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Master remote collaboration

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THE ART
OF STAYING PRODUCTIVE
EVEN ACROSS DISTANCE

Publicada em: Negócios
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Master remote collaboration

  1. 1. THE ART OF STAYING PRODUCTIVE EVEN ACROSS DISTANCE SIMPLE TECHNIQUES TO MASTER REMOTE COLLABORATION Brought to you by
  2. 2. Do you like this book? Share it! In the past several years, virtual teams have become a key trend in business. More and more companies prefer to work with their project teams spread across multiple near or far locations. Despite the obvious perks, like saving time on daily commute and being able to work from any chosen place and time, remote collaboration brings up several organizational issues like how to stay in control and sync with your team. Introduction 2 Why would this e-book be helpful? • It will give you a snapshot of the trend, with facts and figures about remote collaboration • It will provide an in-depth look at the main threats and dangers of working across the distance • And, most importantly, it will arm you with practical and easy-to- implement techniques to overcome all the possible difficulties along the way. So, buckle up and enjoy the ride! “Almost all teams are virtual today. It may have been a very long time since you completed a project where everyone worked face-to-face through the whole thing. It takes a thoughtful combination of people, technology, and process to gain the value of virtual work. This short ebook is a great start with real world examples.” Terri Griffith, Professor of Management, author of The Plugged-In Manager
  3. 3. CHAPTER 1 The truth behind remote collaboration: Facts and Stats
  4. 4. Do you like this book? Share it! Chapter 1. The truth behind remote collaboration: Survey findings One night several members of our team shared the same dream. They saw empty offices and dusty water coolers, people in cozy pants and people chilling in hammocks during prime working hours. These focused but smiling people all over the globe had one thing in common. They were working remotely. And they rocked it. Excited and intrigued, our team members woke up and decided to run an independent survey to see where things currently really stand with remote work. This survey revealed some fascinating points, and we just couldn’t keep them to ourselves. To make sure we truly got the big picture, we ran the survey with 1,000+ international respondents representing organizations of all sizes, from small startups to Fortune 500 corporations. 4
  5. 5. Do you like this book? Share it! Chapter 1. The truth behind remote collaboration: Survey findings Remote Collaboration: Current state So, how widespread is this trend? Apparently – more than our oracles from the team could imagine. 83% of the respondents said they spend at least an hour or two working remotely every day. Have you ever checked on the latest update for your project while lying in bed in the evening, or shoot an important e-mail on the go, or, perhaps, worked the entire day remotely from home? If your answer is “yes” to at least one of these questions, count yourself in the majority dealing with remote work at least occasionally. 5
  6. 6. Do you like this book? Share it! Chapter 1. The truth behind remote collaboration: Survey findings The trend is growing As many as 43% reported that today they spend more time working remotely than they did 2 or 3 years ago. 43% 83%66% So, does anyone still only work in the office? It appears that only 17% of people do. Considering that there are certain industries where virtual work is physically challenging — for example, with work involving manual labor the number is impressively low! The main question here is “Why?” 43% of respondents work remotely more often than 2-3 years ago 66% believe that their office might go fully virtual in 1-5 years 83% spend at least a part of the day working from home Out of 1000+ employees that took part in our survey 6
  7. 7. Do you like this book? Share it! Chapter 1. The truth behind remote collaboration: Survey findings Why do employees work remotely instead of the classical “office model”? For more than a third of respondents, the answer is – time. The saved time that you can spend with your friends and loved ones, or on personal projects is what matters the most. 41% Saving time Increased productivity Other Focus on work, not on office policies 20% 10% 29% The other benefits are: 7
  8. 8. Do you like this book? Share it! Chapter 1. The truth behind remote collaboration: Survey findings Crucial! 89% of people are ready to make some “sacrifices” for the sake of being able to write a monthly report from the cozy hammock in Goa. How important, do you think, people find the opportunity to work remotely? 78% 54% 31% 25% Would accept reduction in salary Would accept reduction in vacation Would forego paid cellphone plan Would forego free meals But working remotely is not all sunshine and roses. Or, better yet – not all hot tea and a warm blanket. So... Out of 1000+ employees that took part in our survey 8
  9. 9. Do you like this book? Share it! Chapter 1. The truth behind remote collaboration: Survey findings What are the main difficulties of remote collaboration? 22% 38% Lack of direct communication 21% Hindered data accessability 19% Poor visibility into colleagues' actions 22% Other 38% 19% 21% Any solutions out there? Apparently, yes. To handle those tricky challenges, the vast majority of respondents rely on online collaboration tools. Specifically, 87% think that solutions like GoToMeeting, Wrike, etc., are mission-critical for managing teams across distances. 9
