees, leading to improved performance.
In addition to the benefits outlined above, the analytics presented by automation technologies facilitate tracking of KPIs, making it possible to set performance benchmarks, which may subsequently be gamified to create a competitive setting among staff and enhance productivity.
Luca Ramassa, LeadsBridge
I have been working remotely for five years as Outreach Specialist at LeadsBrigde. In my opinion, the best strategy to increase the productivity of remote teams is to share information with all team members.
Providing a general overview of the task and project helps operatives understand what they are working for and their ultimate goal.
In addition, communication plays a crucial role in remote working. Setting weekly group and one-to-one calls is essential to understand if the team is 100% aligned on the final project goal.
Moreover, software such as Slack is essential to optimize business communication processes because it allows a high capillarity transmission of information. Last but not least, it is also possible to use tools for task management to improve team productivity.
Shivbhadrasinh Gohil, Meetanshi
Timely communication within the team plays a vital role in the overall productivity. Remote setup needs more focus on the communication part. Streamlining the communication channels and removing the friction can gently boost the overall productivity of the team.
Hiral Shah, LeadSquared
Remote work has pros and cons, mainly because not every team member is the same. Different people need to be managed differently. Especially in sales, the competition is tough. Usually, you have to handle a big team, and you can’t be the same with everyone.
To ensure all team members are productive, we believe in constant catch-up and tight monitoring. We have a daily cadence in the morning where we discuss targets vs. achievements. Also, we keep a constant check on our CRM dashboard about the activities posted by the team members. For example, a sales rep can easily make 17 calls with 20 minutes of talk time in an hour. We closely monitor such metrics for every team member based on their assigned tasks.
If we find anyone lagging behind, we get on a call with them and check what’s preventing them from doing well and suggest appropriate solutions. Sales is a tough domain, you’ve to hit the numbers, or else there’s no way you’d meet your targets. So, yes, through constant catch-ups and tight monitoring, we ensure our team members are working productively, even when it’s remotely.
Hiral Shah, Sr. Manager – Growth Marketing & Team Lead – Inside Sales, LeadSquared
Jerry Low, WebRevenue
The work-from-home scenario has become a necessity rather than a choice, thanks to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Apart from frontliners and never-remote workers, there’s a wide range of jobs that became mainstream, allowing you to stay put at your own desk (or even bed!). However, productivity often becomes a victim of distractions and mismanagement that can be easily driven out of the equation.
Here at WebRevenue, we have upscaled efficiency by implementing two important strategies – automating processes and minimizing video meetings. Task division and performance tracking are easier with tools like Asana; Slack is a one-stop app for emails and instant messaging without the hassle of typing long, formatted emails for a short transfer of information. Contrary to its norm, video meetings pose a huge drawback since remote teams will need to coordinate sessions for updates better typed than talked. Try reducing your Zoom or Webex calls for short, written communications (if possible) and your team will be grateful for reducing their mental fatigue.
Trust us, exploring different remote setups for your team will be a game-changer in boosting productivity.
Aditya Krishna, iZooto
1. No more than an hour of meetings in a day. While, there can be short sync-ups within smaller groups of 3-4 people, long duration meetings are a big no.
2. Written communication over verbal. While there’s a lot said on Zoom calls, it is not possible for anyone to remember each and everything. Writing in as many words helps in not only giving better context but one can also go back to check whenever they want.
3. Remote work has its own challenges. Electricity outage, no internet – well just make sure your team members are made aware that you are unavailable at the moment. Makes life easier at their end.
Hori Tran, SEO Booster
Both group and one-on-one meetings
Both are crucial. Team meetings promote communication and let members realize they are not the only ones with a lot of work to do. Team members might generate remarkable ideas by brainstorming and asking for recommendations.
One-on-one meetings are crucial for remote workers in order to increase morale and make them feel supported. Without the proper set of tools, team meetings and one-on-ones might become quite challenging if you have too many teams or numerous direct reports.
The correct infrastructure may promote effective communication and increase output, which ultimately contributes to building a strong foundation for teamwork, empathy, and trust.
