How to Succeed with a Remote Team as a Nonprofit
With the often limited resources and added stress that can come with running a nonprofit, how does one manage to succeed with a remote team that is either partially or entirely away from one another?
This question was posed by Nikki Hitchcock during City of Light Consulting’s Round Table discussion, held on 5/26/16.
Remote Team Challenges
Some of the challenges posed during this discussion included:
- Coordinating with others when in different time zones
- Effectively reaching and following up with people via email
- Lack of urgency caused by not seeing coworkers in person
- Miscommunication and misunderstanding from not being face-to-face
Building Communication Bridges
How do you build and maintain healthy relationships and a sense of camaraderie among team members that don’t interact face-to-face?
One of the participants during this Round Table, Dick Montgomery from Live Greater Foundation, highlighted the importance of having a personal relationship with each member of the team and finding a healthy balance of maintaining standards of business and interpersonal relationships.
Nikki pointed out the importance of acknowledging personality differences and the value of getting to know and respecting those differences. For instance, she noted, some people with more introverted personality types do better with less interpersonal interactions throughout the workday, while more extroverted personality types thrive on and sometimes need more interpersonal situations to do their best work.
Getting to know the personality types and communication preferences of each member of your team and learning ways to meet those preferences can help strengthen your relationships both individually and collectively.
With remote teams becoming increasingly commonplace, more technologies are being made available to make this kind of work environment as successful as it can be. Some of these include:
- Slack – use as a virtual conference room with chat and document sharing
- Google hangouts and Skype – hold live video meetings
- Google docs for collaborating on written work
- Dropbox for sharing and exchanging files
Many of these technologies are free or have free options and are definitely worth looking into!