  10. 10. Do you like this book? Share it! Chapter 1. The truth behind remote collaboration: Survey findings Mirror, mirror on the wall, what’s in future for them all? Our survey revealed that remote collaboration holds a stronger position than one might think. And the respondents expect it to grow even larger with time. See for yourself: one in four respondents foresees his office going fully virtual within just a year or two. 10
  11. 11. Do you like this book? Share it! Chapter 1. The truth behind remote collaboration: Survey findings 47% Business owners 50% 36% 47% Executives Managers Team members Who is affected the most? The executives appear to be the most involved with the current trend of remote collaboration: Almost 47% of business owners predict a rapid shift to virtual teams in their companies. As they are the actual decisions-makers, this may be a great sign for the big future of remote working. 11
  12. 12. Do you like this book? Share it! Chapter 1. The truth behind remote collaboration: Survey findings Take aways: • Remote work is already an integral part of many people’s work styles; • Workers across all organizational levels expect a continuing expansion of the trend; • One of the most powerful forces driving this forward is the rapid, ongoing development of cloud and mobile applications. 12
  13. 13. 3 CHAPTER 2 How to make it work. Tips for fine-tuning collaboration across distances
  14. 14. Do you like this book? Share it! Chapter 2. How to make it work. Tips for fine-tuning collaboration across distances. The perks of virtual collaboration are quite obvious. It gives employees the freedom to choose where and how to work, allows companies to plug in the best talent across several locations, and even contributes to saving the environment as employees don’t drive to work. However, keeping a virtual team in sync across distances can be quite a challenge for any manager. In this chapter, not only will we give you an arsenal of tips and techniques to deal with the challenges of remote collaboration, but we will also back them up with multiple case studies. No made up solutions here. Just the ones that work :) 14
  15. 15. Do you like this book? Share it! Chapter 2. How to make it work. Tips for fine-tuning collaboration across distances. Carrot or Stick? 15
  16. 16. Do you like this book? Share it! Chapter 2. How to make it work. Tips for fine-tuning collaboration across distances. • The bigger the virtual team, the less people tend to communicate. A joint study by a few European universities shows that communication and overall productivity tends to suffer with teams of 20+ members. In order to not get lost in the miscommunication pit, make sure everyone on the team follows the communication ground rules. Be it a process of logging in task updates and files in the task management tool, or a particular reporting system. • Flexibility pays off. One team member might need more guidance and peer review, whereas another might be more comfortable working independently. Being a bit of a psychologist is a helpful skill for a project manager and a valued bonus for the teammates. The first thing a leader and his virtual team need for sync, efficiency and success is a common ground in terms of work organization. Stick path: Set the ground rules Every team is different and needs to co-create its own process. As mentioned in The Plugged-In Manager, a book by prof. Terri Griffith, it’s important to negotiate to create a workflow that works for the people in involved. Keep in mind that: 16
  17. 17. Do you like this book? Share it! Chapter 2. How to make it work. Tips for fine-tuning collaboration across distances. The devil is in the details Karan Sorensen managed a global infrastructure project at Johnson & Johnson and paid extra attention to team communication rules. The decision that made her project a huge success was quite simple. She thoroughly studied her workers’ cultural differences and time zones and planned calls to match people’s schedules (so that certain people weren’t woken up by calls at midnight). The efforts paid off in spades. Sorensen completed the project under budget and well ahead of her deadline, saving J&J more than $200 million over three years. 17
  18. 18. Do you like this book? Share it! Chapter 2. How to make it work. Tips for fine-tuning collaboration across distances. Apparently, it’s not only a material reward that matters. Our recent study on working habits showed that it is the sense of responsibility that works best for motivating team members! To lift up your team’s spirit: • Let people take some responsibility for the project’s success and make sure team members are aware of each other’s contribution. In a virtual team, it’s easier to lose grip of each other’s responsibilities and actual workload. So sharing this data helps to build trust amongst the distributed team. As well as setting clear goals and expectations, make sure that individual roles and responsibilities are publicized within the team. • Highlight short-term achievements at your weekly meetings and celebrate bigger milestones as you reach them. • Think of sending thank-you e-mails and regularly give praise for good results – everyone likes being appreciated. For instance, Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, a company known for its exceptional organizational culture, sends motivational open letters to encourage his employees as a part of his “happiness framework.” • Besides verbal appreciation, consider offering your workers perks like online courses, sending a small personalized souvenir, etc. Carrot path: find ways to motivate your team 18
