A study by Global Workplace Analytics found that 77% of remote workers reported greater productivity than working in an office. This week, I spoke with Wayne Turmel and Kevin Eikenberry about what goes into fostering a healthy and productive team of remote workers. Turmel and Eikenberry recently published a book titled “The Long-Distance Team” that details this subject.
These two experts in remote working have fascinating and robust histories. As the Chief Potential Officer of The Kevin Eikenberry Group, Eikenberry has coached organizations and leaders worldwide on leadership, teamwork, communication and more. Turmel is a master trainer and coach at Eikenberry’s company. He has been enthralled by how people communicate at work for the last two decades. The two found each other when their virtual worlds collided. Turmel hosted a podcast called “The Cranky Middle Manager,” and Eikenberry was on several times. They later met and collaborated. While working with Turmel, Eikenberry liked his company so much that he later bought it.
In their book, Eikenberry and Turmel discuss the “Three C’s” of remote work: communicating, collaborating, and cohesion. These “Three C’s” are essential to building a remote work team as remote work has reached unprecedented levels. We will dive into each of the “Three C’s” to better understand what makes a long-distance team successful.
To ensure clear and efficient communication, remote workers must prioritize consistency, transparency, and clarity in their messages. It’s important to remember that in a virtual space, you’re missing all the visual cues you would have in-office. So being as explicit and as straightforward as possible is essential. Consistent check-ins and team meetings can help maintain a sense of connection and ensure everyone is on the same page. Overall, effective communication in a remote work setting requires intentional effort and a willingness to adapt to remote collaboration’s unique challenges and opportunities.
To build strong collaboration, remote teams must set up clear communication pathways, create and implement expectations for each team member, and institute periodic check-ins to make sure that everyone is on the same page. Additionally, listening is essential to effective collaboration in any remote work setting. To take it one step further, this means being an engaged listener. According to Eikenberry and Turmel, if you want to lead for commitment from your remote workforce, being an engaged listener (one that asks meaningful follow-up questions and truly acts on what they’re hearing) is paramount. Being an engaged listener helps remote workers prioritize building solid relationships and trust with their colleagues to overcome the physical distance and lack of face-to-face interaction. Successful remote collaboration requires a shared commitment to teamwork, an eagerness to use new technologies and a forward-thinking attitude towards problem-solving.
To build cohesion, remote teams must institute relationship-building activities to foster open communication and collaboration. Remote working teams should also create a shared team culture with values. According to Turmel, “We assume culture is imposed top-down. It may partly come from the founder’s vision or long-standing company history, but it truly comes from the folks working from the bottom-up.” In addition, remote teams should institute conflict resolution, communication, and decision-making procedures to ensure everyone feels heard and valued. By promoting cohesion within their teams, remote workers can build a strong sense of community and shared purpose, increasing productivity and job satisfaction.
Original Article: The “Three C’s” To Building A Strong Remote Work Team (forbes.com)