How to improve collaboration when working remotely

Dan Martin

Editor

 


Collaboration is often crucial for a business’s success, especially if its employees are working remotely. For one, it builds trust between workers and upper management, reducing general stress levels within your team.

Secondly, it helps in generating innovative ideas that can help grow your business. By bringing together team members from diverse backgrounds, you can encourage more fresh perspectives that can help deal with future roadblocks.

Also, it encourages employees to remain loyal to you, as they’re likely to find work more fulfilling. Lastly, collaboration can boost your company’s bottom line by creating a culture where customers are more satisfied, and there’s productive competition between workers.

For these reasons, you should always aim to foster workplace collaboration, even if your staffers are no longer in an office setting. Here are a few tips that can help you improve teamwork in your business.

working remotely

How to improve collaboration when working remotely. Source: pexels.com

1. Make use of written communication

Even though it may seem like a disadvantage at first, lacking physical contact can benefit some employees. Not all staff members enjoy the group meetings common in almost all offices. In fact, according to recent research, introverts feel less inhibited with online interactions compared to offline ones.

Members who don’t like attracting attention may find text-based medium easier to express their ideas through. Such communication puts less emphasis on interpersonal social skills, allowing less-talkative staffers to share their ideas and decisions without the fear of ridicule.

2. Use time management apps

When working remotely, you sometimes feel like you’re not making the most of your workday. Time flies when you’re seated behind your computer, trying to maintain focus on your office tasks. Luckily, there are a few time management apps that can help you track how you spend your time, so you can become more productive.

Systems like Asana, Trello, and Timecamp provide a central hub for your remote team to manage their responsibilities. They let your staffers monitor the progress of the work they’re doing, improving their overall organization and helping them get more work done. In the end, they’ll produce higher-quality work.

The biggest benefit to time management software is that they promote centralization, the most important feature when promoting teamwork in a virtual workspace.

3. Encourage video chat

Encourage video chat. Source: pexels.com

Arguably the most effective form of communication in virtual offices, video chat can strengthen work relationships and enable your employers to feel much closer to each other, compared to traditional mediums like text and emails. They let you communicate using body language so that your employees can understand you better and your discussions can be more effective.

Additionally, they allow you to bring in visual media that helps captivate other team members during meetings. For instance, you can create a presentation that can make your message clearer. When you don’t have enough time to make slides, you can download some Google Slides templates. Try to create attractive slides that can help you retain your employees’ attention throughout the virtual meeting.

You can plan some fun live-video conferences that promote team bonding. Activities like virtual dinners, home tours, and team workouts can help your workers feel less isolated and more in touch with their teammates.

4. Create clear team schedules

Organizing your team members can be challenging when they’re working from home, as you can’t easily determine their availability. Even though offering flexible schedules can seem tempting if you want to boost worker satisfaction, it isn’t always possible — especially with teams swamped with work.

To streamline the workplace activities, you have to create well-defined schedules. That said, this doesn’t mean you have to compel members to work a specific number of hours a day. Rather, try to come up with several schedules that may be a good fit for them. Consult with them and identify the most suitable one. From then on, you can adhere to the new schedule.

A few things you need to consider before coming up with the schedule include:

  • Your employees’ varying time zones.
  • The exact point these time zones overlap.
  • The non-working hours your team members may be available
  • An ideal response time that your employees can agree to.
  • Armed with this information, you can devise several weekly and daily schedules. In these schedules, make sure that all relevant workers are available for team discussions.

5. Encourage communication

Encourage communication. Source: pexels.com

To nurture a collaborative team culture, ensure there’s constant communication between you and workers. By clearly communicating the company’s objectives, you can encourage team members to work together to achieve a common goal. Also, by stating what management expects of them, you can ensure every member remains on track.

On top of that, there’s a case to be made that streamlined communication helps improve productivity. If you encourage your employees to be transparent, you can make sure that you’re always informed if any issues arise. Team members faced with problems can let you know early enough, and you can reassign their tasks to avoid lengthy delays.

A principle in your company should be that members can’t postpone communication for later. Anything that needs to be said should be said immediately. All tasks should be well-documented to avoid future mix-ups.

If anyone has questions they need to ask them as soon as possible. You can advise them to send their questions on chat. Other staff members should reply to queries immediately when they see them. Zoom and Trello can be suitable apps for instant communication.

6. Support each other

Encourage your team members to be a source of strength for each other. A company that doesn’t value support and compassion may find it difficult to thrive. These are values that should form the backbone of a business, flowing from its executives all the way down to its workers.

When working from home, most employees may not feel the appreciation they’d have felt in an office environment. They may lose work morale, thinking their colleagues are ignoring them. Reaching out to such team members should be everyone’s responsibility to foster a supportive work culture.

Conclusion

It’s easy for teamwork to take a nose-dive when everyone’s working from their own locations. To ensure your team remains united and undivided, you need to take some crucial team-building steps. The tips we’ve mentioned above can help you promote workplace collaboration so you can boost productivity and profitability.

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