The digital age (with its nearly ubiquitous internet connection) is opening up the opportunities of remote working for more and more people. Collaboration tools like Slack, Google Drive and DropBox are making it easier and easier to work together without being together. The advantages remote working offers to both individuals and organisations are numerous. And we should know: the Rhizome Live team is spread across the UK.

Team members can work flexibly, making it much easier to balance work with life. That can mean being able to pick up the children from school, or just being home when the plumber comes to service the boiler. Staff can dramatically cut the time and expense of the dreaded commute by working in a local shared space, or they can eradicate it entirely by working from home. The result? A happier, wealthier workforce.

Remote working has benefits for businesses too. With fewer workers to accommodate, office costs are reduced. Local workspaces and home working allowances are much cheaper than running a fully-fledged headquarters with its accompanying overheads. A focus on people not place means the pool of potential candidates widens hugely. And the varied hours they will work mean the business is able to operate for longer, especially useful if you have clients in different time zones. And that happier, wealthier workforce is more productive too.

This all sounds great.

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Yes, the benefits of remote working are undeniable. But there are problems too.

What are they?

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How do you build a team from your workforce if they rarely or never meet in person? And how do can you train them in a way that encourages them to learn and develop together?

Ah, I see. So what can I do to get my remote team to grow together?

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The answer, luckily, is simple. Make sure that your team is training together in a networked way. Rather than relying on isolating, click-through, e-learning, get your team interacting. After all, this is exactly what they do everyday with the help of collaboration tools. Why should the training be any different?

Admittedly, getting all of your team online at the same time can be tricky, especially if they are split across time zones and have family commitments. But this is an important commitment too. Get it in the diary early, and give your team time to make space for it.

By training together, discussing problems and solutions, and sharing knowledge and experience, your team are not just learning. They are strengthening their network. They are getting to know each other better. They are improving individually and collectively. Learning together doesn’t just result in better training, but better team dynamics too.

Collaborative training brings a remote team together.

Lizzie Evans - Learning Consultant, Rhizome Live

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