Remote working has become a way of life for many professionals. Even with the UK’s mass vaccine rollout, it’s likely that remote working will remain popular.
And that’s great! Remote working has benefits for both businesses and employees. But a remote team also needs to work together effectively. Wondering how to achieve this? Read on for tips on fostering a strong collaborative environment.
1. Have a Clear Sense of Goals & Progress
If you and your colleagues are spread over a wide area, you lose the easy communication of a conventional office. This means that it’s easy to lose track of each other’s progress, or what you’re even trying to achieve.
Luckily—as we’ve already established—there’s plenty of ways for staff to understand what they need to be doing.
Check out the wide range of collaboration tools available to help clarify your goals. Instant messaging helps you fire off quick queries (and clear clutter from your inbox). Moreover, project management platforms give you a clearer picture of everyone’s progress.
2. Offer a Training Session
Over the last few years, the digital transformation has pushed a much larger digital component into our lives. That’s also true of our workplaces. All of them have had to embrace a swathe of new digital tools to continue working properly.
If you haven’t done so before now, why not give your colleagues a quick session on using workplace software effectively? Even if they’ve been using it for some time, they might learn about a function or shortcut they’ve overlooked in the past.
3. Keep People in The Loop
Got a big piece of news to share with your colleagues? Whether a client wants to change a project or your own business is doing something different, it’s important to let colleagues know as quickly as possible.
Getting information late can lead to them feeling demoralised or out of the loop. This in turn affects both working relationships and work performance.
A platform like Flock is good for smaller, one-on-one meetings. But you might want to consider something like Glip for major announcements, as you can speak to many people simultaneously.
Conveying important information to as many people at once helps them feel appreciated. It also preserves team cohesion into the bargain. If you’ve transitioned from a brick-and-mortar office to remote working, you may also want to consider an SME continuity plan to keep things running smoothly.
4. Consider Other Tools
Many professionals are well-acquainted with the tools that aid their day-to-day working lives. But why stop there? Don’t be afraid to look further afield, based on the industry you’re working in.
For instance, if you’re working in ecommerce you might want to look at new order management software. You might also want to consider adding live chat functionality. Streamlining online shopping is essential for today’s customers.
5. Don’t be Afraid to Go on Video
As a rule, many of us like to avoid video chat nowadays. You’ve got to make yourself (and your home office) presentable, and given how long we’ve been working at home, video conferencing is either your greatest dream or your worst nightmare.
But it’s worth considering video chat. The benefits of nonverbal communication are well established nowadays; it helps you better communicate with colleagues and sell your ideas. It also—in broad terms—produces more engaging interactions across the business. This in turn helps people offer concerns or suggestions more comfortably.
Fostering that sense of teamwork is ideal if you want to boost collaboration in a small business. These kinds of businesses already enjoy stronger professional relationships between clients. Video meetings—whether one-on-one or in a group—help preserve that momentum, even with remote working.
6. Don’t be Afraid to Ask For Help, Either
In an era of remote working, it’s easy to forget that larger projects are a team effort. If colleagues need help from another department (or someone within their own department) stress that there’s no shame in reaching out.
Besides ensuring you’re all working effectively, it also helps to reinforce the concept of corporate culture for your business. This is something that cuts both ways. It covers a business’ values and goals, as well as the work environment it provides. Promoting an open work environment is essential, even if it’s widely distributed.
7. Take an Interest in People’s Lives
Intra-office chat is a healthy part of any workplace. Whether you’re discussing the latest football game, sharing personal news or discussing weekend plans, shooting the breeze with colleagues helps maintain a positive work environment and aids our understanding of team collaboration meaning.
At the same time, things aren’t always going smoothly for you or your colleagues. Whether it’s a personal or professional concern, it doesn’t hurt to lend a sympathetic ear to your workmates. That said, don’t take it personally if people want to delineate their personal and professional lives. There are several ways to support employees working from home; don’t be afraid to think outside the box a little!
8. Consider Team Building Activities
If your company has made some new hires recently, why not consider a team building activity? This is an excellent way to break the ice and get to know your new colleagues. It’s also an option for reinvigorating a team after a long working period.
There are two ways of achieving this. The first is to approximate some of the features that a regular office provides. For example, you could create a virtual break room—a shared video channel colleagues can log into during breaks and lunchtimes. This is a great way to maintain structure in the working day and create an inviting social space for your colleagues.
The other option is to take advantage of your remote working. If they’re comfortable with it, why not have colleagues show off their homes or working environments? If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, why not arrange something like a scavenger hunt—with each person’s home as the stomping ground?
Finding the right team communication service—one that’s flexible enough to handle a variety of uses—will aid your team in ways beyond workplace performance.
As you can see, there’s plenty of ways to strengthen your working environment. But above all, have faith in your colleagues. The vast majority of professionals go into their jobs with a desire to work hard, and work as a team.
By addressing their concerns and giving them the right tools, you’ll be creating a top-notch workplace—whatever shape it may take.