As cliché as it may sound, remote work is here to stay.
Yet, many remote teams are still finding it difficult to achieve seamless collaboration that allows them to reach the same results as though they were in the same office.
Sure, collaboration in the workplace can suffer when teams miss out on the benefits of face-to-face interactions – especially in the case of asynchronous collaboration tools.
For example, how many times have you sent a message in Slack and felt concerned about how it would land?
Or, are you worried that your team members in different time zones might consider your emails as an intrusion on their private time?
While we all have become familiar with virtual interaction, it can often cause misunderstandings which, in turn, can cause team members to become more static and siloed.
To perform at peak efficiency, remote teams have to find new and better ways to collaborate.
Below, we’ve compiled a list of 6 key strategies that will help you make remote collaboration work for your small business.
Table of contents:
- Invest in collaboration tools
- Build and cultivate trust
- Create communication guidelines
- Create space for team bonding
- Get the team together as much as possible
1. Invest in Collaboration Tools
Collaboration is, at its core, about working effectively in a team.
But building collaborative teams doesn’t always go as smoothly as expected.
Sometimes teams lack a compelling, shared vision or responsibilities are unclear, which leads to confusion and roadblocks.
That’s why having the right collaboration tools is paramount to success.
Team collaboration tools are available everywhere, and there are many options for you to choose from.
As a general rule, you should look for collaboration software with these three main features:
- Communication – All-in-one apps like Avaya Cloud Office let you streamline the way your business communicates, allowing team members to call, chat, meet, and collaborate on any device.
- Conferencing – After seeing a 500% increase in demand due to the pandemic’s onset, video conferencing tools that allow for face-to-face interactions have become the norm for professional meetings.
- Coordination – Thanks to coordination tools, businesses have the ability to manage complex tasks with a common goal, coordinate teams across projects, and centralise data.
The major difference between face-to-face collaboration and online collaboration lies in how your team communicates.
Remote communication can get muddled and misunderstood, that’s why it’s important to focus on concise, thoughtful and clear communication that includes relevant information.
Do note that over-communicating does not mean providing redundant information or bombarding team members with information from all angles, every single day.
Instead, over-communicating means communicating the same message more than once to make sure that everyone on your team is on the same page.
Be sure to take special consideration into how you structure instructions and communicate ideas with a special focus on brevity and clarity.
3. Build and Cultivate Trust
Trust is at the root of every challenge associated with remote work.
We know that zero trust will impact all team members in multiple ways and even make the work environment sick and dysfunctional.
On the other hand, when employees trust their employers, they are much more likely to collaborate and work towards achieving the same business goals.
A Harvard study revealed that employees of high-trust companies reported 50% higher productivity and 76% more engagement.
While there are many strategies to build trust in remote teams, perhaps the best way to earn your employees’ trust and foster collaboration is to avoid micromanagement.
Instead of closely monitoring what team members are doing and when they are working, encourage everyone to communicate regularly so that everyone can stay updated on projects and upcoming events.
4. Create Communication Guidelines
Your team members need to have clear communication guidelines that dictate how to share work-related information.
This includes clearly defined protocols for using different communication platforms, what are the core work hours when contacting other team members is allowed, and what is deemed to be acceptable and unacceptable behaviour.
While some team members may answer emails outside of regular working hours, it’s important to set clear boundaries and encourage everyone to respect their peers’ time off.
Ideally, you should create a list of your communication channels and identify uses and expectations for each of them.
For example, when a Slack message comes in, do your team members need to answer it right away or is it ok to wait until tomorrow?
Do they have to respond within the hour to all emails?
Share and discuss your communication guidelines with your team and review your list on a regular basis to ensure everything still lines up.
5. Create Space for Team Bonding
For effective collaboration, it’s crucial to bring your remote team together and create bonds with teammates through various communication platforms.
This helps minimise the negative impact of remote working such as stress and Zoom fatigue while also creating a culture of collaboration.
Consider introducing virtual team-building activities to promote team bonding and break down barriers and siloes.
From scheduling virtual water-cooler discussions to conducting daily stand-ups and regular check-ins, there are many ways you can build a stable remote workforce.
Even if you manage resources from different time zones with just a 1-2 hour overlap, virtual team-building activities will bring some trust and collaboration to your team.
6. Get the Team Together as Much as Possible
Despite the numerous benefits of remote working, face-to-face communication remains the most complete form of interaction two people can have.
Sure, there are many ways you can make virtual meetings more engaging and productive.
However, especially before project kick-off, it would be best to get your team members together and help them bond with their teammates.
That’s because human connections are vital for boosting motivation and promoting team collaboration.
Virtual offices are one way that remote teams can come together and create stronger relationships.
If you run your business with a virtual office, you can bring remote workers in from time to time to provide them with the opportunity to engage more fluidly with one another.
However, if you work with distributed teams and can’t meet in person, no sweat: focus on more team-building games and activities to foster camaraderie and communication.
Conclusion: Strategies for promoting team collaboration have sky-rocketed since the pandemic outbreak.
Businesses worldwide were faced with a new challenge: How to make remote working work?
For many, collaboration is key to building and leading high-performing remote teams.
Whether you’ve embraced a hybrid or fully remote work model, it’s important to foster team collaboration and ensure everyone works towards the same goals.
Follow these 6 tips to make sure your communication strategy reflects the demands of our digitally-driven age and employees stay collaborative while working from home.
Are you running a fully remote business? There are many reasons why virtual office space can have a positive influence on employees’ attitudes, resulting in increased team collaboration and productivity. From building a professional image (which is key to earning your employees’ trust) to providing space for in-person collaboration, a virtual office has everything you need to run a successful remote business. For more information, head over to https://b2bhq.com.au.