5 Strategies To Improve Collaboration For Remote Teams

Improve Collaboration For Remote Teams
The social distancing protocols along with business closures have accelerated the trend of working away from the office. A survey published in Reuters reveals that the percentage of workers across the globe permanently working from home will double in 2021.

Although remote work has many benefits, including the no lengthy commutes and an opportunity for better work-life balance, this setup has some downsides. Adapting to digital work can be difficult, especially when working with a team in a highly collaborative and fast-paced environment.

How can remote teams flourish and stay high performing during this remote era?

Here are five tips for helping virtual teams collaborate smoothly to get stuff done:

1. Use Tech Tools

Technology can help foster employees struggling with remote collaboration. A few of the online tools essential to remote team success are the following:
  • Collaboration Tools - Enterprise-class file syncing and sharing platforms enable each member of the team to work with the most current version of a document.
  • Whiteboard Tools - Platforms, such as Miro and Google Jam Board, offer opportunities to brainstorm ideas visually with team members.
  • Meeting Tools - Platforms like MeetingSphere allow remote workers to post questions in advance to keep meetings productive. They also enable participants to bring the pre-work into the meeting and build on comments.
  • Task Management Tools - Trello, Asana and Basecamp are examples of platforms that allow entire teams to check the progress of tasks or projects.

Although these digital tools are incredibly helpful for remote workers, every team member must use them wisely. Also, managers should reinforce these platforms with good management practices and a shared purpose.

2. Communicate Frequently and Clearly

Excellent and constant communication is crucial to effective remote teams. Each team member should have a good understanding of objectives, expectations, deadlines and priorities at all times. Coordinating work is easier when team members and project managers alike know who's working on what and when.

Also, managers should reach out to each team member individually. Beyond work-related stuff, the purpose is to make sure that work-from-home employees are feeling empowered and engaged. This helps establish rapport and maintain the worker's connection to what's happening within the organization.

3. Share Personal Profiles

Invite employees to come up with a one-page personal profile that they can share with their team members. This strategy helps encourage more open discussion and communication.

Some components that employees could share in their profile are the following:
  • Complete the statement: "The best way to get in touch with me is toĆ¢€¦"
  • Parts of the job that I love
  • Factors that motivate me to turn in great work every day
  • A short story about my background and values
  • An alternative career statement (employee will answer the question, "What career would I choose if skill and money were no object?")

4. Allot Time For Team Building

Balance the rigidity and seriousness of formal team meetings with informal interactions. Team building sessions help everyone feel engaged with their job, motivated to achieve individual and company-related goals and happy working with the company.

A few of the virtual team building activities that will encourage employees to have fun and start bonding are:
  • Favorite Things - This simple but fun game is a fantastic way to break the ice and allow employees to learn more about one another. The team lead, for instance, can assign a favorite thing topic. Examples include "favorite country,""favorite part about working with [Insert Company Here]" and "favorite food." Then, provide time for everyone to answer.
  • Gaming Sessions - Consider scheduling a gaming session to blow off some steam and relax after a long and hard week. At the start of the month, send out an e-mail asking people to vote for a virtual group game (or send suggestions).
  • Team Movie Night - The coronavirus crisis has shut down movie theaters across the United States. This doesn't mean, however, that team members can no longer enjoy a movie night. Online tools, such as Teleparty, allow people to link up with friends and host long-distance TV watch parties and movie nights.

5. Celebrate Successes

Remote employees may feel stressed and underappreciated, especially since they're isolated from their peers. Managers should look at this as an opportunity to recognize deserving workers. They can hold virtual recognition events and provide small tokens of appreciation, such as e-gift cards, additional paid time off and an online toast.

Collaboration is vital to the success of any team. Creating and maintaining a collaborative and healthy environment, however, can be tough when everyone is working from home. By implementing these five strategies, you can foster collaboration among your virtual team to help them become more productive and efficient at their jobs.
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