Managing remote teams is a challenge for any business, however, it’s a strategy used more often now as skills improve in nations where the cost of living is less. Companies are always seeking ways to gain more market share. What can inhibit growth is the expense of staff so hiring workers that can work remotely from the company’s main operating centers, is a strategy that’s work the effort.
Do you remember when working from home a day or two a week first came in? Initially, there were trust issues, i.e. are workers productive when they work from home? The challenge with allowing staff to ‘hot desk’ and work remotely was how the company could track their productivity.
When staff are in the office, they are visible, however, when they’re working from home before ‘monitoring apps’ they are not visible. Now monitoring is possible the challenge that remains is how to coordinate projects with team members located in different countries, with varying time zones.
In this article, there are a few tips on how to work with distributed teams to deliver what customers require, but for less outlay.
1. Live Meeting
For long-term projects with a fairly young team, try to organize an initial live meeting. Even with today’s technology, there is no better way to build a strong team than spending a few days together. And although at first, it may seem overly expensive, for high-priority projects this will be an investment that will have a high return in the long run.
2. Organize the Workflow
As a team leader or project manager, pay particular attention to the direct organization of team meetings and project management. The topics discussed, role distribution, project plans and documentation are of particular importance when managing a distributed team. It should be noted that for a one-hour telephone conference, it is still necessary to spend several hours on administrative preparation.
3. Time Difference
If you are in the United States, do not expect your project colleagues who are working remotely from another part of the globe to have a conference with you. Unfortunately, there’s not always a perfect time in the international team that would be convenient for everyone. Therefore, you will have to adapt to each other in turn. Again, due to the time difference, you might want to try to ensure that your calls are not longer than one hour.
4. Don’t Forget About Team Building
Spend a lot of time “offline” with individual team members. Make face-to-face meetings with each team member for training, feedback, motivation and building relationships.
5. Stay Connected
Take some formal and informal teamwork after your initial meeting. Acquaintance with someone as a person, and not just as a resource, allows you to build relationships based on trust, cooperation, and loyalty. Thus, it wouldn’t hurt to connect on social media, etc.
6. Cultural Differences
Learn another culture – learn a few phrases, at least how to say and write “hello” and “thank you”. You do not have to fluently speak a foreign language, your colleagues and partners will appreciate the respect you have shown. But it’s worth being careful, some project managers sometimes overdo it and then lose credibility in the eyes of their project teammates.
7. Use Technology, But Use Appropriately
Web conferencing, chats, blogs and video conferencing can be useful and can be used by you to achieve your plan. The only thing is, do not get carried away with these tools, use them appropriately.
8. Use Classic English
Although English is an international language, avoid local dialects, metaphors and anything else that can be confusing. This can be difficult right away – ask your teammates for advice.
9. Provide Information in Advance
Team members in another country may want to translate the material to you send or at least have time to read it in advance. It is very difficult to read and understand non-trivial information in a non-native language.
Technology has made it possible for people to choose where they want to live yet find fulfilling work and careers.
Companies have invested in their staff with diversified teams and business models that keep costs down yet deliver value to clients and stakeholders.
How to Deal with a Workplace Accident Efficiently
No matter how well prepared you and your business are, workplace accidents can occur with no notice.
How prepared is your workplace for the unforeseen accident? The owner of the company is responsible for and has the ultimate liability in a workplace accident. If this scares you, it should, but there are steps you can take to ready your team and places of work to minimize bad outcomes from accidents.
Let’s look at your first responder action when a person is injured in a workplace accident.
Use your first aid training and if you haven’t been through the training, then reach out to someone in your vicinity which has the training. Why do you need to respond as a first aider? Well, there is a step process to minimize danger, get medical assistance and in some situations save lives or prevent further deterioration of injured persons.
A first aider knows the acronym DR(S)ABC is vital in the event of an accident.
- D = Danger. Assess the accident. Is there any imminent danger? If so, you don’t go in but call the emergency services (police, fire, ambulance – paramedics)
- R = Response. If you can get to the injured – first assess their response. Call out and get them to respond. If there is no response…
- S = Seek help. Call the emergency services.
- A = Airways. Make sure nothing is constricting their airways.
- B = Breathing. Check if the injured is breathing – if they are awake and respond, then they are breathing. If not, then you need to find out if they are breathing by listening for breathing noise, watching their chest rise and fall, or feel the breath on your hand.
- C = CPR. Yes, you may need to do CPR to keep the person alive while waiting for the paramedics to arrive.
Summary of Action
The most obvious thing to do after a workplace accident is to ensure that everyone receives the assistance they need straight away.
Do whatever you can to help out yourself, but remember to stay on the safe side of things.
Don’t attempt to do anything that might put someone else at unnecessary risk. Be prepared before an accident with first aid training and ensure that your employees are also up to speed with workplace safety and first aid.
Have Some Important Contacts Handy
It’s also a good idea to have some contacts readily available, so you can assist your employees as best as you can. For example, if your business is in Minnesota, you’ll want your employees with legal experts like the Minnesota’s worker’s compensation law experts at Mottaz & Sisk .
