How to Develop a Scalable Workflow for Your Remote Team
Planning to have more remote workers or already have them but struggling to make the most of them? Or, maybe you’re already aware of the unique problems it presents, but struggling with implementation?
Read on to find out how to develop a scalable workflow that can work just as well, if not better, remotely.
The digital nomad phenomenon actually began slightly before the Pandemic, where its convenience was presented as something exciting and alluring - why not work from a beautiful location if you can still get your work done? As you can see, even back in 2018 retainment increased with more flexibility.
Although some companies had started considering adopting a hybrid work model, the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020 put things in full throttle. This was no longer a life choice or a reason to attract top talent: It suddenly became an absolute necessity.
The importance of remote working
These days 58% of Americans have the opportunity to work remotely, whilst 87% said that they would do if they had the choice, citing convenience, an increase in their productivity, and a better work-life-balance as their reasoning. Particularly beneficial to many in this regard are the hours not spent commuting.
You don’t just stand to make your employees more engaged, but businesses benefit too. They have access to a larger talent pool, save money, and foster a happier workforce who use their time more wisely.
It is therefore not surprising that job postings for remote/hybrid opportunities have continued to rise post pandemic.
What is a scalable workflow
The concept of a scalable workflow is simple: it is a workflow with expansion in mind. If your current system has only 50 team members, would it work in the same way with 100? How would your team cope if website traffic and requests doubled?
If you don’t know the answers to these questions then you may need to think about designing scalable workflows which will not only help you in the present, but also the future, whilst also being mindful of remote working, which seems set to stay.
How to Develop a Scalable Workflow for Remote Teams
The pandemic brought into focus 2 immediate challenges for businesses: how could they continue to collaborate with their clients if they were not physically in the room (which could be a bigger issue depending on your industry), and how could they guarantee collaboration and best practice internally when all their teams were spread out.
A lot was learnt during the pandemic, and developments in scalable workflows for remote teams continue as companies increasingly adopt hybrid scenarios, presenting their own complexities for management.
Enhance your team’s present workflow
What is human capital management (HCM)? This is one of the best places to start to drive productivity and business value, and it would be the perfect time when making the transition to remote working.
Also consider using one of the best employee management softwares to help automate the process, visualize its progress, goals, and deadlines, and share access wherever you are. In doing so, you’ll be better placed to realize if anything is impeding business processes, and prevent them happening again. Also, consider how in remote settings sending individual email attachments, which work fine when teams are together in the office, may cause confusion and disconnection when they are not. Having shared access to all relevant files is a good way to streamline people’s workflow.
By working remotely, employees are actively given a sense of autonomy in their work, which can demonstrably increase engagement and improve the employee experience. Allowing your talent to be creative, have flexibility in their schedule, and prioritize their own workload are all great ways to nurture an engaging employee culture.
Set up goals and objectives
Employees want to be noticed and feel like their efforts are appreciated, both from management and their fellow colleagues, yet this is more challenging when everyone is outside of the office.
Employ performance management software to monitor and evaluate work in order to send out recognition emails or organize virtual meetings. Don’t be afraid to give constructive feedback: honesty usually goes down well and can promote better communication and trust.
Furthermore, just as with in-office staff, providing a clear map of career development is an excellent motivator to promote talent growth and retention. This could also include remote specific personal development through something like databricks’ data-engineer certificates.
Build Efficient Communication Channels
Lack of friendly conversations are a huge contributor to workplace tensions, affecting engagement and productivity. Choosing a dedicated platform for discussions is essential, especially important when teams are spread around the globe in different time zones.
Managers need to spend more time ensuring staff understand their tasks, as they may be alone. On the flip side, they also need to make that extra time to ‘pop-in’ and have a chat with employees on an individual level too, bearing their workflow in mind. Done right, the result will be clearer and more intentional communications which drive-up efficiency.
Only 26% of employees feel like their team works well together,and this is really important as a driver for engagement at work, yet rather challenging when working remotely. Try organizing regular catch-ups, holding virtual coffee-breaks and organizing team-building events.
However, avoid any lengthy meetings which do not provide any chance for engagement - one study found 91% daydreamed and a whopping 39% slept during online meetings. Hosting get-togethers with clear objectives like brainstorming, feedback and to set weekly targets are likely to be effective.
Create efficient systems and procedures
Arguably, ensuring employees have clearly defined roles is just as important, if not more so, than clearly defined tasks. This is because it fosters a sense of autonomy as employees feel comfortable completing their tasks independently. If this is done right, it won’t have a negative impact on teamwork.
Additionally, think about the money being saved by the company by not having to spend it on office spaces. This could be spent on remote employees to guarantee they have the necessary equipment and work space to function at their best.
Promote a culture of accountability and trust
It is always important for things to be open, but especially so when workers are away from one another to avoid any disagreements or confusion about what needs to be done. As a result of this, staff feel more comfortable being accountable for unintended mistakes, and are more likely to reciprocate this to the wider remote team.
Employing a collaboration tool enables workers to contribute to the same document, review each other’s work, and suggest modifications. Such tools also help improve workflow and prevent leaders from feeling like they are losing control when their team goes remote.
Scale your workflow as your team grows
Promoting trust within your community will be difficult if you don’t keep your existing workers up-to-date with growth changes. Make sure that remote workers are informed about any new hirings, so that they can prepare for any changes this could bring to their workflow.
Hiring a remote team to match your scalable workflow can be challenging. When onboarding new remote staff, it’s important to provide them with a comprehensive and engaging platform that not only creates a positive first impression, but also enables businesses to track the progress of new starts. Included within this should be necessary cybersecurity awareness, like using digital business cards as a safe way to share vital information.
It would also be beneficial to provide any advice regarding the significant adjustments people make to their working life when joining a remote team. Providing team building activities to connect old and new employees is a must.
Measure success and make adjustments
Finally, as with any innovative change to work patterns, at each step crunch data to give you an understanding of where further improvements could be made. Consider obtaining an employee monitoring software tool to help you do this.
Simply put, a remote workforce is a happier and more efficient one due to its flexibility and autonomy, which reflects positively when implementing a scalable workflow. However, achieving this requires careful consideration of HCM and using software to help manage and automate tasks.
In a world where employees can’t communicate face-to-face, providing opportunities to chat is necessary, yet avoid making it dull or pointless as this will have the opposite effect on engagement. Constantly adapt your processes, and monitor and assess your workflow as it grows.
Pohan Lin - Senior Web Marketing and Localizations Manager:
Pohan Lin is the Senior Web Marketing and Localizations Manager at Databricks, a global Data and AI provider connecting the features of data warehouses and data lakes to create lakehouse architecture. With over 18 years of experience in web marketing, online SaaS business, and ecommerce growth. Pohan is passionate about innovation and is dedicated to communicating the significant impact data has in marketing. Pohan Lin has also written for domains such as BigCommerce.