How to Make Remote Collaboration a Success?
2020 brought a massive change when it comes to how we do and perceive work. Before the pandemic, there was a general shift towards remote work, but the situation with the virus just speeded up the process. Some studies suggest that more than 20 percent of Americans are actively working from home, while around 50 percent of them are involved with some kind of remote or virtual teamwork.
The point is, the pressing trend towards remote work increased the demand for a new set of behaviors and skills that will make remote collaboration much easier. That’s why we decided to examine what are the ways we can improve our remote team’s collaboration, making the most out of our remote days.
But why do remote teams require a new set of collaboration skills?
Remote work deprived us of an important aspect of communication – non-verbal signs we send each time we want to say something. We cannot hear the tone of the voice via emails and text messages, nor can we see the gesticulation that informs us about the message we’re receiving more closely over the phone calls. The truth is – without non-verbal communication, plenty of things are left wide-open for guessing and interpretation. And if we do fall into a pit of misinterpretation, we’re bound to feel the anxiety that can become costly, impacting morale, engagement, productivity, and innovation.
So, how to make a remote collaboration successful?
Now, when we went through the reasons why we need to improve our communication skills to make a remote collaboration successful, we’re going to provide you with a few tips on how to do so:
Tip #1: Make a distinction between brief and clear communication.
We usually confuse being brief with being clear when it comes to remote communication. However, sometimes less doesn’t mean more, and your team might spend too much time trying to determine what you wanted to say. Don’t assume that everybody will understand what you want to say. Instead, better invest your time into making sure everyone will understand the message you’re sending. Remember – you can never be too clear.
Tip #2: Establish communication rules.
To make remote collaboration a success, you need to create and establish new norms of communication. For instance, you need to know when it’s okay to message a colleague (if you’re working on a flexible schedule, for instance, you need to have some overlapping time), what’s the accepted response time, where you’ll communicate (Slack, MS Teams, and so on). Make sure to be aware of individual preferences and take them into account. For example, some people prefer short and clear messages, while some like detailed responses. You should also be wary of people’s tolerance of informality and humor and consider it while crafting a message.
Tip #3: Make use of digital tools.
Digital tools are here for a reason – to streamline remote collaboration. Make sure to research well, and use every resource you can to improve your teams’ functioning. There are a wide array of tools you can choose from – from task management software such as Asana and Trello to time-management, and file sharing and editing software.
Tip #4: Make important information accessible.
One of the greatest obstacles of remote collaboration is the distance that inevitably creates silos. Getting the right information might sometimes seem too hard when you’re working in a remote setting. Let’s imagine a situation where you need something badly, but your coworker is unresponsible via email and Slack. To ensure undisturbed remote collaboration, you should always store important information in a central location that’s accessible to everybody.
Tip #5: Listen to your employees’ needs.
The needs of remote team members can differ from the needs they have while sitting in the office. To ensure successful remote collaboration, managers should listen to their employee’s needs and give their best to satisfy them. That applies to providing the funds for setting up a home office, allowing employees to work on a flexible schedule, or subscribing to the right set of digital tools that will help them work more efficiently.
Tip #6: Make sure your employees avoid burnout.
Team collaboration can be successful only when all team members are well-rested and feel productive and energized to receive new information. They need to be agile to give ideas and solve problems that are near impossible if they’re tired and burned out. You, as a manager, have to ensure every one of your employees took their deserved time off from work. Luckily, you don’t have to do this by hand anymore. You can automate the leave tracking process and make software do it for you.
Vacation Tracker is a leave tracking solution that comes as a Slack, and Microsoft Teams integration (and soon it will be available for Google Workspace too). With its intuitive dashboard, employers can check their staff’s availability in seconds and employees can choose from more than 9 different leave types.
A cat enthusiast and a cupcake maniac, Ana is a freelance Content Writer passionate about HR, productivity, and team management topics. When she’s not at her keyboard, you can find Ana in the kitchen, trying to make delicious cookies.