Of course, due to the delicate nature of a situation like this, you should not be surprised if people prefer to go with their own legal representation.
Stay in Touch with Affected Employees
Last but not least, remember to stay in contact with everyone who has been affected by the event. There are exceptions to this – you might be prevented from contacting someone if there is a perceived conflict of interest during an ongoing lawsuit, for example.
However, reach out to your employees and provide them with as much assistance as they need during this time.
Remember that a workplace accident is not only difficult for you, it also brings a lot of stress to those immediately affected by it.
If you do everything right, an incident like this can actually solidify your employees’ trust in you and your business for putting their safety first.
So is your workplace an accident waiting to happen? Get a workplace safety assessment and carry out all recommendations to ensure the fatal accident will never happen on your watch. Ready for some more learning on how to be a great leader? See this article.
How to Design A Top-Rate Business Report
A well-designed business report is likely to trigger curiosity and encourage people to flip through pages or scroll with the mouse.
In business, reports are commonplace and usually not that exciting – so how do we create documents our audience really want to read? Well, you can start by using a report designer tool to choose a template style and then use strategies to present the content of the report, to make it more interesting for your audience.
Report Format and Structure
There are many ways to share data, so you don’t have to use pdf files. Instead, try with other formats like infographics, microsites, live data charts, and anything else you feel will encourage better conversion rates of your content.
Example: Getflywheel has for some time used a microsite to share their annual report.
Using HTML and frontend software, the presentation of boring numbers is turned around with interesting graphics and charts using animation.
After deciding on your report format, e.g. microsite or infographic, give priority to the structure of your report. It’s the structure that ensures the logical flow of content your audience will appreciate.
Follow the standard index of content:
- an overview or background
- principle points
Now we’re up to how you can present your content. Your report can include storytelling, infographics and pictograms, videos and graphs to ensure the content is easy to comprehend and memorable for your audience.
Use the power of storytelling
We all love stories, and storytelling presents data and content in a more exciting way.
In business, it’s vital to keep your audience interested and engaged with the message. HubSpot sums it up well in their post and say telling a story is like painting a picture but with words.
You can use your audience’s knowledge to inject analogies and local knowledge of culture, the environment and communities to get the message across.
Pro-tip: According to research, storytelling has a positive influence on the recall of information of readers.
When you’re creating a digital report, interactivity is the key to success. Readers are likely to turn to reports with audios, embedded videos, and prompt animations.
Interactive and animated charts and graphs draw the reader’s focus and lead their eyes to a specific point on the chart, thereby delivering your message.
Apart from keeping readers engaged for a long duration, it encourages them to share and return to your report. Furthermore, interactive reports are a great way to entice short readers looking for insights. These animated graphs could help them search for information.
Therefore using visuals also helps to break up hard to digest data and words.
If your report is number intensive, data visualization could add value. Use charts, pictograms, and charts to showcase your numbers. Use blurbs to highlight critical points.
All these elements work collectively to tell a story and make your report stand out. Therefore, start with a simple idea, slowly build upon your idea and finally reach a logical conclusion to your report.
A great example of an interactive chart is when a chart legend appears as your reader hover over the graph’s bar or line.
Pro-tip: Use interactive charts to reveal trends and patterns over time. It helps stakeholders see untapped data which they can use for their business benefit.
Example: Notice how Noord used annual report infographics to showcase a visual story that was engaging, compelling, and impactful. The company effortlessly uses characters in a creative and hand-drawn style. Apart from storytelling, their report displays excellent copywriting skills, which ties story elements perfectly with the subject.
While you may be using animations, embedded videos, infographics, and data points in your report to make it digestible, try keeping your report focused on sharing the content and data pertinent to the report.
For example, when creating a visual investor business report, there is no point in mentioning sales, revenue from upsell or cross-sell, and the cost breakdown of marketing and sales.
Why? As you’re creating a report for business funding, KPIs such as debt-to-equity ratio, share price, work capital ratio, etc., matters.
To include everything you deem necessary, you end up creating ocean-boiling reports. These are one of the most dreaded reports because it’s incredibly tedious to search for information in such reports.
Therefore, it’s best to start by identifying the reason for designing a report and outline all questions it will answer.
Build your report to answer those questions. Never include graphics, text, or data for the sake of it. Irrespective of how beautiful your graph looks with a data point, remove data points if they are not required. Remember that at times less is better because it helps you remain focused.
Pro-tip: Never create a one-size-fits-all report. Different scenarios require different types of reports. For example, one report may be for your CMO, while the other may be for potential investors.
Often, after completing a business report, you may feel that your report is not delivering any helpful information. It’s not adding any value. That’s okay. You probably need to revisit the goals of your report to understand what you are missing.
To add value to your report, have a meeting with team members to understand which checkpoints you should remove.
Furthermore, recheck the time frame of your report if it’s not adding any value. For example, you may have created a sales report 15 days back, and due to worldwide lockdown or other circumstances, the sales numbers remain unchanged.
Creating another sales report would not provide any valuable insight to your readers. So, check whether you’re pulling your business report at the correct time.
Revisiting doesn’t mean proofreading your report for errors. It is more about making your business report present insightful information instead of just sharing information.
