With hundreds of employees spread across six offices throughout the United States and Canada, we know a thing or two about how to adapt work environments to appeal to a wide variety of employees. We’ve even given it a name—the Work Your Way program. Our program provides employees with technology and autonomy to create a flexible work schedule and workspace to meet their individual needs—including working from home and working remotely.
Our Work Your Way program has been a hit with our teams for more than five years, and it’s still producing highly effective outcomes. Given the unique situation companies find ourselves in today, we thought you might benefit from a few tips from our team to yours. Here’s what we’ve learned along the way.
Tips for developing remote team relationships:
1. Schedule and Establish rules for communication.
We recently conducted a study of 3,000 working adults in the U.S., and the results underscored the importance of enhanced communication. Remote workers value ongoing, consistent communication that mirrors what they would experience in the office. To keep your remote teams engaged, establish rules for your communication so everyone knows what to expect. These rules include scheduling your group communication, defining your tools and their purpose, integrating video when possible, and incorporating personal check-ins.
Pro Tip: At One10, we have all learned to be very respectful of each of our co-worker’s unique schedules. While the Work Your Way program took a bit to get used to, the basis of the program stems from respect and trust. The company trusts employees to get their work done to the highest quality, and individual employees respect one another and realize we all have a unique and desirable way to work. Scheduling communication and using tools like Microsoft Teams, Skype, Slack, and others is imperative. We live in an instant-message world. People expect you to text back or respond right away. That said, that doesn’t mean all work communications can or should be instantaneous. In the end, we have learned that it is best to leave communication decisions up to respective teams and promote a respectful and trusting relationship among all employees when it comes to the ways and frequency in which we are in touch with one another.
To see the rest of the study results, check out our latest webinar, Survey Says: Let’s Get Back to [Training] Basics.
2. Expose your culture through trust and respect.
Is your culture built around respecting and trusting your employees? Your people are your greatest asset. Now, more than ever, is the time to invest in opportunities that cultivate talent and offer competitive benefits for your team. This includes providing adequate training for your internal employees and channel partners, creating an environment of incentives and recognition, finding ways to “matter” in society, outside of your business, and measuring the success of your efforts.
Pro Tip: To keep all employees engaged, highly productive and consistent with your goals as a company, you must weave your company mission and values into everything you do. For example, at One10, we employ talented people who collaborate with world-class suppliers and partners to deliver effective solutions for our clients. In doing so, we have the right and privilege to give back to our communities and invest in the future. Because our workforce is located all over the U.S. and Canada including hundreds of remote work locations, we all have very different belief systems and ideas we are passionate about.
An example of how we honor this ideal is encouraging our employees to spend eight company-paid hours giving back to an organization they care about. To us, culture starts from within every one of our employees. We want our culture to be a reflection of our people, not an ideal pushed from the top down.
3. Go virtual with your employee and sales training.
Important information about new products or services designed for an in-person sales training meeting can still be shared virtually. By utilizing online training solutions that allow for the ability to create curriculum and learning modules in addition to testing, certification, and incentives, you can ensure your sales team receives the education and training they need to start selling.
No sales meeting? No problem. We have ways to help.
Pro Tip: Our internal training experts developed and designed One10 Academy for our company. One10 Academy is a virtual employee training program that we use for onboarding and educating our teams on all of our products and services. Training modules vary in time and requirements depending on the objectives of the training. Additionally, our training has a reward component attached. Our methodology and belief—after many years doing this for clients—is that we must “Prepare People to Succeed and Reward those Who Excel.” It is a simple equation but one that is proven. Again, training doesn’t need to be done in-person. While a large in-person Sales Kickoff is exciting and a great way to connect, there are other options. Online training can help you achieve your goals fast and ensure it is available for those who cannot be in the same physical room with one another.
4. Measure the success of virtual engagements.
Having a virtual meeting is one thing. But, measuring the effectiveness of your virtual engagement takes organizations from good to great. That’s why we partner with virtual event technology partners to not only offer virtual meetings but provide meaningful data about registration, session attendance, and overall interest levels. Leveraging these insights is crucial as you continue to adapt existing and create new virtual meeting opportunities.
Pro Tip: Our internal analytics team digs into engagement data and supports our client programs to ensure we are getting the results they need. Our dedication to “better results” guides our thinking as an organization and we are always looking for ways to maximize our internal programs as well. Most recently, we were planning to hold an in-person session to release our latest survey and re-launch our rsX℠ (relationship strength index) analytics tool. Due to our current company limitation on non-essential travel, we had to shift our strategy. Our ability to quickly launch an online experience and be confident that our team is comfortable using these kinds of technology made the changed experience virtually seamless.
5. Create a virtual water cooler.
Your formal communication may be clear, concise, and consistent, but your employees may miss the water cooler chit-chat that they are used to when working in the office. Use chat programs to allow a free flow of informal communication to keep your teams connected.
Pro Tip: We use Yammer, which is a great tool to share informal news with groups of employees or the entire company. Our employees use Yammer to recognize employees outside of our formal recognition tool as well as tag individuals who might find certain articles or images relevant or interesting to them. Our company also uses Microsoft Teams for video chat and informal office banter. We recommend a variety of tools for different purposes. For us, Teams is generally meant for more instant chat communication, whereas Yammer is an internal social platform complete with open-ended engagement.
Ultimately, remote working doesn’t need to be scary. While it might seem daunting and unnatural to begin with – once you have the proper tools and protocol in place for your team or organization, it will become a seamless experience that you no longer need to think about. You’ve got this! And, if you have questions about One10’s Work Your Way program, and how we did it, we would be happy to share more.