5 Tips for Better Remote Work Collaboration

Working remotely is now considered normal as opposed to a luxury. With the pandemic forcing businesses to change their processes in order to keep their workers safe, more employees have learned how to collaborate and communicate online.

Managing remote teams requires employing a set of skills and techniques to ensure morale and productivity are not impacted. Many of the challenges in managing off-site workers are a result of the digital age and how it has revolutionized the way individuals speak to one another.

5 Ways to Improve Team Collaboration

Text messages, chat systems, and emails are effective tools if used properly, but are also responsible for altering the way employees speak to one another. Short messages can be misconstrued and result in duplicate efforts or confusion, which makes it difficult for a company to achieve its goals.

Managing dozens of remote workers across different time zones requires an organization to prioritize effective communication between team members. Team leaders are responsible for ensuring off-site workers can collaborate effectively through specific mediums. This will assist in maintaining morale and improving worker efficiency.

Here are the 5 best practices to improve remote team collaboration and optimize employees' work-life balance -

1. Stop Conflating Short Communications with Explicit Communications

Many employees write one-word text messages or emails to maximize efficiency, but these messages are often difficult to interpret. The receiver may waste time clarifying the message or could accidentally perform the wrong actions due to not understanding it.

Employees should never assume that team members will automatically understand abbreviated words or one-line commands. While it's important to not waste time writing long and lengthy messages, it's critical to communicate clearly and precisely regardless of which medium is used to do it.

2. Don't Send Too Many Communications

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Following up repeatedly through multiple text messages, emails, and phone calls is unproductive and uncomfortable for the receiver. Many of these mediums take time to check and respond to, which just increases the tasks of those who work remote.

Rather, companies should enact policies that choose specific mediums for communications and then ensure workers are trained on these policies. This will minimize duplicate information and make sure that employees know exactly where to check their messages for each type of communication.

3. Establish Communication Policies

Remote workers must understand how they should communicate with others each day in order to perform their jobs. Individual teams may enact their own set of policies such as only using email, text messages, and Zoom for meetings.

These policies can be flexible and individually-based, fitting into time zones and specific schedules. For example, one worker may not be able to communicate before 9 am because he is in a different time zone than everyone else. As a result, other employees will know not to bombard this individual with messages until 12 p.m. their time.

Curating policies based on the needs of teams and individuals improves employee morale and minimizes ineffective communications. This builds employee relationships and optimizes collaboration so key goals are met.

4. Pinpoint New Opportunities for Written Messages

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Utilizing online mediums to communicate can help introverted team members feel confident enough to speak out when they aren't usually comfortable enough to do so. Online and text-based messages remove the need to look a certain way or speak a certain way, which can make people feel more comfortable and improve problem-solving.

It is still important to craft messages a certain way or they may be difficult to interpret. For example, it's harder to show humor through a text message, which may cause the receiver to be offended at an innocuous comment. Everyone must be aware of how their digital messages can be construed or misconstrued, depending on the type of medium used.

5. Create Virtual Spaces for Team Building

Just because remote team members are in different locations doesn't mean they can't socialize with one another. Creating a digital location for celebrations, motivational meetings, or coffee breaks is an effective way to build morale and optimize collaboration in the future.

For example, a company can host a weekly coffee break on Zoom to ask team members how they are doing and whether they have the resources needed to complete key requirements.
It doesn't matter how these interactions occur, just that they do.

Maintaining morale and minimizing the isolation that remote workers often feel is crucial to optimize worker efficiency and productivity.

Key Takeaways

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In conclusion, here are the top tips for better remote team collaboration

  • Employees should avoid conflating short communications with explicit communications when using a collaboration tool to ensure the receiver can easily interpret each message. This will save time and avoid miscommunications that result in duplicate efforts.
  • Workers mustn't send too many messages on different mediums, as this is viewed as harassment on the receiver's end. It harms employee relationships and leads to a decrease in remote collaboration.
  • The company should enact communication policies to make certain that everyone knows exactly how they are expected to communicate on each medium. This will increase worker efficiency and eliminate any confusion.
  • Remote teams should still celebrate hard work and meet casually by utilizing management software. This will help team members build relationships and improve morale. This will increase productivity and eliminate the isolation that is often felt by remote workers.