Imagine a ship sails into a group of islands to start a great business. The ship drops a few team members off at one island where they will set up a home office. Next, the ship drops a few more at another island where they will harvest coconuts. The ship drops more people off at a third island to manufacture coconut hair treatment. Finally, the ship stops at a small island where the last group will package the hair treatment and send it to stores around the globe.
Unfortunately there is deep water between each of these islands. How can the CEO make sure that the team members on each island feel they work for one company? Multiple office locations can require creative problem solving. If your company has several offices, the following tips can help you to connect and maximize each office.
1. Check In With Each Office Regularly
Each office, just like each island, needs to know that boss cares about his or her team members, and about the work that is being accomplished. Regular engagements such as get-to-know-you sessions and check-ins convey to team members that you value their work and their individual experience with the company. This helps team members to recognize that they play a role in the company, and can also provide you with helpful feedback.
2. Work Together Outside of Work
Teaming together on work projects fosters different connections than with social, service, or recreational projects. It’s important to build human connections among your team members in various different contexts. Having a company party, creating an interoffice competition or donating time and money to a charity together can diversify connections and strengthen relationships. Connecting your office locations through human caring and compassion, in addition to work ethic and values, can increase productivity.
3. Stay Connected
A quality business communications system equips your company with a phone system, instant messaging, email, and video conferencing. With it your offices can keep in contact 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Add in mobility, and telecommuting team members are as connected as those at the home office.
4. Embrace New Technology
If connections between offices get strained, adding technology can reduce communication or productivity concerns. For example, a cloud-based project management application could streamline operations for multiple projects across multiple locations.
5. Embrace Your Leadership
It is easier to run an office when you embrace your leadership. You can enforce specific roles and clear responsibilities while still affording your team members the autonomy they need. In fact, employees often thrive when there is more structure around their roles. There should also be a clear line of authority so that questions and concerns can be properly directed and resolved.
Multiple offices, whether locally or globally distributed, can be tricky to manage. What the boss does not see can slip through the cracks. Prevent this and strengthen your company by choosing a quality communication systems you can rely on.