  19. 19. Do you like this book? Share it! Chapter 2. How to make it work. Tips for fine-tuning collaboration across distances. Wrike’s tip: Visualize the progress and responsibilities In Wrike, every time someone starts working on the task it is displayed in the common Activity Stream (newsfeed). This way, every team member can see what others are working on at the moment, get a better understanding of each other’s workload and responsibilities, and even collaborate on the task by leaving a comment right from the Activity Stream. 19
  20. 20. Do you like this book? Share it! Chapter 2. How to make it work. Tips for fine-tuning collaboration across distances. Imagine two possible scenarios. In the first one Pitt, a copywriter working remotely, is communicated to by his boss, Jane, only via status updates and reports. Pitt doesn’t feel involved in the company’s life and doesn’t actually feel a part of the team. As a result, he isn’t that committed to the project or the goals. In the second scenario, Jane goes the extra mile to make Pitt’s communication with the team at least partly real-time. Knowing how crucial it is for both operational and psychological health of the whole team, she organizes regular Skype video calls and makes sure Pitt feels included in the everyday life and work of the group. Which scenario do you think would work better? Communicate instead of checking 20
  21. 21. Do you like this book? Share it! Chapter 2. How to make it work. Tips for fine-tuning collaboration across distances. Internal communication Your remote team members are deprived of the usual water cooler conversations which, according to Gallup studies, significantly boost team’s productivity. So, it is important to ensure your virtual colleagues maintain a constant dialogue with the rest of the team. To compensate the lack of personal communication, try organizing informal video calls with “virtual water coolers”, where your team members will be able to discuss some personal aspects of their lives as well as work issues. Some companies also introduce buddy systems and coaching to increase the level of “relatedness” in the team. Of course, the overall atmosphere within the team does depend on each team member, but as this recent research from the American Psychological Association shows, the team leader plays a special part in it. Based on the experience of 40 global remote teams, researchers concluded that when the team leader communicated frequently, the virtual team member was much more likely to contribute to team decision-making. 21
  22. 22. Do you like this book? Share it! Chapter 2. How to make it work. Tips for fine-tuning collaboration across distances. Wrike’s tip: Open communication Wrike’s team is spread across several offices and time zones. Open communication is what makes things work for us. This is how our VP of Customer Success sees it: “Within the customer success team that I lead, I’m always available for open discussion, brainstorming improvements, and getting feedback on various ideas (constructive criticism is very welcome, too!). We work very closely with the engineering and marketing departments. I think this is one of the key things that support a very friendly and positive atmosphere within the company.” Nic Bryson, VP of Customer Success at Wrike External communication Let’s look at remote collaboration from another angle - communication with project stakeholders. Have you ever experienced that project progress reporting that is ultimately formal and dry? The “20 tasks were completed” style. Then, you probably know how unhelpful and general it actually is. Spark your communication with more details. For instance, give a brief overview not only on what was achieved, but how; what interesting observations were made, etc. Add in some fascinating and even funny details that will give your stakeholders a better understanding of the process and not only of the results. 22
  23. 23. Do you like this book? Share it! Chapter 2. How to make it work. Tips for fine-tuning collaboration across distances. According to research, at least 46% of virtual team members have never seen each other face-to-face, and 30% only meet once a year. Although it may be a costly and not very easy thing to do, whenever you get a chance, organize a team face-to-face meeting. In their book, Uniting the Virtual Workforce, Karen Sobel Lojeski and Richard R. Reilly notice that the face-to-face meetings can be especially important in the initial stage of the project, when there are major hitches that need to be discussed openly, and when presenting results to clients. Face-to-face interaction is always a good idea 23
  24. 24. Do you like this book? Share it! Chapter 2. How to make it work. Tips for fine-tuning collaboration across distances. • It’s easier to treat a new remote colleague as a “foe”. If you have the opportunity, make the onboarding meeting face-to-face. In his book Your Brain at Work, David Rock describes what the brain goes through when you meet a new person. It automatically considers him a foe. However, a simple handshake, swapping names and discussing something in common, be it the weather or traffic, is often all it takes to make the brain switch from “foe” to “friend.” In the situation where the first meeting is virtual, it’s important to leave some time for people to get acquainted and “related.” Give your teammates a chance to exchange a couple of personal pictures, tell a little bit more about themselves, or just have a little chit-chat about the day in the beginning of the introduction call. • Travelling to your remote offices will contribute to bonding. Hartwell Pacific, a global metal recycling company that operates in six different cities in four countries, came up with an interesting global management system. They created a mobile management team of the executive committee members from Headquarters and a general manager of each subsidiary that met monthly at different locations around the world. This broke down the geographic and psychological borders between subsidiaries and involved all of the senior managers in a regular, rigorous business analysis of each operation. • Nothing unites people more than shared positive memories. So, if possible, organize a field trip for the whole team, and make sure your remote team members are there as well. Keep in mind that: 24
