Delivering successful projects with a remote workforce
Article by Intergen practice manager for modern work and digital (Northern), Kyle Muir.
The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to the remote or hybrid workforce, with people working from home either full-time or part-time in response to lockdowns and restrictions.
Remote working wasn’t always a consideration in the past for organisations that collaborate closely with clients and deliver business-critical services, such as partners. However, when remote working became the only way these businesses could continue operating during lockdowns, partners needed to find a way to maintain effectiveness and productivity.
The key to working successfully with clients remotely is to maintain constant and consistent contact.
Savvy enterprises aren’t just looking for a project manager; they need an ongoing partner to provide insight and expertise on various matters. This kind of consultancy and advice can help businesses position themselves for growth more effectively.
By augmenting the client’s existing skillset and delivering subject matter expertise and consultancy, partners can help achieve the client’s desired outcomes.
In the COVID-19 era, with lockdowns and travel restrictions, it can be difficult for partners to work with their clients face-to-face all the time. This makes it essential to ensure remote work is baked into projects from the start.
This way, projects can remain on track even when lockdowns occur across New Zealand and Australia. The team must be able to work remotely, call on talent to contribute in key areas, and hit tight project deadlines while delivering everything that is required.
Intergen has identified five keys to managing remote teams for success as a partner:
- Create an expectation around remote work from the beginning, then deliver accordingly.
- Ensure the team is properly resourced with the required tools and know-how to deliver key outcomes remotely.
- Leverage the geographic freedom provided by remote working to secure the right talent for the project regardless of location.
- Create and reinforce a one-team culture where both teams feel like they’re working for the same organisation, towards the same goals.
- Get to know the enterprise’s business in-depth to help drive conversations with third-party vendors and deliver trusted advice and counsel.
A successful partnership is always based on mutual trust and on delivering what is promised. That doesn’t change whether the engagement is in-person or remote. While the pandemic has created a new way of working, it’s still underpinned by general principles of good business.
The ability to work remotely without affecting the quality or timing of delivery may require different tools such as video conferencing and online collaboration capabilities. However, if the partner doesn’t take the time to deeply understand the organisation’s business model and unique requirements, or if it doesn’t have the expertise and methodologies to fulfil its goals, then the engagement won’t work.
This way of working will become entrenched in the future as businesses look to limit the number of people in their physical offices. While there is still very much a place for face-to-face contact, organisations need to understand that partners can deliver projects seamlessly and effectively from anywhere in the world.
However, doing so requires a unique mix of understanding and commitment from the partner. With that in place, physical proximity no longer needs to limit the kind of support enterprises can receive from partners.