Call me crazy, but my favorite scenes in Mad Men have always been the ones focused on the business of running a high-powered Madison Ave. ad agency. The office politics, the rushed meetings and maneuverings, the interplay between the copywriters, the art department, and the ever-watchful Don Draper—that’s the good stuff.
Office life is totally different today, of course. The in-person back-and-forths seen in Mad Men aren’t too common in the modern business, and not just because we don’t have writers churning out the witty repartee for us. Our teams are spread around the globe, or simply working from home, and communication takes place over keyboards and screens.
Managing, let alone motivating, such teams is a task even a semi-sober Draper would struggle with. So here are three quick tips to help you improve your team’s productivity, no matter where you are or how far away they may be.
Get In Sync
Time zones matter less than they used to, in some ways, but if you have employees, partners, and/or freelancers working halfway around the world, keeping tabs on their waking and working hours makes it a lot easier to get things done. Agree on certain periods where they’ll be available for an email, phone call, or video chat—it will save you stress when waiting for a reply and help keep everyone organized and on-task.
Make sure you commit to being available to communicate at your set times, too. Not only does this ensure that information can flow freely and efficiently in both directions, but it will show your off-site team that you respect their time and their efforts, and that’s good for productivity…not to mention being an all-around good guy thing to do.
Make Communication Easier
Not all communication will happen in that window you’ve set up, of course; sometimes it’s easier and more productive to send out messages, inquiries, and updates as soon as they’re pertinent. When that’s the case, make sure your communications are well-organized and easily accessible by the people who need to see them.
An app like Fetchnotes is great for communicating with off-site teams. Tagging notes with people sends them a notification, so they’ll see the question, request, or discussion as soon as they go online; using hashtags for subjects lets you put notes in relevant categories as you type, keeping everything you write down organized and easily found by relevant project members.
The more organized your notes and messages are, the less likely they are to slip through the cracks. Your team will also save the time otherwise spent sifting through emails for the information they need, giving you the productivity boost you’re after.
This one’s a good tip for any environment and any endeavor, but it’s frequently forgotten in the freelanced and outsourced business world of today. A little thanks—given sincerely—goes a long way in boosting morale. Let your far-flung team members know how important they are to your business and how much you appreciate what they do for you, and they’ll be eager to do even more.
Keep things synced, make communication easy, and show your team you’re thankful to have them on board. Three quick and easy ways to keep your global team happy and productive. You can also check out one of our productivity tools here and see what’s coming up next here.
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