5 Tactics To Improve Remote Team Collaboration In Your Organization

Whether your team primarily collaborates asynchronously with email or through synchronous video conferencing, remote work is now the norm for many companies. What started as a necessity is now an expectation. However, remote work is still difficult for even the most seasoned leaders to manage.

As the world continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, 51% of employers allow some form of remote work. 26% of the U.S. workforce will be remote through 2021 and likely beyond, so it’s clear that managers need to invest in the proper infrastructure and processes for remote work.

Collaboration and teamwork are a challenge for in-person teams; with physical distance, it’s even tougher for remote teams to be on the same page. Your teams can be more productive while engaging in remote work; however, to ensure collaboration is happening, they need proper management to avoid friction. Overcome hurdles to productivity with these 5 tactics to improve remote team collaboration.

Equip Your Team with the Right Tools

Your team can’t collaborate without the proper tools, so be sure to define your tech stack for remote work. This should include tools for:

  • Project management
  • Video conferencing
  • Brainstorming
  • Chat
  • Real-time collaboration (such as Google Docs)

Not only should you provide employees with the right tools, but you must educate your team on how to use these tools.

A global oil and energy company saw this firsthand when it struggled to attract and retain younger workers. But with proper tools, training, and education, the brand was able to improve its culture—and employee retention.

Set Norms Ahead of Time

Every remote team will have its own unique way of achieving its goals. Managers should work with remote teams to define these norms before they start working. This should include norms for:

  • Core working hours: It isn’t always possible for a remote team to be online from 8 am – 5 pm daily, especially if you’re an international organization. You should work with your remote team to define when they will be online and available for meetings for a set block of time every day.
  • Communication: How will your team communicate? On what channels? Clarifying which communication channels remote teams will use (email, Slack, Zoom, etc.) and when it’s appropriate to use each channel will be necessary. They might also need to set rules for each channel, such as timely responses, muting yourself if you aren’t speaking on a video call, using cameras as a norm or avoiding BCC on emails.
  • Common terms: Every team has its own language. Streamline how you communicate with each other by creating a list of shared acronyms. Be sure to define what the acronyms mean and document them.

Communication is the biggest factor for remote team success. For example, one European bank found that optimizing its team’s communication patterns led to a 300% improvement in performance.

Create Opportunities for Social Connection

Work can’t just be about work. Social connection is the glue that keeps your team together. But since remote teams can’t socialize in the company breakroom or grab lunch together, managers need to design social interactions intentionally.

Schedule opportunities for your remote employees to connect with each other in the form of:

  • 15-minute morning coffee chats
  • Online escape rooms
  • Zoom trivia games
  • Book clubs

This may sound like an afterthought, but social connection is a must for better remote collaboration. In fact, a pharmaceutical company discovered that team performance improved tremendously when employees interacted with each other socially. A major U.S. bank also discovered that call center representatives who interacted with each other during their breaks were more productive.

Set Individual and Group Goals

Remote team accountability is all about KPIs and metrics, not the time employees spend in front of a screen. Create both individual and team goals to encourage collaboration and individual success.

It’s also a good idea to create short-term and longer-term goals so your team always knows what they’re working towards. This way, your team will always know what you expect of them. You can even use project management software to create task dependencies based on these goals, so every team member knows what they need to do and when.

Optimize Meetings

Meetings are an effective way to collaborate, but they can quickly become a waste of time if you don’t manage them carefully. Ensure that recurring team meetings are only 15 – 30 minutes long so your team has time to do their actual work. You can also optimize your meetings by:

  • Creating an agenda and taking notes.
  • Making meetings efficient and short, where possible.
  • Only inviting the necessary people to the meeting.
  • Assigning next steps and to-dos before the meeting ends.

Wrapping Up

Collaboration is a must for every team, but it’s a big challenge for remote teams that are separated by time, language, and geography. With remote teams, communication and clarity are crucial. Follow these 5 best practices to enjoy the convenience of remote work and improve remote team collaboration in your organization.

It’s also crucial to monitor workforce data to see if these practices and tools are working. Learn more about how the Humanyze Platform can help you properly measure outcomes to improve collaboration and ensure the best outcomes for the effort.

Last Updated 02 December 2021