5 Ways to Make Remote Team Collaboration more Efficient
How can you be productive and work as a team when you are working from home?
11:26 04 June 2021
This article explores five ways to improve collaboration for remote teams. Keep reading below to learn more about collaborating efficiently with your colleagues even when you're not in the same office.
The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and all the events from last year have forced many employers to send their staff to work from home. And, that's when new challenges started to arise, from having to be self-disciplined to working in an environment with many potential distractions and having efficient communication and collaboration with co-workers.
Many employees are new to remote work. Some have blended well with this culture, and their productivity is thriving. On the flip side, others are trying hard to stay productive and have an efficient collaboration with their co-workers.
When you or your team members are struggling with effective collaboration remotely, tasks don't get done in time or correctly. Read these five ways to make the cooperation more efficient for your remote team.
Communicate, communicate, communicate
When the entire team is sharing an office, instant communication is easily taken for granted. It's only when a pandemic forces you to work separately to understand how challenging it can be to communicate when you don't work in the same workplace with your co-workers. You can no longer simply pop over to someone's desk to ask for feedback or explanations about your task.
When collaborating remotely, you now have to compose an email or message that ideally includes all necessary details to get an answer, send it, and potentially wait for hours until your team member answers it. This is definitely challenging.
However, even when, or better said, especially when working remotely, communication is imperative. Effective communication is at the core of any collaboration, be it personal or businesswise.
So, make sure that you're communicating enough and, more importantly, efficiently. Here's what you can do:
Be clear about the information you send or ask for. Don't overcrowd the conversation with useless information that might make relevant details get lost in a chat. Use the right remote communication tools such as communication software or tools like Zoom or Skype that allow instant messaging.
Set clear goals and objectives
Having clear goals and objectives set is a great way to avoid miscommunication and mistakes. While working in the same office allows you to ask several times what your tasks are, you don't have that luxury when working remotely. Or, at least, you won't get an instant answer immediately. So, all team members need to have a clear idea of exactly what they must do for the project. When assigning tasks to team members, make sure that everybody understood exactly what their job is and what the final goals are.
Use the right collaboration tools
When collaborating with other people remotely, the only efficient way is to stay connected is through technology.
Luckily, there are various collaboration tools available right now. These tools allow you and your team members to work together on the same task, share data, and make edits in real-time so that everybody can see any updates. For example, Google Drive is a tool that allows you to share and edit documents in real-time for everybody to see.
However, depending on what types of documents you want to share, keep in mind that the preferred format for sharing documents. That's because PDF files open the same on any device, which ensures you that the receiver sees the exact same version of the document that you see in terms of layout, fonts, content, color, etc. Besides that, PDFs can be opened on any device, even on those devices that don't have Microsoft Office installed on them. And, you no longer have to worry about you or your team members being unable to edit a PDF file as there are now tools like PDFChef tools that allow you to do that.
Have video meetings from time to time
Emails and texts can help you get the piece of information you need. But, they'll never be as efficient as face-to-face communication. Written texts or emails leave room for many wrong interpretations and miscommunications as you can't hear your co-worker's tone or see their facial expressions, hand gestures, or head nods.
Now, with technology being the only available way to communicate with people who also work remotely when in-person meetings aren't an option, the best face-to-face-like communication can happen through video calls.
Encourage your team to use video meetings once in a while for communication. Whether you're talking with video to communicate updates on your projects or to "reunite" the team for a few moments, video meetings can improve your team's communication and collaboration even if you're working remotely.
With tools like Skype or Zoom, you can also show your co-workers what you're working on while also explaining to them. Both tools have a screen sharing feature that allows you to do that. It's more likely for your team members to understand better what you're working at and how it is going if they see it and also hear you explaining to them than if you'd email them about it.
Engage in virtual team building activities
Keeping your team together is even more critical when you're no longer sharing the same office. This new work culture, being away from real in-person socialization, all the challenges brought by the pandemic, and all-new lifestyle changes can all take a toll on your colleagues' productivity and mental wellbeing. So, it would be best if you'd also dedicate some time to socialization outside of work that strengthens the team and helps each team member relax for a few moments.
Once again, in-person meetings aren't possible, but you can use some virtual team-building activities to help team members stay connected for improved collaboration and communication. Such activities can be anything from giving each other a tour of your home office to playing online games, sharing funny office stories from the past together, etc.