Team Building

How to Build Successful Remote Teams

Husam Machlovi

February 11, 2021

When the internet becomes your company's headquarters, you can keep the lights on from anywhere.

No matter where your employees are, they’re able to get online and ensure everything’s running smoothly. 

Learn the elements of a successful remote team, so you can set your company up for success. 

Written Communication Is Pivotal

In a remote environment, written communication is the most important building block of a successful remote team.

Written communication makes it faster to communicate, makes it easier to reference historical threads, and lets people communicate across the world.

That being said, you have to ensure that your team adopts guidelines to ensure that written communication is effective. 

We suggest starting with templates for the type of communication, whether synchronous or asynchronous, as well as templates based on the length of the communication (a short update vs a report).

Go Asynchronous By Default

Asynchronous communication is when you don’t expect an instant response from the other person. An example is responding to an email hours after it's sent.

Asynchronous gives employees flexibility. People can work on their own time to get their work done. It also gives people back time. Employees aren’t waiting around for others to complete their tasks.

The benefit? More effective teams.

Asynchronous communication is hard. It requires deep attention to detail, strong written skills, and a willingness to adapt to different tools and processes. This makes your team players better.

When done right, asynchronous communication lets people collab faster.

And because employees get more time back in their day, they're more motivated to show up and deliver.

Focus on Results, Forget Attendance Policies

Virtual work works when employees get to create their own work environments. A big part of this is their working schedules.

Some of your employees will be most productive in the mornings. Some in the afternoons. Others are night owls.

Remote work lets you enable people to contribute their best selves.

Take advantage of this by dropping attendance policies and focusing on results.

Did your team finish their work? Great. So who cares how long it took?

Drop the meetings

Meetings suck. They almost always take longer than they need to, and they're almost always unnecessary.

Most meetings can be replaced with a Slack message or email.

Meetings also are a blocker to productivity. The last thing you want is to interrupt employees who are in a flow state with a 10m reminder to a meeting that will be mostly dead air.

Instead, reserve meetings for emergencies where sync ups are necessary. Or for team building activities.

Don't Enforce Video During Meetings

There's an advantage to going with Video in meetings. The face time does help employees build greater rapport. But don't enforce this.

By letting teams decide their preferred meeting channels, whether it's Voice, Video or Chat, you're able to create more inclusivity amongst team members.

Here at Remote Creative Work, we grew up on AOL and AIM Chat. We find asynchronous communication via text to be a breeze. So we conduct our meetings this way with great success.

Let Teams Choose Their Tech Stack

There's so many tools out there that basically do the same thing. From design, development, project management and more, you'll find an abundant number of solutions each with their own advantages and disadvantages.

Chances are, your creative teams will have used flavors of these tools already. Let them lean on the ones that they love. Let them decide as a team what their stack will be.

First, using tools can be fun. So let teams have their fun while they work.

And second, this can be a great team building exercise. Team members can make it an activity to find the perfect stack to help them improve their output.

Encourage Meaningful Connections

I know we said don't push meetings onto creatives, but there is something to be said about team building activities.

Give teams ideas for how they can connect. Virtual dinners and game nights are great. A favorite of ours at Remote Creative Work is video game nights with the team.

And of course, give the entire company a chance to connect too. This helps to strengthen the company culture which will have a positive effect on team morale as well.

Get the company to vote on presenters they'd love to see or events they'd like to attend. So many events are starting to take place online, including presentations from thought leaders and music concerts. Let the company vote on the kinds of events they'd love to be a part of.

Have questions about building remote teams? Send us a hello at hey@remotecreativework.com.