Pro-tip: When revisiting your report, ensure to keep the data points, facts, and figures fresh and up-to-date.
Before a reader dives into the content, it’s the colors, borders, and page size that give them an overall sense of your report’s quality and theme.
Therefore, after deciding on the layout, you need to give importance to your business report’s overall aesthetic appearance. Filling an entire page with information and visuals makes your report look cluttered.
So, give a good amount of space around the edges and ensure you use proper margins. For business reports, the most common margin is one-inch margins all around.
Adding margins makes your report feel minimalistic and clean. Having content too close to your design’s edge makes your report look unprofessional and fails to deliver the intended message.
Example: Notice how Carlberg uses margins to increase the report’s readability.
Pro-tip: Pay attention to the white spaces as it primarily affects readability. Both spacing and margins are essential secrets that differentiate a killer business report from a mediocre one.
The adage says, you get only one chance to create a first impression, rings true when it comes to your business reports. That’s why brands are doing more with their business reports to impress and improve their readability.
Does Your Business Need Knowledge Management Software?
Regardless of the business size or the type of organization run, there will always be a need for creating, storing and sharing information. Knowledge management is a set of processes that can help create and distribute said knowledge to utilize its potential to the fullest.
So the question we will answer in this article is: does your business need knowledge management software?
Importance Of Growing Your Business
It would help if you always were looking at ways in which you can grow your business. It can help you to cultivate a strong company culture as a result. The better informed your staff are, the more successful their work becomes.
Knowledge is valuable for everyone, yet one of the biggest challenges that businesses face is communication. Growing your business is made difficult when there isn’t effective communication within the company. There’s often a lot of down-time that results in fix errors in communication or clarifying issues that could have easily prevented.
How Does Knowledge Management Work?
It’s firstly important to know how knowledge management works. It’s something that varies from business to business. So what your knowledge management entails might not be the same for another company.
The information you have as a business needs to be organized, and that’s where knowledge management comes in. This system will likely have various tools that you can choose from to help with the customization of your knowledge database.
You want to make your knowledge more accessible ultimately, and with these management systems, you’re able to do precisely that.
A knowledge management system will consist of an internal process that helps capture company knowledge. The information is reviewed, and then technology in the form of software helps support all this. You may already have somewhat of a knowledge management system in place.
For example, if you use cloud storage or a shared drive to save documents instead of saving them on your desktops, then this is knowledge management in action. There is some excellent internal knowledge base software worth learning more about before deciding which one is for you.
The Benefits Of Knowledge Management Software
With knowledge management software, the process of setting it all up is something that will take time. However, the benefits of having a system in place can make it all worthwhile.
As your organization matures, it’s essential to have this knowledge management to support and enhance your daily operations. One of the significant benefits is that it can help gather the power from your company to grow the business.
You can give your employees more knowledge sharing structures that can help them do their job more efficiently. There’s quicker problem-solving and faster decision making that comes with having this system in place.
It can help make your employee’s work more exciting and engaging, which is ultimately what you want to better yourself from the competition. With more knowledgeable and productive employees, it makes for improved work processes in general.
To continue innovating your business and supporting employee growth, having this knowledge management software will be more beneficial to have in place than not have it at all.
What are the steps to implement knowledge management software into business?
If you’re implementing knowledge management software for the first time, it’s essential to know the steps in which to do so effectively.
Firstly, you want to consider the problems you have and to define them in more detail.
At this point, you’ll then focus on the part of your organization that can help brainstorm these problems to create solutions. It might be those interested in such a project, or you feel you are capable of doing so.
When you’ve gathered these individuals together, you then have your initial network. You’ll then want to actively involve everyone else, perhaps giving this initiative its own name so that it gets people interested.
Capturing ideas is an essential part of the process, and this might involve suggestion boxes or providing a simple Google Form questionnaire for people to fill in and give feedback.
Implement these and be sure to reward those who contributed to changing those problems into solutions. It’s then time to share that knowledge and ensure that every employee knows what’s available and how to access it.
Sharing The Knowledge With Your Customers
It could also be something that you make available to your customers if you feel it’s relevant.
There are times when you have potential leads come onto your site and perhaps have questions stopping them from making a purchase or moving down the sales funnel.
Your customer service agents will likely have those common questions asked to them multiple times per day. If that’s the case, then offering this knowledge base to your customers will reduce the number of queries being directed at the agent.
It means your agent can prioritize more complex queries, and those potential customers can navigate further down the sales funnel, hopefully, to make a sale.
Your business can undoubtedly benefit from knowledge management software, especially when communication seems to be a problem for many companies nowadays.
Things become more challenging to manage as your organization grows in size, and when it comes to training employees, sometimes, there can be information that gets missed.
Having this one centralized database of information can help to educate both existing employees and any new ones that come into the organization. It can save time, cut down costs, and aid that your business will benefit from when it comes to growing it over time.
Again, a knowledge base takes time to build, and there may always be something that you’re adding to it.
However, it’s better than leaving it unorganized and having your organization as a whole feeling unprepared and lacking the knowledge they need to improve your company.
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