Banner: The 3 C's Small-Medium Business Owners Need to Manage a Remote Team.

The 3 C’s Small-Medium Business Owners Need to Manage a Remote Team

Even with today’s video chat software and instant messaging, a digital workplace is not the same as an office—so why treat it like one?

It takes much more than a Zoom call to optimize remote work efficiency. Small-medium business owners and CEOs should strive to go beyond the standard technologies in order to adapt the day-to-day interpersonal aspects of the office workplace into the remote workplace.

These 3 C’s can make or break your business’ success: company culture, collaboration, and connection with peers, all of which can easily get left behind in the move to a remote workplace.

1. Culture

In a survey from CyberLink, about 1 in 4 remote workers agree that it is hard to navigate workplace culture remotely. In a virtual environment, small-medium business owners and CEOs must consciously work to establish the company’s goals, weaknesses, and values for its employees.

How do you encourage a productivity-conducive culture virtually? By listening, communicating, supporting, and going the extra mile for your team. Incorporate your company values into your remote workflow.

For example, if balance and harmony is a value within your company, establish regular times for employees to connect on a personal level. Your team members would then approach work with a balanced mindset, prepared to take on their tasks with a healthy balance of work and life supporting them.

Whatever their tasks may be, they will be completing them as a participation in the strong company culture. In this way, you can intertwine company culture into remote work life and not only increase productivity but also unite the team with a company mission, vision, and values.

2. Collaboration

There are three kinds of distance to keep in mind when collaborating remotely: physical distance, operational distance, and affinity distance.

50% of remote workers around the world feel that the biggest struggle with working remotely is a struggle related to communication, collaboration, and connection.

We can’t help the fact that physical distance makes us feel isolated from others emotionally. But because physical separation cannot be reconciled in, say, a pandemic, the kind of distance you should work to remove in your workplace is affinity distance, which deals with interpersonal relationships—the trust and dependency between team members.

Why does this matter more in a remote setting? Because physical distance takes away our quickest, most personal method of communication.

Unfortunately, no digital communication could ever truly replace physical human connection. Communication is slower when limited to email or other text-based messaging, and even video calls are slower—we don’t experience glitches in audio or a disruption due to bad WiFi in-person.

Digital communication also often distorts the emotions behind one’s words. We cannot always convey and interpret emotions accurately through a screen. Miscommunications lead to long-term interpersonal issues—like lack of trust—which disrupt the team workflow.

To combat affinity barriers, hold regular video conferences. Regular, meaningful video calls are the closest thing we have right now to in-person conversations, so establish a frequent schedule of group and one-on-one calls with your team to check in and collaborate, ideally a daily regimen.

If video calls are unrealistic, then the next best thing is audio calls.

3. Connection

Disconnection between different departments of your workplace can quickly lead to issues that are amplified by working remotely. Within a physical space, workers can simply walk to a different department’s team to check in.

In a remote workplace, it’s more challenging than that.

A Sirkin Research survey revealed that remote workers struggle with collaboration and increased communications due to a lack of connection.

The information barriers separating teams and team members leads to the silo effect—without an established information flow system, teams are left responsible for communicating with one another in an unorganized, inefficient way.

Maintain cross-department connection by encouraging personal interactions between different departments’ members at company-wide virtual events. Host large, participatory webinars for your versatile workers to connect with one another, on a platform like Zoom, Workplace, or Lifesize.

You may also schedule regular video meetings between departments that coordinate frequently with one another.

Remote work is challenging, but uniquely rewarding when done right. Incorporating regular routines and habits with the digital communication and organization tools available to us is key to maintaining a productive, happy remote team.

Small-medium business owners and CEOs need remember the 3 C’s of remote team management: culture, collaboration, and connection.

Dayna Lang