Despite the immense benefits of a remote team, everything comes with a downside. Downsides don’t have to deter you though, they can always be overcome. At RemoteHQ, we’ve not only identified some of those downsides, but we’ve overcome them too! Here’s how:
🙃 The Downside: No “Sense of Team”
Bonding experiences can be tough to come by as a remote team. You may only be communicating when necessary, and when you do communicate, about work.
Team cohesion, or bonding, isn’t only as important as its name makes it out to be. A stronger team leads to a stronger product.
🛠️ The Solution: Budget Time for Bonding
It’s that easy.
- Grab coffee with a nearby team member
- Schedule a team trip
- Find meeting points between far-away team members
Being able to meet with only a few team members is a great way to strengthen cohesion. Those small bonding experiences make working together, easier.
🙃 The Downside: The Small Stuff, No Random Conversations!
Random, spur-of-the-moment, conversations can be the backbone of your team. I can’t even count the number of times my supervisor and I discussed comic books at my previous job. All spur-of-the-moment discussions, and all discussions that improved our working relationship.
🛠️ The Solution: RemoteHQ
Unfortunately, remote work lacks these types of conversations. While tools like Slack have helped, they’re also insufficient. Everyone has a #random channel these days, but most tools are built for short-form collaboration.
We needed an easy way for people to express long-form communication. Like Slack, we built RemoteHQ to solve our own needs first. We quickly began to see our needs to align with the needs of many other teams as well.
The long-form collaboration that RemoteHQ allows for those spur-of-the-moment conversations to occur. Side comments can develop into their own full-fledged conversations, ultimately improving working relationships.
🙃 The Downside: Bring Your Work Home…All The Time…
There’s a lot of interplay between this downside and the next. For some they may go hand-in-hand, for others, you do one or the other.
If you’ve ever worked in a co-located office, this expression should ring familiar:
Bringing your work home with you
A straightforward phrase with negative connotations already, imagine if you worked from home. Suddenly, “bringing your work home with you” changes from a commute, to a 5-step walk.
🛠️ The Solution: Custom Scheduling & Clear Milestones
As obvious as it might seem, the easiest solution to this problem is being strict with deadlines you set. Use productivity tools, like Notion, to stay on top of what you want (and need) to get done each day.
Another great way we’re able to avoid “bringing our work home with us”? We schedule social activities just as we schedule work. There’s a mindset, that we can exploit, inherent in most of us. That state of mind ensures we complete tasks we’ve set forth.
To ensure you accomplish your non-working and working tasks, structure them the same. This will push you to complete each set of ‘tasks’ before choosing to overwork yourself.
🙃 The Downside: “Working from Home” = Staying at Home
Regardless of your personality, extrovert or introvert, remote work will have social implications.
Finding a balance between your work and social life can already be difficult. Those lines become far more blurred as a remote worker.
We’ve already touched on boosting team interaction, but this point has larger ripples. Ripples that reach outside of the workspace and outside of your team.
🛠️ The Solution: “Working from Home” ≠ Staying at Home
There’s a strange misconception about being able to “work from home” on a remote team. What is it? That you actually need to work from home.
A great way to keep yourself informed and un-isolated is by finding another source of WiFi. Albeit an oversimplification, finding another place to work alleviates most feelings of isolation. If you’re a social butterfly who’s chosen to work from a local coffee shop, you might even make a few new friends too!
My college campus and nearby Panera are chief among my choices and help to keep me free of isolation.
🙃 The Downside: Less Touch-Points
Remote work can be an enormous personal growth experience, but if you haven’t hit your stride — it can be tough. Those who aren’t adept at working without management may fall by the wayside (or adapt and grow).
In a co-located environment, managers and peers have touch-points with the work you do. Those touch-points, to some end, push accountability from your plate. If your work isn’t getting done, a peer or manager can remind you and nudge you forward.
In the remote-working world, no one is there to nudge you forward. If your work isn’t getting done that’s entirely on you, and your results (or lack thereof) will be evident to your team.
🛠️ The Solution: Daily Stand-Ups for the Win!
Ensuring we do daily, virtual, face-to-face stand-ups has been a game changer for us.
Stand-ups have become popular with co-located teams over the past few years. They help to ensure tasks are being accomplished and to hold you accountable for work.
Our daily stand-ups are brief, as we want to get work done, but each shares two things:
- What we’ve accomplished in the past day
- What we intend on accomplishing in the day ahead
By verbally sharing these goals with our team members, we’re adding accountability. In our next stand-up, we can report success or have to tell each other we couldn’t get the work done.
It’s that easy to solve your everyday Remote Work problems — let us know if our solutions help your team!