13 Ways To Make Remote Teams Collaborate Productively

Organizations these days are actively seeking ways to make remote employees collaborate productively. It is for the fact that remote employment is becoming increasingly common. 

If your organization intends to have remote employees and a rather unconventional work style over the coming years, you may be wondering how to enable this change. 

Relevantly, one Stanford study of over 1,000 companies found that when employees collaborate productively, they are five times more likely to outperform others. Furthermore, the research demonstrates that employees are likely to become more motivated while working together than when working alone.

Considering how important it is for your workforce (remote or not) to collaborate in a productive fashion, we bring some of the ways specifically to effective communication while working remotely.

How To Improve Remote Team Collaboration? 

1- Believe in your team and avoid micromanaging

First things first, to have collaboration in a remote environment, it is important to avoid performing micromanagement so your remote employees may collaborate productively (micromanagement may actually hinder collaboration in virtual teams).

micromanagement may actually hinder collaboration in virtual teams

So, you should avoid micromanaging your teams’ efforts when urging them to collaborate productively. Furthermore, have faith in your team’s competence and decision-making abilities. 

Also, keep in mind:

  • You don’t have to do everything alone; delegate work to team members.
  • Trust your team members to complete tasks on time, even if they require some freedom in their daily routines.
  • Inform your team members that you believe in their abilities.
  • Accept and celebrate diversity in working styles.
  • Inquire about your team members’ interests and passions.

2- Plan regular team meetings

A frequent team meeting enables everyone to contribute their opinion on projects and keep up to date on crucial updates. Furthermore, these gatherings are also an excellent method for your remote teams to collaborate productively.

When planning meetings, remember to:

  • Experiment with the appropriate frequency and duration for your team. It is for this reason that some teams may require to gather for an hour once a week, while others may find a biweekly check-in sufficient.
  • Keep all team members’ time zones in mind.
  • Maintain consistency in meetings and strive to avoid rescheduling.
  • Meetings should be recorded because then team members can catch up later if necessary.

Lastly, without team meetings in place, your coworkers may become disengaged from one another or try to function in separate silos.

3- Document the process

You’ll want to keep everyone on the same page as you begin to incorporate new tools and tactics into your team’s workflow. Process documentation is, therefore, quite beneficial. 

You are more likely to maintain operations streamlined if you explicitly outline the processes and the tool that teams should take and utilize when executing work.

When producing process documentation, be certain of the following:

  • Outline important steps for repeatable procedures clearly.
  • When should a procedure be used?
  • Outline who should participate in specific procedures
  • Indicate whether exceptions or changes to procedures are possible.
  • Documents should be stored in the cloud.
  • Make a document folder that includes reference links to relevant files and tools.

4- Try making work-life balance a priority

When the barriers between the workplace and home become blurred, approximately 27% of remote workers fail to disconnect from work. Therefore, emphasizing logging off and keeping balance is a vital factor. Otherwise, not only distant team members may become exhausted, but they may also be unable to collaborate productively.

statista report

Consider how your organization could support and encourage the following when developing a work-life balance culture:

  • Creating boundaries between work and family life
  • Observing time zone differences
  • Celebrating team accomplishments
  • Demonstrating gratitude for a successful task
  • Requesting support when necessary

5- Team Members Should Be Rotated for Different Projects

Connecting individuals from various backgrounds and experiences can lead you to have effective communication while working remotely.

A diverse staff brings a variety of perspectives to the company and contributes to actual innovation.

So, rather than assigning the same team members to comparable tasks, try mixing up teams to see what happens.

Consider who would work well together or whose abilities and experiences would result in interesting and exciting cooperation.

Importantly, send an icebreaker to each team before they begin their project. In this way, they introduce themselves and become more familiar with each other’s work styles, strengths, shortcomings, and so on.

6- Try team-building exercises

Remote teams don’t get a proper chance to know each other. However, informal office contacts planning and scheduling virtual team-building activities can help promote workplace bonding. 

Consider incorporating fast team-building exercises into your regular meetings or plan special social gatherings for everyone to know one another better. 

Some of the common remote team-building activities include the following:

  • Organizing a social hour where everyone may talk over coffee
  • Arranging a team discussion session in which everyone reveals interesting facts about themselves
  • Organizing a game-show competition
  • Enjoy a virtual board game together (extra points if teamwork is required!)

Try to organize team-building activities during video conferencing so that everyone may participate. 

But that may just not be possible owing to time zone differences. In that case, you may consider asynchronous team-building exercises like these:

  • In a channel on WorkHub Connect, post an introductory question and have everyone respond.
  • Make a quiz sheet with team member knowledge and determine who knows their coworkers the best.
  • Make a short movie in which everyone records fascinating information about themselves.

7- Perform Employee Recognition 

Once you’ve established goals for your team, you must use a rewards and recognition platform to keep track of all the milestones they reach so as to perform employee recognition. Also, this lowers the need for micromanagement and helps recognize your employees for their hard work, achievements, dedication, and commitment.

Employees, therefore, should be encouraged to acknowledge the accomplishments and key milestones of their peers.

This form of top-down acknowledgment contributes significantly to increased motivation and, subsequently, leads remote employees to collaborate productively.

Importantly, peer recognition helps in the formation of strong relationships between teams. So, it’s a win-win situation.