  25. 25. Do you like this book? Share it! Chapter 2. How to make it work. Tips for fine-tuning collaboration across distances. Wrike’s tip: “On air” time At Wrike, we give a particular team member some “on air” time during the all-hands meeting to let the remote colleagues get to know that person a little better. From time to time every team member acts as the team’s representative on the call. This also increases the “relatedness” and the sense of general responsibility. While working in a virtual team, it’s often easy to get captured by the feeling of “seeing the forest and forgetting that it’s made of trees,” as Joseph Ferrari puts it. That’s why it’s so important to first tackle a smaller “tree” or a “branch,” i.e., a task that looks more feasible, and then deal with the remaining work. Keep it granular When constant communication is impossible, splitting work into smaller tasks might be a helpful tactic. 25
  26. 26. Do you like this book? Share it! Chapter 2. How to make it work. Tips for fine-tuning collaboration across distances. The benefits: • It’s easier for the worker to clearly understand the goals and the expected result; • Tracking progress (for managers, stakeholders and customers) and reporting (for workers) becomes easier. When the team reports on a more granular level rather than abstractly saying that “60% is complete,” you don’t need to run meetings so often to clear up the details. You get the opportunity to receive earlier feedback from your stakeholders and make sure you’re moving in the right direction. • Beating an enemy like procrastination might be another productivity benefit of this method. 26
  27. 27. Do you like this book? Share it! Chapter 2. How to make it work. Tips for fine-tuning collaboration across distances. One of the major hindrances for virtual teams is difficult access to relevant project information. Sharing is vital for making workflow transparent. And guess what makes a good virtual teammate, according to RW CultureWizard’s survey? That’s right. The fact that “He shares information!” When your team is spread across the country and even the globe, it becomes especially important to keep all plans and updates available for other teammates to see. This way, they aren’t spread across personal storage spaces, but can be accessed in real-time by everyone who’s impacted. Make sure you find a suitable system that would connect all your project data together as it can make the work of you and your team considerably more organized and save valuable time. Wrike, for example, can help gather all your project schedules, task descriptions and updates, including comments, latest file versions and plan changes. Sharing is good 27
  28. 28. Do you like this book? Share it! Chapter 2. How to make it work. Tips for fine-tuning collaboration across distances. One of the biggest perks of running a virtual team is the opportunity to get the best talent. Neither geography nor cultural differences can stand in the way of creating something great together! The nice thing about having a team spread across several time zones is that you can build a feedback loop that would basically last 24 hours a day. It might also become the basis for leveraging the open innovation model in your organization. But, keep in mind to always leave place for some fun. After all, it’s one of the main reasons we do what we do, isn’t it? :) For example, employees of Volvo IT, an organization with a global staff of more than 60,000 people, would order food delivery to an office in another country, and this would bring up a short, impromptu party. By the way, in our survey, a good mood was ranked as the No. 2 efficiency trigger, after a sense of responsibility. So giving your virtual workers a reason to smile might pay back. All in all, Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, put it in a really nice way: “Have fun, do good, success will come.” We sign under it. Let’s get creative! 28
  29. 29. Do you like this book? Share it! Chapter 2. How to make it work. Tips for fine-tuning collaboration across distances. Take aways: • Even though remote teams lack the opportunity to communicate directly and discuss issues face- to-face, there are helpful ways to make their collaboration smooth and efficient. • A virtual team can actually be no less, and sometimes even more efficient and successful, than a co-located one. The virtuality gives you an opportunity to broaden your geographical and talent reach! 29
  30. 30. Do you like this book? Share it! Conclusion Our journey has come to an end. We hope that you enjoyed the ride. Now, you just need to find your own mix of methods and tools to get the best from your remote project team. To productivity and beyond! With love, The Wrike Team App that makes remote teams efficient! Start free trial 30
  31. 31. Do you like this book? Share it! Eager to learn more? • The past, present and future of remote collaboration: Wrike's new infographic • Virtual water-cooler breaks: The value of informal communication in remote teams • Project schedules, hamster wheels and your team's hidden superpower • 5 practical tips on making virtual collaboration efficient • First-hand experience to succeed with a distributed team 31

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