Remote work is the future. In fact, according to a study released by Zug, around 70% of professionals work remotely at least one day a week. Around 53% of employees work remotely for at least half of the week. With more companies outsourcing work and hiring employees around the globe, it’s no surprise that remote teams have become the norm for many businesses.
As with the traditional office place, collaboration and communication are two of the most critical driving factors behind the success of a remote team. Lacking the ability to meet face-to-face in person, collaboration is more important than ever.
If you’re in charge of leading a remote team, here are 5 tips you’ll want to follow to ensure effective collaboration.
1. Make It As Personal As Possible
Remote teams often fail because there’s no push to compensate for the lack of physical and face-to-face interaction. With teammates spread throughout the country and sometimes the world, it’s hard to feel the camaraderie and sense of being that one typically feels on a traditional in-office team. To make up for the lack of physical interaction, give your team plenty of tools that they can use to communicate.
From instant messaging services to video chat capabilities, give employees the ability to chit-chat and talk with each other as often as possible. This way teammates don’t feel as if they’re in their own silo and not contributing to the greater whole.
By emphasizing the ways team members can communicate and get to know each other, the easier it is for everyone to feel like they belong and that they add value.
2. Schedule Routine Meetings
Another way to promote effective communication amongst your remote team is to hold a routine meeting to discuss various topics. Call it an “all hands” or a “rhythm” meeting, but the idea here is that you’ll meet with your team on a set basis to talk about project updates, upcoming deadlines, and new tasks coming in the pipeline.
You may also find it helpful to hold quick daily meetings (ie. under 15 minutes) to say hello and to ensure that each team member is good to go for the day.
By synching and meeting with your team on a consistent basis, there’s a lowered chance of someone being on the wrong page, confused, or unable to get answers to important questions. Of course, you don’t want to schedule too many meetings, but don’t neglect them either.
3. Choose The Right Communication Channel
Remote teams have access to a variety of communication channels. But in order to get messages across properly, you want to choose the right channel for the right communication.
Channel Remote teams have access to a variety of communication channels. But in order to get messages across properly, you want to choose the right channel for the right communication.
● Instant Messages – Ideal for quick messages that require real-time interaction and responses. Great to use for questions with simple answers (ie. yes/no). Avoid using for lengthy conversations. There are now companies utilizing mass communication apps in order to quickly send information to their teams which streamlines this process further.
● Email – Also great for quick interactions. More suitable for more complex communications that may require paragraphs of text versus a quick message. Ideal to use if multiple team members need to be involved.
● Audio/video – Personal and business issues should be handled using voice and video messaging. Serious conversations require a more personal communication channel. Use audio and video communication, such as conference call services, to discuss performance issues, raises, and team concerns.
By choosing the right way to communicate with team members, you can ensure that the message is delivered in the best way possible. This minimizes the risk of misunderstandings and confusion.
4. Communicate Clearly
Efficiency makes the work day much better. But, there are good ways to be efficient and bad ways. In order to keep communication and collaboration at a high level, you want to avoid sending shorter communications for the sake of brevity. Using too few words often leads to your team members having to interpret what you’re trying to communicate.
Never assume that everyone on your team understands shorthand and brief messages. Take the time to communicate fully and clearly, even if it means a longer email or a meeting that lasts a few extra minutes.
5. Use a Project Management/Task Tracking Solution
Remote teams work and communicate much more efficiently when everyone knows who is working on what. By using project management or task tracking solution, your team will be able to share deadlines, status updates, and collaborate on documents together. This ensures that your team is working together cohesively and is able to communicate on shared tasks and projects.
Just remember that for any tool you offer to your remote team, the data out is only as good as the data that goes into it. Ensure that team members are provided the proper training on how to use the tool and that there is buy-in from upper-level company leaders and team leads as well.
With more remote workers than ever before, it’s important to know the ins and outs of helping your team to effectively communicate and collaborate, despite the distance between employees. Using these five tips you can better manage your remote team so that everyone is able to thrive and succeed.