8- Listen to your employees

Listening is a necessary component of effective communication. 

If your employees feel that they are not heard, they may not know they are an important part of the workforce. And this sense of being neglected might lead to conflict over time.

When talking with your teams, keep the following in mind:

  • Allow the opportunity for questions and discussion during team meetings.
  • Create a regular channel for staff members to express questions or share ideas.
  • Recognize your employees’ thoughts, questions, or concerns.
  • As needed, provide further information and responses.
  • Inquire with teams about their remote working experiences.

9- Establish clear objectives and goals for all meetings

When you do have to organize a meeting, effective planning will help you maintain optimum productivity. So, before beginning a meeting, you should need to answer the following questions:

  • What is the meeting’s intended purpose?
  • What will you talk about at the meeting?
  • What do you hope to achieve by means of the meeting?

Naturally, without the fundamentals in place, it may be difficult to keep the dialogue on the topic.

Additionally, when organizing remote team meetings, it may also be useful to conduct the following:

  • Prepare a detailed agenda ahead of time and distribute it to participants.
  • Instead of reading slides and documents aloud during the meeting, distribute them in advance.

10- Determine which items require immediate attention

When delivering updates to a remote workforce, whether in a conference or via email, distinguishing between what is an action item versus what is merely informational will bring vital clarity. And, of course, it will make your employees working remotely collaborate productively as well.

So, always remember to:

  • Highlight and assign important action items.
  • Timelines and deadlines should be communicated.
  • Indicate which elements are more and less important.
  • Provide any background information required.

Undoubtedly, team members may work on less important tasks if there is no clarity, which can lead to confusion and haste to complete tasks by the deadlines. Also, it goes without saying that it may also become difficult for all your employees (and not just remote ones) to collaborate productively!

collaborate productively

11- Use DACI and RACI to standardize project roles

Knowing when to plan a meeting specific to a certain project is only one of many collaboration examples. 

It’s also critical to understand who truly needs to participate in a meeting. Otherwise, you may end up with too many individuals sitting passively in meetings with no clue of the things being discussed. 

In this regard, you can use DACI and RACI, which are two frameworks that can be used to determine who should be invited to a meeting.

Additionally, DACI is an abbreviation for:

  • Driver: Who will lead the team in making a decision?
  • Approver: Who makes the final decision?
  • Contributor: Who is participating in the project’s development?
  • Informed: Who will be kept up to date after each meeting?

Likewise, RACI stands for:

  • Responsible: Which member of the team supervises the project?
  • Accountable: Who will you entrust this project to?
  • Consulted: Which team members should be consulted about the project?
  • Informed: Who will be kept up to date on project developments?

However, whether you select DACI or RACI, the outcomes of implementing either framework are similar:

  • Meetings are organized by drivers and responsible parties.
  • Contributors and members of the consulting team attend and provide feedback.
  • Decisions are signed off on by accountable partners or approvers.
  • After the meeting, informed team members receive an update.

12- Promote non-traditional brainstorming

Brainstorming may occur in a classic office setting where everyone gathers around a large conference table in a room full of candies and a whiteboard. 

Collective brainstorming may seem like one of the remote collaboration challenges. But it is not!

Promote non-traditional brainstorming

Your remote teams can also brainstorm in this manner, with the exception that it takes place virtually.

However, you might want to spice up your thinking sessions with some exercise.

Instead of a video call, you can give everyone a set of wireless earphones, which will encourage them to take the call while out walking, lifting weights, climbing stairs, performing yoga, and so on.

But beware that this is not the right time to perform HIIT workouts or boot camp, as no one should be out of breath or preoccupied. 

13- Transfer shared resources to the cloud

All shared resources should be stored in the cloud for a remote workforce to collaborate productively. Also, it’s one of the effective collaboration techniques as it allows your employees to access the most recent version of critical documents at any time. 

Additionally, cloud platforms for businesses have security and stability as their priority. And so when you use them, you can:

  • Allow or deny file access
  • Require a business domain login
  • Turn on multi-factor authentication
  • Establish knowledge repositories
  • Work with your peers on shared papers
  • Organize papers by department or project 

View stats on how your teams are using the cloud and files by department or project

Lastly, your employees can potentially save or replicate critical company data to their hard drives in the absence of a cloud system for simple retrieval. And this can lead to compromising information security and data.

Take the first step towards the productive collaboration of your remote team

first step towards the productive collaboration of your remote team

Recognizing and rewarding your employees can go a long way in making all your employees work with better productivity.

Employee appreciation programs, according to a 2019 Globoforce poll, are associated with increased employee engagement (meaning increased productivity as well. And according to a survey of over 2,000 employees, 89% of those who indicated their company provided rewards and recognition were engaged in their roles.

global force report

One of the WorkHub tools, BRAVO, a rewards recognition platform, allows you to efficiently recognize your employees to keep them working with the highest levels of efficiency.

Not only does this allow you to recognize employees on its platform, but you can also perform employee recognition with it on any BRAVO-integrated platform.

Moreover, WorkHub comes with WorkHub Connect, which is especially useful in making remote teams communicate and collaborate effectively.

To conclude, you get engagement and recognition for your employees at a relatively extremely low cost. So, book a free demo today and begin your journey with us!