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Google’s Research into Remote Work
Google is a company that is well known for its remote work and having locations all over the world.
In order to make their remote teams more successful, Google’s People Innovation Lab (PiLab) conducted research based on data of 5000+ employees.
The study measured well-being, performance, and connectedness.
The good news is, that the research showed no difference in the performance of distributed teams compared to their co-located colleagues.
However, remote employees did report that it can be hard establishing connections with their colleagues.
Veronica Gilrane, manager of Google’s People Innovation Lab, consolidated the findings and came up with these top three recommendations for remote teams:
1. Get to know each other as people
Google recommends allowing time at the beginning of a virtual meeting for some non-work related talk.
This way you build connections and establish rapport with each other.
Managers should lead by example and show they are putting extra effort into building connections and creating a sense of belongingness. This will positively impact the team.
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2. Set clear boundaries
Working together from different timezones brings about its own challenges.
Veronica about her colleagues at Google states:
“Teammates in Asia often have to get up earlier than usual to join video chats and we try not to ask our East Coast colleagues to stay too far into their evening for meetings with the teams in Mountain View, California. “
Have remote team members indicate their preferred working hours and when they would like to take meetings.
This gives enables them to set boundaries so that they can connect and disconnect when they like.
Do you have international team meetings? In that case, Google's suggestion is to rotate your meeting schedule to accommodate the needs of everyone.
3. Create in-person and virtual connections within your remote team
Create opportunities for remote team members to see each other and for managers to regularly travel to have in-person meetings with their direct reports.
Set guidelines and budgets for team members to travel and visit each other in real life.
Have regular video meetings. And when you are on a call, show each other that you hear what the other one is saying.
This research shows again that it is important to put in effort into building personal connections. As a result, your remote team will be as effective or even more effective than co-located teams.
P.S. Do you want more tips on how to build relationships in your remote team? Get your free guide here.