Jonathan Aufray, Growth Hackers
To improve the productivity of your remote team, it’s important to:
– Set daily and weekly goals. Giving them a to-do list with small milestones will help them with efficiency and motivation as well.
– Not have too many meetings but have one regularly to check on things and keep them engaged with your company.
– Create detailed SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) to streamline processes and communication.
– Ask them for feedback on how you can help them improve their work.
– Be mindful and ask them how they feel personally and professionally and if there’s anyway to make their work-life balance better.
Santiago Safdie, InvGate
-Use collaborative cloud tools: such as Google Drive, Microsoft Teams, Dropbox
-Daily meetings by teams to talk about goals and achievements.
-Have a clear division of labor with specific designated tasks.
-Diversify in the same platform, different communication channels.
Some examples: Marketing content, Product Marketing, Sales, Announcements
-Promote informal work spaces for the well-being and health of your employees
-Constant communication and work with the Human Resources team and development of techniques to take care of the work environment.
-Promote benefits based on collective work results
Gergana Dimova, ScreenRec
As someone who’s been working remotely for over a decade, I can say that the biggest challenge to productivity in remote teams is communication. Especially the lack of face-to-face communication. Doing everything over email or chat can take double the time as opposed to just walking to a colleague’s desk and discussing what’s on their screen.
Our team was struggling so much with this that we developed our own tool to solve the problem – it’s called ScreenRec and it allows you to record your screen, microphone, audio, and webcam. This enables you to show exactly what’s on your screen and share your thoughts in the process. Just like you would do in person.
So, to improve your team’s productivity, I’d recommend creating tools and processes that help you communicate more effectively. In some cases, this is chat or email and, in others, it may be something else. And, while you’re doing that, make sure you don’t drown your team in messages, chats and so on. They need time for focused work.
Michael Hansen, Link Mobility
During the covid-19 pandemic, we suddenly found ourselves in remote teams. It was a tricky situation because people were forced to work at home with very little experience on how to coop with that on both sides – the employee and the company. It naturally had a dramatic effect on people’s day-to-day life. I personally ramped up my level of communication with each individual and with the team during that period. One example was that we implemented check-in meetings every morning. I found that keeping in touch on a day-to-day basis was crucial to staying on top of how people were doing.
Today we find ourselves in a new situation where hybrid working has been the new normal for many organizations. To keep a high productivity and performance level we cannot adopt the same working methods as we did during the pandemic. The situation has changed and so have the working routines for people at home.
First, it is very important to streamline how you communicate and in what channels. You should narrow down the communication channels you are using. Since we are working from home with very few distractions from other people around us, I believe we are more connected than ever. Getting notifications and chats from numerous different communication platforms can be very stressful. Microsoft Teams is our main communication channel today and we use it for internal chats, meetings and “how are you doing” calls.
It has replaced much of our internal mail correspondence and phone calls during the day. Overcommunication as I did during the pandemic, is no longer the ideal approach. Since we are connected to our computers and phones during the day, it is much easier to set up numerous meetings. It is not ideal, and we should try to reduce the number of internal meetings while working from home.
Remote working has big potential, and I am pleased to see that so many organizations have adopted it and how it can improve people’s life by taking back control of their time. Help people to manage in what hours during the day they find themself most productive. You can then structure your task accordantly. Even though we all need to be present during peak hours, remote work does provide you with a lot of flexibility. This causes the potential of keeping productivity high and people in balance on how to run the day.
Claire Bough, HoneyBook
Businesses can improve productivity for remote teams by investing in robust business management software. With the right tool that combines project management, communication, and a client portal, everyone can access project information in one place. Tools like HoneyBook offer an all-in-one solution where multiple team members can log in and view everything from their clients’ emails to the latest documents that were uploaded to the project workspace.
When everyone has access to the same tool, it helps make work more efficient and organized. Team members won’t have to search through email threads or rely on asking other team members for the information they need. Furthermore, business management software can also let team members create and send documents without switching to other tools. Overall, the right system keeps everyone on the same page when in-person meetings and check-ins aren’t possible.
Andy Crestodina, Orbit Media
More meetings, but shorter meetings.
