4 ways remote teams can increase their efficiency and output

We always hear about how team leaders can create more efficient teams, but there are some things team members can do themselves to contribute.

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Image: elenabs, Getty Images/iStockphoto

It's every leader's dream to have a cohesive team that's focused on increasing efficiency and output. But being efficient isn't just up to team leaders: It's also up to each member of the team. Here are four things project teams can do to increase efficiency, produce higher quality products, and successfully meet project deliverables. 

SEE: IT pro's roadmap to working remotely (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Develop a stronger sense of "we"

Each team should have its own vision and set of established values that guide its interactions. To meet that vision and those values, the first thing each team member needs to do is recognize that they are part of the team. This can be a difficult concept, especially depending on your personality type, motivations, and experiences. Team efficiency depends on a team working well together at all times. This means focusing on team performance rather than individual performance, while also recognizing your individual contributions and the impact on the rest of the team. 

Learn to self-govern

Self-governing as a team depends on how well team members keep each other and themselves motivated without relying on the project manager or other leaders in the company for guidance. Motivation isn't the only goal, however. Interactions, best practices, and behaviors, among other things, are also part of a self-governing team. Each team member should be able to keep themselves in check, and the team as a whole should also establish how it should work together without individual bias or destructive behavior impeding performance. This could be accomplished through consensus or another form of agreement.

SEE: The tech pro's guide to video conferencing (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Own your work

For your team to work well together, each team member needs to have a well-developed sense of accountability. This is not only in your work quality, schedule, and deliverables, but also your behavior and interactions with the rest of the team. A lack of accountability can become highly destructive and create resentment among team members. If each member holds him- or herself accountable, it removes the need for the rest of the team to do so as a whole. Owning your work often helps you and your team become more productive and produce higher quality work.

SEE: How to create work-life balance for your teams, and why you should (TechRepublic)

Become more innovative

Choosing to become innovative instead of just following the status quo helps each team member and the team as a whole by challenging everyone to come up with best practices and new ways to improve a product or process. In doing so, the team's performance and deliverables are improved. This develops a sense of pride and accomplishment that drives future performance. This sense of accomplishment helps your team continually seek additional improvements and strengthens the team's connection. 

When team members recognize they are part of a team, self-govern, and choose to be innovative and accountable, it facilitates efficiency and greater output. 

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By Moira Alexander

Moira Alexander is the Founder of PMWorld 360 Magazine and Lead-Her-Ship Group, and a project management and digital workplace columnist for various publications. Moira has 20+ years in business (IS&T) and project management for small to large busine...