How to Improve Remote Team Collaboration

Timea Molnarova

teamwork ixtelecom

Previously, remote working has been a privilege given to only a few employees in an organization. At present, a large number of companies are encouraging employees to work remotely, as they look forward to harnessing the power of the gig economy. Simultaneously, the current disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has transformed remote working to be the standard practice worldwide. Getting remote teams to bond together is an ever-lasting challenge for many of these companies. There has been a continuous struggle to overcome operational issues, with remote collaboration being the most prominent one. It is extremely common for a remote worker to feel disconnected and alone, which will lower their productivity levels. It’s crucial to develop specific strategies to get everyone on board and work towards a common goal.

Keeping connected
First and foremost, you need to make sure that your remote teams have all the necessary equipment to work effectively from home. If your team has a slow computer and no access to the software that is required for their job, it will be hard for them to produce quality work. When you hear the word remote work, you immediately think about virtual meetings, video calls, and remote presentations. You are right! These are indispensable parts of working online, especially with customers and team members. There are numerous cost-effective and reliable video conferencing software available on the market, including Cisco WebexGoogle Hangouts, and BlueJeans. The great advantage of modern video conferencing tools is not just that you can talk to the other participants, but you are also able to share presentations, chat during the meeting, or record meetings. Make sure you understand the needs of your organization when you choose the right tools for your employees.

Set Clear Guidelines
A set of clearly defined standard guidelines is crucial to determine responsibilities, avoid miscommunication, and get over the blame game. A circumstance may arise when a team member may be unsure how to deal with a situation, like so:

  • Where do team members update on their task status every day?
  • If something urgent comes up, what process should be followed?
  • How do you deal with demanding customers when services are not readily available?

Such questions pop up every now and then. Having clearly defined guidelines will help in better communication and collaboration between remote workers.

Collaborative Scheduling
Collaborative scheduling is like daily/ weekly schedules for team huddle sessions. A study shows that 48% of remote workers collaborate every business day. The time scheduling for collaboration sessions is very important. It is up to the team leaders to analyze the workload patterns of the team members. In most cases, remote workers are based in different time zones, causing a shrink in time slots. Collaboration schedules should be conveyed to remote workers with ample time in hand, allowing them to prepare and be ready. It is also necessary to find the goal of the collaboration session and communicate it clearly across the team. Here’s an interesting read to further deep dive into the collaborative scheduling of remote teams.

Clearly Communicate the message
57% of employees reported not receiving clear information and 69% of managers are not feeling comfortable communicating with their employees in general. When you are only communicating through texts, comments, and emails, the absence of body language can be quite challenging, which can lead to misunderstandings. A study showed that 72% of employees don’t have a clear understanding of the company’s strategy. All team leaders must be crystal clear when communicating and drafting messages. When you are writing an important message/email, leave no room for misinterpretation. Be sure your message is clear and detailed.

Clarify Roles and Responsibilities
When your team is well-organized, they know how to work together. Each team member must know where they belong and what are their individual responsibilities, to improve efficiency. An organizational chart can help clarify the roles and responsibilities of each team member. It will be beneficial for the reporting relationship between each team member as well. To avoid misunderstanding, it can help to write down all the instructions. When you divide the tasks, make sure it’s in a logical order, and that everyone knows their tasks. You can add a diagram, picture, or an example to make it more vivid for your team.

Reward Achieved Goals and Milestones
Rewarding your employees helps foster the team spirit, and it will allow the team to congratulate and notice each other’s achievements and progress. Besides, personal recognition will boost confidence, self-esteem, and happiness at work. Everyone enjoys recognition for their hard work. Personal recognition helps to boost morale and productivity, and team members can see how their hard work fits into the bigger picture in the company.

Keep up with Company Culture
Maintaining a positive company culture is like maintaining the soul of your company. The most common concern for businesses is maintaining the company culture and team spirit as employees can be physically dispersed. Building your company culture can be quite challenging. It’s important to show empathy from multiple perspectives but also keeping track of the authoritative responsibilities. Make sure that the backbone of your company culture stays undisturbed, no matter the way of working. Your team productivity will increase by 20 to 25% when employees are connected.

Have Fun!
Encourage your employees to personally connect even more by creating space to celebrate birthdays, share stories, or photos. It will improve the way they work together and the relationships between team members.

There are numerous ways to keep your remote team focused. A clear set of goals and expectations will help your employees feel more encouraged and supported, which will increase productivity. It’s important to make sure that your team is working together even when the circumstances make them physically separated. With the practices above, you can help them to have an effective team collaboration experience.