• Firms

    How to Be Part of the Team, Even When Working Remotely

    By | March 2, 2018

    Does remote working make you feel like a faceless drone, beaming work from a distant planet across satellites to unseen robotic clients?

    Cloud accounting doesn’t have to look like this. In fact, it can’t look like this if businesses want to stay competitive and ahead of the curve.

    As more companies begin to rely on remote employees, it’s become imperative for businesses to develop strategies that genuinely integrate them into the team. With the right standards and policies in place, cloud accountants can connect with each other and with those in the physical office in ways that maximize productivity and collaboration, making it no different than if you were sitting five feet away.

    But if your company isn’t using those strategies, it may be up to you to get the ball rolling. Here are some ways you can become part of the team when working remotely.

    Technology is your friend

    Today there are a number of applications that give cloud accountants a team presence and allow you to collaborate more effectively.

    Slack provides a virtual workspace where both physical and remote workers can chat, share ideas, and ensure project deadlines are met. The platform is flexible–some businesses use it as a one-stop shop for communication and project management, while others utilize one feature exclusively, such as text chat.

    Video conferences are also a great way to bring you and your team together and get people talking face to face. Zoom is perhaps the easiest and most user-friendly, though other organizations swear by Skype or Join.me.

    Keep it fun

    As a remote worker, you’ll often miss out on the employee outings and general office camaraderie that help elevate collaboration, strengthen teamwork, and even build friendships.

    “It’s easy for remote workers to feel isolated, and without a way to build camaraderie, it’s easy for everyone to go their own way instead of pulling together and working as a team,” says Patti Scharf, Co-Founder and COO of Catching Clouds.

    But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are ways to bring yourself into the cultural fold, no matter how remote you may be.

    Try sending out an email with a personal question to your entire team, encouraging them to hit reply all with their responses. You can ask about their favorite travel experiences, war stories of nightmare clients, or whether they’re called “jimmies” or “sprinkles” (the correct answer being sprinkles, of course.) This will get the team talking about something unrelated to work, sparking conversation and debate that can foster personal connections.

    Online games are another great way to bring remote teams together. Poll your coworkers and see what kinds of games they like best. Depending on the responses, you might suggest anything from regular online scrabble tournaments to Call of Duty deathmatches.

    Sites like teambonding also provide a number of virtual solutions that help remote workers connect in fun, personal ways.

    Don’t get frustrated

    Building teamwork and collaboration isn’t really your responsibility. Using the above strategies are great ways to show initiative and get the process started, but if your company isn’t committed to keeping its remote employees connected, there isn’t a whole lot you can do.

    It can be very difficult to integrate remote workers, because that essentially implies a hybrid model,” says Caleb Stephens, Controller at Automattic. “Hybrid models can be really hard to pull off if they aren’t functionally aligned.”

    As long as you’re doing everything in your power to stay connected and collaborate with your teammates, know that you’re doing it right–even if your employer isn’t.

    And if lack of communication starts to affect your output, it might be time to look for a new position. There are plenty of firms out there that know how to foster remote collaboration, and if you’re bold enough to try the above strategies on your own, we’re sure they’d love to have you.