How to be productive when you are working from home? Or how to collaborate with team members if you are new to this work culture? These are a few search queries that you might have googled. We all are clueless in this situation. Many have blended with this culture and thriving, and at the same time, some leaders are trying hard to build a collaborative remote workforce. Remote working is not new. Companies worldwide hire people who work remotely to cut down geographic barriers. Also, it was predicted long ago that remote work is a trend that will evolve with time. But no one expected the unprecedented event would force the majority of the workforce worldwide to work from home overnight.
The sudden shift has brought many new challenges, and one of the major obstacles is to collaboratively effectively and boost productivity. The world is learning to collaborate virtually to make the best out of their work.
What is Virtual/Remote Collaboration?
Virtual collaboration is collaborating virtually through digital tools towards a common goal. Without physical interaction, virtual teams collaborate with using digital technology, share ideas, work files, and communicate in real-time.
Ways to increase the efficiency of work while collaborating remotely
Effective communication is the key to enhance remote team collaboration. How the team communicates internally decides the fate of the organization. In-person collaboration or communication is not viable in remote work environments; therefore, it is vital to communicate with team members actively. When you work remotely and connect team members with chat tools and video conferencing tools, make sure everyone is well adapted. And everyone must use common communication channels. Most of the working hours for remote teams are spent connecting to people, answering emails, or conducting meetings. Therefore, the following few norms can save a lot of time and build efficiency. Here is what you can do-
Be clear: Be mindful and extra cautious while sending any information to your team members. Try to articulate in simple language and be clear and precise.
Don’t bombard with useless information: The idea is to get the work done efficiently, respect others’ time, and not bombard with information that is not needed. It saves time and energy of both the parties.
Virtual communication Tools: Use the right remote communication tools that suit your culture and needs. Also, project management tools for maintaining the workflow is a great choice for any remote teams.
Few other norms: Every remote team is different, and so are their work processes. Therefore to keep everyone on the same page, make some criteria that everyone could follow.
Recommended Read: 22 Must-Have Tools for Remote Workers
2. Clear Goals and Objectives
Team leaders or managers must emphasize on giving clear instructions to the team. The goals and objectives must be clearly set. Remote workers must know what is expected from them and how to work along to boost team productivity. The collaboration tools are of no use if team members are clueless about their goals. Therefore, it is important to conduct regular virtual team meetings and update each other on the progress and tasks to run the processes smoothly. Team meetings are great for giving updates to each team member and keeping everyone one the same page.
3. Support Each Other
This could be one of the most important when it comes to collaborating effectively with remote teams. Supporting each other is more of a company’s core value that needs to flow from the company leaders. It is very easy to get deflected from the team while working remotely. There could be many factors. For example, a team might lose his/her morale and may feel ignored by peers. Or lack of appreciation could also affect the morale of the team members. Therefore, it is important to reach out and maintain an open communication flow to understand everyone’s sentiments. And also, you cannot expect everyone to move along with remote work culture effectively. Some might need more time to get used to it. Supporting each other is the key here to foster a sustainable, productive, and collaborative team.
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4. Maintain Transparency
Maintaining transparency while working from home could be the biggest challenge for managers or team members. Lack of transparency is one of the major reasons behind low employee morale, lack of trust, and enthusiasm. No company can reach its peak unless they share both internal and external information with its employees. And build a culture of trust and togetherness. But how to maintain transparency when you are working from home? Yes, it is difficult but quite possible. For any major updates, make sure you don’t pass it through team leaders but rather conduct short video chat sessions with the team to disclose. Leaders can also send emails to all the team members on important updates and developments at the end of the day.
Recommended Read: Why Transparency In The Workplace Can Help Your Business Grow
5. Virtual Team Building Activities
Keep some time for celebration too. We live a time where possibilities are immense. It is on us how we want to act on it. Workload and commitments can wear us off. Therefore, it is essential to participate in some fun activities to build relationships and know each other better. Team building activities boost employee engagement and also teach to cooperate. Team building activities are one of the great ways to foster remote team collaboration.
Successful teams participate in team-building activities to promote teamwork and positive work culture. Also, virtual activities could be too much fun since it gives you many ideas to play with. For example, it could be anything from giving each a tour of your homes or your garden, online trivia games, sharing bucket lists or building a story together, etc.
Recommended Read: 10 Best Virtual Team Building Activities for Remote Employees