How to encourage teamwork without a base to call your own

When business ventures are in there infancy, in the tender start-up stage or even just especially small, you may not have access to the financial means nor demand to justify the climbing costs of an office or dedicated workspace. While this is great for money-saving and cost-cutting, not having a base to call your own can be detrimental to teamwork amongst your staff so it’s crucial to have some strategies in place to avoid fragmentation.

Rent and business rates can be a heavy financial burden that micro enterprises and start-ups just can’t afford to bear so many small business owners choose to go without an external working space. The decline of the 9-5 lifestyle is also a contributing factor that leads aspiring entrepreneurs to ditch the commitments of an office, as more and more employees take advantage of flexible working policies to fit around increasingly varied lifestyles.

Long gone are the days when a workforce filed into the workplace for a set number of hours, nervously nodding to the big boss who sat in their own capsule of superiority. Working arrangements are becoming more fluid by the day with the concept of remote working fast becoming the norm. However, you need to ensure that there are processes in place that will maintain and encourage good old fashioned teamwork because without it, your business will suffer.

Here’s our top three ways you can ensure your team is tight-knit and working to its full potential even when operating from different locations.

Use technology to its full advantage – The saving grace for teamwork in a modern landscape full of late starts, early finishes and flexitime is technology. Ah, technology, where would we be without it? In different parts of the city with no employee-to-employee communication, that’s where. Luckily we can avoid that sorry state of affairs by taking full advantage of the many means of communication that is afforded to us by the magic of technological advancement.

Video calls, phone calls, email, live chat, instant messaging, FaceTime, conference calls… We could go on but you get the drift – there are plenty of ways to stay in touch with your colleagues no matter where in the world you are. Allocate different mediums to different tasks to really get the most out of your workforce. For example, if you want to discuss some visual brand ideas with the group, Skype is perfect as you can include multiple members of staff and show them via video. Alternatively, if you want to brief an individual employee, make a quick phone call then chase it up with an explanatory email.

Make time for weekly coffee catch ups – Even when you’re spending most of the week working remotely and to your own time schedules, it’s paramount that you still allocate dedicated time for face-to-face meetings. You can use this as a chance for each member of your workforce to discuss what they have been doing and what their plans for the week ahead are so everybody knows what’s what. Encourage each member of staff to bring along a short informal presentation to demonstrate where they’re at and how this impacts other members of the team. Most coffee shops offer free Wi-Fi these days so get the skinny lattes in once a week and you’ll be sure to notice a positive change in team dynamics.

These catch ups don’t always have to be super serious either. As well as grouping for weekly face-to-face business-related meetings, be sure to encourage regular social gatherings amongst your workforce too. Even if it’s just once a month, arrange a group dinner or drinks as it will help make up for the office chats and day-to-day relationship building that is lacking in the absence of a shared workspace.

Physical communication is vital for creating the bonds, trust and understanding that all employees need in order to work together efficiently.

Include staff in the decision-making process – When working from a shared workspace, employees are naturally included in the decision-making process, especially when it comes to the intimacy of a small business. However, this can become compromised when you aren’t all working under the same roof so it’s essential that as the business owner, you make a conscious effort to ensure each team member feels appreciated.

Make it your priority when making any big business decisions to call a face-to-face meeting to explain what’s going on and invite your employees to contribute their opinions. Maybe you’re making branding decisions, recruiting new staff or have won a brand new client. Including your workforce in the process will ensure that they feel part of a fully functional team. Another great way to achieve this is by taking relevant staff members along to meetings and networking events. Doing these things alone will cultivate a feeling of segregation that will be detrimental to the efficiency and overall success of the business.

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