Working remotely allows for greater workplace flexibility in a number of ways, including reduced commute times and access to the most qualified candidates regardless of where they are located or what time zone they are in.
Having the freedom to work on projects whenever inspiration strikes, away from the usual office noise and distractions, can also boost productivity.
WFH Research found that more than a quarter of paid full work days are work from home, a tendency that has persisted in several industries since the pandemic’s initial surge.
What is Remote Collaboration?
The term “remote collaboration” refers to the use of electronic means of communication and collaboration amongst members of a team who are physically dispersed. Through remote collaboration, individuals and teams can cooperate even when they aren’t in the same physical location.
The ability to work from anywhere, at any time, increases productivity, and provides access to a larger pool of talent and fresher ideas; these are just a few of the many advantages of remote collaboration.
Five Tips for Successful Remote Collaboration
Working together across great distances is essential in the modern business, but it isn’t always easy to do. These five guidelines will help you facilitate productive remote teamwork.
- Use the proper software
Virtual workers and teams have additional challenges in communicating and collaborating remotely without the proper technologies in place. For effective asynchronous collaboration, team members must have access to up-to-date information in real time via collaboration software.
Workspaces, cloud-based file storage and sharing, video conferencing, and other communication, project management, and meeting tools are all essential for modern teams. While many apps can do numerous functions, some may be more specialized.
Make sure the tools you pick help you achieve your objectives. Consider whether they can serve many purposes, saving you time and effort. Think about how well the tools you’re considering will mesh with your current setup.
- Centralize Data
With everything in one place, your team can save time and effort by helping themselves to the information they need on a daily basis. The more your team is familiar with the locations of often used resources, the better.
Having access to a comprehensive knowledge base reduces the time employees spend searching for and obtaining the information they need. In addition to saving time, this also helps clear up any confusion and keeps everyone on the same page.
It’s crucial that your teams understand how to make advantage of the knowledge management solutions you design. Explain how it works and what you anticipate from them. Employees are better able to communicate their knowledge with one another, and less crucial information is lost in the noise of day-to-day operations.
Create a database of your team’s expertise
Gather and classify crucial high-level data that new hires will need to know about the organization. Organizational charts, staff directories, company mission statements, content schedules, and product development plans all fall under this category.
Record all of your steps and procedures
Data shouldn’t just exist in people’s thoughts. Document the steps required to complete the work, and encourage your team members to do the same for their specific tasks.
Facilitate access to records for all
Create a structure that is easy to follow and understand. Staff members who contribute to your KB can do so with confidence because they know exactly where to file new findings.
If you want to ensure that knowledge about team members’ responsibilities and processes is easily transferable in the event of a team member’s departure or a role reorganization, you should establish a standardized method for documenting these aspects of work.
- Set up rules and procedures for communicating with a remote team.
When everyone on your team is on the same page about how they should be supporting good communication, you’ll see improvements in efficiency, ability to work together, and morale.
Teams with access to efficient remote communication tools can better coordinate their efforts and accomplish more. Because everyone is on the same page about when and where to expect conversations to take place, they also reduce the likelihood of data loss. Virtual teams can only function effectively when they can trust one another’s communications.
Establish time intervals for checking in
Establish a routine to ensure constant communication on your team. Maybe you have a Slack thread for daily updates and an email for weekly updates. Weekly in-person meetings with team members and/or clients can help solve problems and plan for the future. Maybe it’s best to utilize IM for asking non-urgent, one-off questions.
Pick the best means of long-distance contact
Specify the ways in which your group communicates with one another to avoid miscommunication. Determine first what kinds of information are better served by synchronous versus asynchronous transmission.
Contrasting individual and group responses
You should think about whether you want each team member to email you individually with input on papers, or whether you would prefer to use a solution that allows everyone to submit their feedback in one spot. The latter can lessen the number of identical remarks and promote the development of novel group concepts.
Differenciate between urgent and private data
Create a system for communicating time-sensitive or critical updates. For time-sensitive team announcements, you may have a conference call, send an email, or use Microsoft Teams. In cases when discretion is required, such as a one-on-one video chat, tell your staff that confidential information will be communicated via these means.
- Ensure that every meeting is productive.
No one enjoys sitting through or participating in a pointless meeting. Laugh it up with your favorite “this meeting could have been an email” meme. Low morale and disinterest in work might result from meetings that go on for too long or contain material that could have been conveyed more effectively in another way.
Make sure you actually need a meeting before sending out that invite
Make it a habit for everyone in meetings to speak out and participate. Staff members who pay attention during meetings are less likely to drift off during the day.
Avoiding aimless chatter in meetings requires setting specific objectives, goals, or action items in advance. Establish the purpose of each meeting, whether it is for sharing information or working together.
Always have a plan in place
Without a clear plan of action, meetings have a tendency to ramble on and waste time. In order to bring everyone back to their own tasks, it’s important to have a meeting agenda and stick to it.
- Keep a solid corporate identity.
Team building is important for both in-person and remote workers because it fosters mutual respect and a shared commitment to the goals of the firm. Having a workplace culture that values diversity and welcomes everyone is an excellent way to keep employees happy and boost productivity. It’s also useful for luring in A-listers.
There’s more to team development than just organizing a happy hour (virtual or otherwise). Investing time and energy into building a sense of community among your company’s employees. Build psychological safety by facilitating public recognition of colleagues’ contributions, encouraging information sharing among team members as a means of showcasing individual expertise, and facilitating opportunities for team members to get to know one another.
Integrate corporate ideals
It’s important to instill the company’s core values into daily operations. Make it clear that values like respect, accountability, and cooperation are not just lip service to you.
In the workplace, employees should not yell at one another, spread rumors, or be disrespectful to one another. Motivate workers to accept responsibility for their actions and gain insight into how they might improve in the future. Recognize and reward teamwork and prod your colleagues to work together whenever possible.
Set an example
It’s important that the company’s upper echelons demonstrate the ideals they espouse. It will be difficult for team members to believe that the company’s principles matter if their leader does not model them.
Embracing remote work is more than simply a modern need; it’s a game-changer that can help any company improve its efficiency, creativity, and diversity. These five pillars will continue to be the foundations of success as we traverse this ever-changing terrain, guaranteeing that remote collaboration will remain a driving force in the third wave of workplace development. If you follow these guidelines, you’ll be well on your way to being a remote collaboration master and enjoying the many advantages it brings to the business world today.
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