How to Empower Cross Functional Working With the Remote Team

May 28, 2020 By

As years have gone by, organizational hierarchies have been the frequent subject of close study. The traditional approach was a division of labor based on the skills required for particular roles and organized by teams and departments. Today, however, more businesses are relying on cross-functional teams made up of skilled resources from different teams for specific projects that require a diverse body of knowledge.

The practice has facilitated a work culture where agility and cohesion flourish. Coworkers get to know each other better when they contribute their share of expertise in order to achieve organizational goals.  Having said that, there’s another unprecedented situation of how teams work, thanks to the lockdown brought on by the current pandemic. With the exception of essential workers and industries, the rest of the globe is working remotely which complicates cross-functionality.

It is during these challenging times that enterprises especially need to empower teams by equipping them with the knowledge of cross-functional working methods. By doing so, your organization will be in a stronger position in uncertain economic times. Here are some tips to help you recognize where your remote team could use the leg up; 

#1.Adapt to Modern Technologies and Tools

The pandemic has left all of us in our burrows, less aware of what is happening in the outside world. Our working methods have suddenly changed from sharing a workspace to functioning remotely, disengaging us from our work colleagues This increases the demand for a remote network connected to a server which helps your staff work on a virtual platform mimicking the one they used in the office. 

When the home becomes the office, there’s a greater need to keep employees visible. When employees work remotely, you’ll notice the difference in their reachability. A modern resource management software plugged into the collaborative platform you use keeps both workers and the work that they’re on traceable. It lets you see how scheduled projects are faring, and if there are changes to the workload in terms of availability and utilization of the existing workforce capacity. You can accommodate these against the shifts in demand (i.e. a new incoming priority) and keep the employees’ productivity at the optimum level.

#2.Boost Cross-work Collaboration by Improving Communication

You and your team members are working from distant places, meaning that you have fewer opportunities to greet each other, share personal stories, have formal communication with the team, and develop an emotional bond. These factors affect work collaboration adversely. It’s hardly unsurprising then, that more than ½ of remote workers report battling loneliness and a feeling of disconnect when teleworking. 

The work culture and success of a remote cross-functional team explicitly depends upon a strong communication channel and transparency, which can be maintained digitally over regular messaging and video conferencing applications.  Organizing group calls for virtual meals, or 1:1s can help you recreate the office environment. Not only will you observe increased productivity and engagement but you will also see your team bond better! 

#3.Establish Task Responsibilities during Assignment

Cross-functional working can include several members from different departments of the organization. It is a literal case of too many cooks preparing the broth where you will have competing priorities and conflicting differences to deal with. Allocating resources by task and skills-specificity makes accountability. assign the task responsibilities right at the time of allocating the resource to it. Establishing responsibilities firmly will clarify the nature of the task as well as improve transparency with the task ownership. 

Work assignments and responsibilities for the agile teams deployed on a cross-functional project will become dynamic and frequently change during execution, which is when keeping a track of members responsible for different tasks gets even more crucial. Therefore, maintain a practice of assigning task ownership so that the follow up becomes effortless and useful for you.

#4.Set Milestones against Organizational Objectives

Everyone on the team will bring their best to the table, but without setting firm milestones they wouldn’t realize if they have moved closer to the desired goal as per the schedule or have lagged behind! The practice of setting milestones can be complemented with agile principles i.e. by iteratively considering the project parameters before defining the milestones. The agile approach is a clear-cut one that prevents scope creep and enables cross-functional remote teams to stick to the deliverables listed. 

You can begin to set milestones using the SMART methodology i.e. Smart, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Bound. Ask critical questions justifying each of the five components of the SMART methodology which as a result will produce a clarity required to set the milestones. In fact, your team members will experience an increase in work satisfaction by achieving the strategically decided milestones.

#5.Recognize and Encourage Proactive Involvement of members

Cross-functional working can get the best out of every member involved in the team with the help of effective communication and proactive participation. Therefore, initiatives can be implemented to encourage and nurture these positive behaviors.

Reward and recognition through performance-based appraisals can boost employee motivation. You can also arrange regular discussions to address challenges and new opportunities. Entrust the responsibility of creating a plan of action to your team members to make them accountable and more engaged with the ongoings of the business. This lets them feel valued which ultimately uplifts their morale.   

Making cross-functional teams self-sufficient can be challenging when you first embark on setting one up, but it ultimately makes delegation more efficient. Instead of doing everything yourself, you’re making teams answerable to the work entrusted to them, which lets them demonstrate their efficiency.

Over to you

The capricious work environment brought about by the outbreak of Covid-19 has been difficult for employers and employees alike. The economy has been in a freefall leading to belt-tightening measures at the cost of quality potential walking out the door. 

However, retaining a cross-functional team that is equipped to work remotely is the key to nosing out those projects with hidden profitability. They can not only manage the workload better but can transition to new ways of working without interruptions to work in progress

Saviom workforce management tool is developed to overcome challenges of forming and managing a cross-functional remote team. You can easily hand-pick competent resources with enterprise visibility and improve task engagement with effective collaboration. Ultimately, you can win by keeping a record of all the resources on a collaborative platform with shared goals and seamless knowledge transfers. Start mitigating the challenges faced by your cross-functional remote teams immediately with Saviom’s workforce management tool assistance and eliminate all the problems in the long run!

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Siddhant Patel

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#1.Adapt to Modern Technologies and Tools

#2.Boost Cross-work Collaboration by Improving Communication

#3.Establish Task Responsibilities during Assignment

#4.Set Milestones against Organizational Objectives

#5.Recognize and Encourage Proactive Involvement of members

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