Critical Communication: Reporting for Remote Teams
Get this: approximately 70 percent of people around the world work remotely at least once a week.
With the shift to telecommuting in full effect, more people than ever before are working from home (or their favorite coffee shop). The benefits of this arrangement run deep, both for employers and employees.
For example, remote work allows employers to save on overhead costs, as they don’t have to provide employees with space to work.
Just the same, remote workers enjoy the flexibility, time savings (no more commute), and ability to achieve a greater work-life balance.
But, before you get too excited, there’s something else to consider: the challenges of working in a remote environment.
- Employers must have a strong sense of trust in all remote workers
- Employers and employees must be on the same page in regards to the technology they’ll use to communicate and collaborate remotely
- Difficulties creating and maintaining a solid corporate culture
Fortunately, there’s an answer to all these challenges: technology.
Mark Dixon, Chief Executive Officer of IWG, a firm leading the workspace revolution, shared the following with CNBC:
“The biggest driver is digital changing every industry in the world. If you offer workers the chance to work where they need to be, and not where they are told to go to, it completely transforms their view of the company, they are more productive.”
With the help of technology and the digital world in general, companies are in a better position to promote telecommuting without missing a beat.
Remote team reporting: critical communication
One of the primary challenges in a remote work environment is ensuring that every worker, regardless of location and responsibilities, is on the same page at all times.
There’s more to the remote access to business data (and reporting) than meets the eye. Here’s why: there are three major types of remote team communication. Let’s break down each one.
Even in a remote environment, there are times when in-person communication is required. For example, this often occurs when remote workers come together once a month to collaborate.
The challenge, as it pertains to reporting, comes into play when everyone is using their own system for accessing, tracking, and analyzing data.
One person is using a Google Sheet, while the next is using Excel. One person is big on QuickBooks, while someone else would rather use a pen and paper system.
You get the point. You can communicate all you want in-person, but without a centralized reporting solution, there are always concerns about missing data and inaccuracies.
As a largely diverse workforce, it’s common for a large team to work together but not necessarily at the same time. For example, you’re located in New York City, another person is in Los Angeles, and your supervisor is doing business from London.
When it comes to asynchronous communication, workers aren’t always online at the same time. For this reason, the information you gather and share may not be immediately reviewed by the recipient. This has the potential to cause trouble.
With automated remote reporting, everything remains synced and up to date (without any additional work). You can complete a report in real time in New York City, and when your co-worker in Los Angeles wakes up they’ll have access to the exact same information.
As founder and CEO of Ferrazzi Greenlight, Keith Ferrazzi advises:
“As the manager, you need to set clear, deliberate expectations in advance and establish ground rules for how interactions will take place."
That means establishing guidelines that will help your team report and sync data on a regular basis. So it doesn't matter whether you're sleeping and your colleague is just starting their workday. Everyone on the team will have up-to-date data to work with.
This form of workflow automation keeps everyone on the same page, even when working in an asynchronous manner.
Synchronous communication is preferred, as it means that all workers are available at the same time every day.
While this isn’t always possible, with time zones often getting in the way, it does happen with some teams.
Despite the fact that everyone is present at the same time, remote reporting remains of utmost importance.
With consistent, automated reporting, remote teams can streamline processes as a means of saving time, avoiding mistakes, and working in a more efficient and productive manner.
Take for example a team that relies heavily on the use of spreadsheets. There used to be a time when you’d create a spreadsheet, input the data, email it to the rest of your team, and let them review and edit.
Those days are gone. Remote spreadsheet collaboration has changed all that. Synchronous communication allows everyone to work together in harmony, with each worker updating the spreadsheet in real time.
Final thoughts on remote communication and reporting
Always get to know your remote team like you would any other in-person colleague. There's no sense in establishing guidelines for reporting data that only works for your office-based team and not remote workers and vice versa.
Communicate critical information to your entire team the same way. This engages with remote workers and holds them accountable for the same quality level of work.
What type of communication do you partake in most often? Once you know the answer to this question, you can decide what form of reporting will work best for you and your remote team.
If you need assistance with automated remote reporting, let us help. Try out a 14-day free trial of Kloudio.