5 Critical Ways to Build Stronger Remote Teams to Last

Virtual Offices Not a New Thing for CoreShop Solution

While it seems that just about everybody is experiencing working from home to new levels, companies like CSS Commerce has been running virtually from its very inception.  Engineering, Marketing, Sales, Accounting and IT teams all work from home and in different time zones and across departments.  How do we make it work?

Here 5 ways we make it better:

1. Make the flexibility factor work for you

One of the key benefits of working from home is flexibility.  Realize employees need to get home stuff done too.  There’s children, dogs, whatever.  Being flexible means you get your work done by managing your time.  Virtual offices must allow for flexible deadlines.  A due date is honored but it can be completed at 9am or 5pm.  We plan accordingly.

After the few meetings on the calendar, each member has the freedom to get what needs to be done at their own pace and time. Hiring self-motivated individuals is also key.

2. Have structured chaos communication in place

Everyone is working on different projects with different clients.  Keeping some degree of structured communications helps keep everyone engaged and moving at full speed ahead to meet deadlines. Another tip here for you is to begin your day with a quick meeting with all the teams. This will help both you and your employees to stay on track for driving better results even if they are all apart.

Our Microsoft Zoho app lets us have virtual water cooler conversations, as well as keep up with projects, changes and opportunities.

We have set times for meetings twice a week where everyone jumps into their team meetings.  Full use of apps such as Skype, Zoom, WhatsApp and others come into play depending on where they are in the world.  For example, with our team members in Latin America, it’s best to touch base via WhatsApp.

3. Use Remote Work Tools Effectively 

There are plenty of remote work tools that can help you with project management, billing, HR, and team deployment.  As we encourage teamwork, there needs to be one central place for keeping forms, documents, creative tools.  So, whether you choose Google Docs or Dropbox, be consistent.  We prefer Dropbox since Google Docs changes/updates too often.  Make sure that everyone knows how to track changes, keep updates and notes so that at any given time, everyone knows the status of a creative piece or document.

If you bill by the hour, use remote work tools for tracking billable time much easier than having to keep time individually.  Time Doctor takes care of client billing and has a dashboard for quick views on time spent on projects and tasks.  Harvest is pretty simple and keeps track of time and expense by line item.  Then there are tools for decision making such as Doodle, a polling platform.  This one allows for the team to have input and creates a way to engage by giving choices or options during projects.

4. Make sure encouragement and appreciation is freely given and often

One of the key issues that rises from working virtually is that, over time, employees may feel isolated and demoralized when they don’t get encouragement or a pat on the back.  Managers have to make a concerted effort to praise employees during virtual meetings, in emails, even at the virtual water cooler.  A cloud based employee rewards and recognition system means that you will never miss an opportunity to recognize an employee.  And anyone can do it – have employees recognize their fellow team members. Keeping their spirits up and maintain employee engagement will ensure that your employees are productive and focused.

5. Build team spirit virtually

The biggest challenge is building a team and an identity as your brand in a virtual workplace.  Let your employees know what you stand for and encourage excellence in execution, design, creative, sales efforts by virtually encouraging and applauding even small wins. Set time aside for the virtual coffee break. Get everyone online via Zoom with their coffee and play client bingo.  Recently, JJ Watt from the Houston Texans was jumping into virtual sales meetings just to say hello.  It totally reinvigorated the meeting!  And it was a great brag for the team.

If you’re thinking of keeping your virtual team in place or a bit longer, just think: we have all the technology available to make it happen.

About CSS Commerce

CSS Commerce LLC is a leading, global innovator building complex e-commerce software with PIM/DAM/MDM solutions. We are experts with Perfion, Magento, Sana, Akeneo and Pimcore products plus we build both Microsoft enterprise class and PHP open source software solutions. In addition, we provide incredibly productive solutions around Web2Print and PWA.  Our global strategic partnerships, including Bonitasoft, Magento, Sana, BigCommerce, Shopify, SalesForce, Akeneo, AWS, Web2Print, Progressive Web Apps, and select others, completing our offerings with business process automation, AI, RPA, Quality management and supply chain software.