Right now, in your calendar settings, change the default meeting length of your meetings to 20 minutes. Next, set up late-in-the-day meetings with various team members. Call these “status” or “check in” meetings. Make it clear that you’re looking for a quick progress update and to see if there are roadblocks you can help remove.
This works in three ways:
The shorter time makes meetings more efficient
The late in the day meetings keeps everyone focused and productive through the late-day hours
Review the status together pushes everyone to focus on progress.
We are often the most productive in the 30 minutes before something is going to be reviewed. Make that super productive window happen more often for everyone, yourself included!
Gabriela Hernandez, Envato
Remote teams have a lot of advantages. These include the diversity of skillsets, the low cost of communication and the ability to work from anywhere in the world. However, despite these advantages, remote teams also face challenges. One such challenge is how to increase productivity in remote teams.
The following are my top tips on how to increase productivity for remote teams:
– Keep meetings short and focused on actionable items.
– Use tools like Slack or Google Hangouts to communicate with teammates.
– Have a shared calendar that is visible to all members of the team so that they know what everyone else is working on at any given time.
– Hold regular team meetings in person or via video chat so that you can maintain face-to-face contact with your teammates and try keep them fun in order to maintain that personal and human touch.
Karina Sacco, Yum Yum Videos
Working remotely can be a challenge for any business. After many failed tries, I discovered that the key is to create a transparent and standardized working process with identified steps and guidelines so that everyone knows what to do at any given moment — eliminating unwanted delays and needless back-and-forth e-mail exchanges.
Yes, communication is vital (as always), and I suggest engaging in a call with your team when possible. But that alone is not enough when working remotely. Establishing a workflow process where everyone understands the steps to take and can access relevant information at all times brings transparency and peace of mind.
Luckily, there are many tools that can help you organize projects, set priorities, adjust deadlines, and assign tasks to your team members. You just need to work on your end to figure out how to implement them in ways that work for each sector of your business. That’s what really improves productivity for a business.
Antonio Gabric, Hunter.io
Productivity and scalability are one of the most critical aspects of our everyday processes. As an outreach manager who leads a small remote yet effective link building team, my productivity advice would be to introduce to-do lists in every process.
We use Notion for creating simple to-do lists where we can further break down the tasks into smaller subtasks and track the progress of each task. Additionally, prioritization works wonders for productivity, especially if you manage a small remote team.
We used to discuss tasks in weekly meetings without documenting and tracking the progress. Using collaboration tools where team members can get updates, comment on task statuses, and simply check a specific task’s progress is something that drastically improved our productivity over the last couple of months. This approach also allows us to keep the processes transparent to team members who are not connected to link building, so they can better understand what we are working on and how it impacts the overall marketing strategy.
Oliver Stasinszky, Quality Unit
A comprehensive set of processes coupled with a clear understanding of each remote employee’s duties and responsibilities are the key components for improving productivity.
One of the time-consuming processes for remote workers is regular reporting. However, if it takes more time or prevents employees from being productive, it’s time to make changes. Forming “micro-teams” is the best approach. As a result, meetings and reporting are more professional and concise. It is important to note that at the end of the day, productivity always rises and falls due to a lack of motivation. Gamification in the workplace, which can motivate remote workers, is an emerging trend to help companies deal with employee engagement issues.
Blair Williams, MemberPress
From my experience, when it comes to remote team productivity, it’s all about connectedness. If the team feels connected to one another and to the company, their productivity will soar.
And that’s not just because connectedness promotes accountability. That’s part of it, I guess, but I think it has a whole lot more to do with camaraderie and a healthy company culture. Those are the real productivity builders for remote teams.
With our team, we keep that connectedness alive by relying on Slack – a lot! We use it for day-to-day business, but we also use it to have fun. There’s always someone posting a meme or a candid photo of their family on vacation.
The other big way we pump connectedness is through our annual retreat. All of us, from all over the world, get together to hang out for a week, learn new things, eat great food, and do fun stuff together like Top Golf or go off-roading in side-by-sides. Then, of course, there’s the nightly 5 Crowns tournament. It’s not required, but everybody loves it!
I think that, when it comes down to it, the foundation of our productivity and success as a remote team at MemberPress is that we’re all friends.