With companies slowly rolling back into the office as stay at home orders are lifting across the country, we know navigating a partially remote can be challenging. Seer is no stranger to working with team members in and out of the office since we launched the opportunity for team members to join our entirely remote team and have always offered unlimited WFH hours.
We imagine many companies are allowing their team members flexibility when it comes to returning to the office. It is important to continue leveraging the new skills and tools you and your team have grown during this time away from the office.
Tips to Successfully Work with Remote Team Members
Build Empathy & Relationships with Your Colleagues
Be present and improve your listening skills
This is a growing skill as a lot of us navigate our new work environments - and it is much harder when half of the team is on video and the other half is in person. Do your best to eliminate the distractions and be cognizant of calling on individuals who are working remotely.
Don’t only talk to someone when you need something from them
This can make things feel transactional. Instead, create a trend of chatting them about other things so when you do need to ask for something or have a hard conversation it’s not the only interactions you are having.
Be intentional about setting and keeping meetings
These may be the only consistent time to build a relationship. Cancelling meetings may seem more productive but won’t build strong relationships as a team.
Set up virtual coffees that are NOT about client work
Do this with new remote workers you are working with directly and with people you’ve never met regularly who are still sitting outside the office.
Assume good intentions
This is a good rule regardless, but is even more important when working with people you aren’t truly seeing. It is easy to forget they are people too and not just a name on an email or chat.
Host remote meetings regularly
Find a cadence to host entirely “remote” meetings from your desk to make remote team members feel more included. This enables your team to continually understand and empathize with those who are still unable to rejoin the office or have become completely remote.
Structure Internal & Client Meetings for Success
Default to Video On
All team members should default to keeping their video on - no matter how large or small the meeting is. Seeing your team members brings a more personal level to your calls. Leverage cameras in conference rooms. Don’t have cameras in your conference rooms? Ask the folks that are in the office with you to bring their laptops and join video to make your remote team feel more involved.
Start on the right foot
Use an icebreaker or ask a personal question so you don’t dive straight into work talk and start out on a positive note for the call. Not having this can make a call seem transactional - making it difficult to relate to your remote coworker.
Verbally introduce team members
If there are new team members or it’s hard to see all the people in the room be sure to verbally introduce everyone. Including the ones remote.
Ask for remote team member input
If you are hosting in-person meetings, remember to allow your remote team members to add their two cents to the conversation. This ensures they are engaged and that their time feels valuable.
Pass the baton on client calls
Don’t wait for someone to jump in. Be direct and call the next person by name to limit confusion on who should talk next.
Avoid Cold Calling Team Members
If you require additional input or feedback from other members on the call, call them out by name and restate the question that was originally proposed.
Many of us have gained a new understanding and empathy towards working fully or partially remote. It is important to continue to utilize the new skills and put them into practice when we return to the office.