Some years ago, the traditional workplace was a reasonably consistent environment with few variations. Flexibility in the design and the functioning of the work environment was virtually zero. Now, times have changed, and offices are becoming more collaborative, inclusive, and creative than ever. Work from homes, usage of audio recording technology, and the comforts of working from a remote space have are well propagated and incorporated into the average office worker’s life. Working from a remote location has its benefits.
A study showed that employees show lower stress levels and get more productive when working from a comfortable space remotely. Remote workers, however, may face problems when they have to collaborate with other team members when they are working on a project together. You should set up effective communication channels, and workers should be aware of the importance of discipline if something like this has to work out. Luckily, this is not very difficult.
The key to effectively increase team collaboration is to ensure that your team has the right tools and prioritizes the company culture. Some of the strategies mentioned below might go a long way to improve team collaboration if the team is remotely based.
Equipping your team with the right tools
Equipping your remote team with the right technology and other logistics is the primary step to take to increase team collaboration. Your team must be very well off in terms of resources they use to communicate with the mother ship, so to say. They would need a working telephone line, video conferencing capabilities, messaging tools, company and client background resources, department login information, and training with any third-party platforms for starters. They would also need a broadband connection with fast Internet speeds, computers with access to cloud computing, and a central mainframe database where all information is accessible and can be stored and updated by team members all around the world.
Keeping track of the schedule
It is better for the team if their schedules are rigid and time-bound. Last-minute changes benefit no one. A responsible team leader must make sure that the schedule remains intact throughout the day, and he/she makes every change in advance. You should also ensure that you keep personal distractions like your cell phone, emails and texts away while you’re collaborating with your team members in a meeting or a video conference. Remote employees do not have the luxury of partaking in side conversations and comments throughout the day and have to be alert when they show up.
Communicate details effectively
Remote teams are especially vulnerable to misinformation or miscommunication. Sometimes, due to the severe lack of communication, it creates a casual work culture in the team, which induces employees to take their job casually too. A rigid communication line that stays all day and a clear vision about the work that needs doing creates a better work environment and inspires productivity.
Honor the quiet
No communication is communication itself. It is very important to note that you have to give your team members their own space to complete the tasks assigned to them. Bombarding people with messages, texts, and emails will make them less productive and will continually divert their focus from the actual work. It is more important to give your employees the quiet time they need to focus on and complete the work.
Match the message to the channel
What you have to communicate with your teammates is important, but more important is the way you do it. There are multiple options available: emails, chats, video calls, phone calls, and such. So instead of expanding your horizons and exploiting every form of communication you have, it might be smarter to stick to one or two. Avoid cramming your employees with a barrage of messages and make sure that you match the message to the channel. The type of communication must also match the salience and urgency of the message. Some questions to ponder before sending out that text or picking up the phone to dial up your employees are:
- How urgent is your message?
- What is the default mode of your communication?
- What tool do you use for your message?
- Will the employee be open to such a communication channel?
- What is the right cadence for checking in on a certain communication?