By Dale Isip

Remote work seems to be the new normal these days. Indeed, a high percentage of jobs – 50 percent of 125 million full-time jobs in America – can be performed remotely as of the start of this year. This presents a unique situation for businesses: coordinating a business team remotely can be a challenge for managers and employees alike. So, what are the best ways to coordinate a business team remotely? Here are a few ideas on how to keep a remote business team productively working together.

Assess The Situation

Transitioning a business team to remote work may seem like a relatively simple task – given today’s advanced nature of telephone, email, and mobile work communication tools. But this does not account for other elements of remote work, such as time zones, coordinating business meetings, and the unique circumstances of performing work at home.

If you are a manager, for example, you may want to consider the peak working hours of your employees. For example, do your employees work best during the morning hours or in the afternoon? Are your employees in a single time zone – or are they located all over the world? Assessing the situation can help you determine the best times to get in touch with your team, set assignments and deadlines, and evaluate their productivity.

Similarly, if your employees are not as productive at certain hours – in relation to the other members of your team – you can distribute workloads accordingly. This will make it possible for your employees to have a respectful work/life balance that allows for rest and at-home circumstances – one that can also optimize your team’s performance.

Prioritize Communication

In terms of remote work, communication is essential and should be considered a top priority. As a manager, you should encourage your team to communicate frequently.

You also may want to practice daily scheduled check-ins with your employees. This is a good way to ask your workers how their work is going, if they need any more resources or tools to complete it, and if they are having any current work issues.

If you are an employee, effective communication with your colleagues is essential. You might want to prioritize your work issues and decide whether calling or emailing a co-worker is the better option. Keep your communications frequent, but also make sure they are brief and to-the-point.

Make the Most of New Technologies 

Remote work today goes beyond video conferencing — there are now remote-friendly applications that can schedule meetings, set deadlines, and foster group interactions. There are also technologies that allow your time to work collaboratively in real-time.

Determine which programs your team will need, and make sure they understand how to use them. If you are a manager, establish rules of engagement (ROE) for group interactions and work collaboration – this will keep your team safe, comfortable, and productive when using this software.

Through situational assessment, frequent communication, and standardized technology use — you will be able to manage a remote business team with effective and productive coordination.