As COVID-19 continues to rear its head with a surge of the Delta variant, it’s likely that our teams will remain distributed for longer than companies had originally planned. In fact, companies like Apple have already announced that they’ll be pushing back their return-to-office date.
For workers who have been forced to go remote because of the pandemic, our 2021 Goal Management Report found that the majority of us are working harder than before yet seeing fewer results. This tells us that our new, distributed way of work is impacting our ability to achieve our goals and burning out overworked employees.
To avoid this, teams need strategies to help them work effectively and efficiently to achieve their goals, even when they’re spread across geographies.
Before goal planning begins, there’s a prerequisite: communicating across teams who have similar (or the same) goals.
Especially if your organization has overlapping roles and functional groups (i.e. Product and Product Marketing) or the same team type in multiple locations (i.e. Sales North America and Sales UK), it is absolutely essential to take time to connect. This upfront work can feel heavy but prevents collision points later.
Here are the three necessary items to discuss in this meeting:
Once leaders across the organization are aligned on high level goals, team and individual goal setting can begin. A major advantage of goal setting is that it sets clear expectations and timelines up front.
When goals flow from the organizational level down to the individual, it ensures that every team member–no matter where they’re located–knows what they’re responsible for and by when. This way, managers no longer have to spend time and energy sending out communications around deliverable timelines, progress updates, and work assignments. Instead, they can focus on higher value work.
Aligning across global leaders also offers a more strategic advantage: when distributed teams go through the OKR process together, they may be surprised by the ideas that arise. That’s because each individual team member offers valuable perspective to the group, often with one shining light to the blind spots of another.
Over half of workers surveyed for our Goal Management Report said that they need collaboration tools (like Slack, Microsoft Teams, or Google) in order to be successful in a hybrid work environment.
While these tools are necessary and powerful, they must be leverage empathetically to avoid the “always-on” feeling that inevitably leads to burnout—especially when working with global teams with different working hours. Be conscious of when you’re sending Slack and email messages to your colleagues halfway across the world – or even just a few states over. Business Solver’s State of Workplace Empathy Study has found that 90% of employees surveyed believe empathy is important in the workplace, and countless other studies have tied empathy to job performance.
In practice, this could look like scheduling your emails to hit the inboxes of your remote team members during their work hours, not yours.
Did you know? In Ally.io, administrators can schedule notifications to be sent at specified times, making it easy for organizations with distributed teams to practice empathetic collaboration at scale. Learn more here.
While interrupting their slumber with the incessant sound of incoming mail is part of our concern, we’re also concerned about setting boundaries. A constant flurry of communication coming in round-the-clock makes it hard for workers to truly log off at the end of their workdays. Especially if it comes from a higher-up, workers can feel pressured to respond to requests or messages outside of their regular working hours. Take this stress off your teams by using collaboration tools thoughtfully.
Whether your team is staying remote, embracing a hybrid work environment, or planning to go back into the office soon, we hope you’ll be able to put these secrets into practice. With strong communication and alignment, your team – distributed or not – will be best positioned to reach your goals.
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