Practices That Make Remote Collaboration Efficient

Remote collaboration is simply the way the modern world works for many of us.

However, many teams are still struggling to create a streamlined online workflow that allows them to retain the same levels of productivity they had before being remote.

To be fair, transitioning from an office atmosphere to working with remote teams is a significant change for anyone.

In a remote environment, face-to-face discussions, problem-solving sessions, and water cooler chats are not possible. And turbulence is unavoidable when your team members aren’t used to living their work lives entirely online.

But don’t you worry! We’ve developed a list of six crucial ideas to help you get the most out of your remote cooperation.

Remote Collaboration Best Practices

Remote collaboration best practices

1. Create communication protocols

Your team must have a defined communication protocol that specifies how work-related communications will be handled.

The communication platform includes deciding which apps to use, how scheduling will operate when personal messages are permitted, and what behaviors in communications are acceptable and undesirable.

Importantly, don’t expect the same social standards that we take for granted in the real world to apply to remote collaboration.

Moreover, though each person will react differently to being approached outside of usual business hours, it is still vital to establish ground rules and boundaries. Therefore, ensure that your team members understand the dos and don’ts of communicating outside of work hours.

The takeaway is that respect the time and privacy of your team. You should not contact a team member at all hours of the day just because you can.

2. Communicate excessively

The primary distinction between remote and in-person collaboration is, of course, how your team communicates. 

And this includes not only shifting from face-to-face talks to chat rooms and video meetings, but also altering how you formulate instructions and express ideas.

It is vital to highlight that overcommunication in this context does not mean unnecessary communication.

Also, importantly, excessive micromanagement of your virtual team members through regular check-ins and communications might be distracting.

Micromanagement demonstrates a lack of confidence in your team’s ability to do their work to specification and on time, which can be harmful to your remote collaboration environment.

Moreover, overcommunication involves going above and above to ensure that your communication is as concise and clear as possible. Here are some ideas to implement as a team to improve in this area:

a) Hold regular video calls with your team to catch up because emails and instant messengers lack the benefit of bodily clues (such as facial expressions or hand motions) to help convey a message.

b) Take great care about how you word your messages, emphasizing simplicity and clarity.

c) Make your intentions clear to everyone. If your team is international, avoid using idioms or regional turns of phrases that cannot be understood by overseas employees.

d) Encourage your team members to raise questions if an instruction, method, communication, or anything else is confusing them.

3. Learn how to hold fruitful meetings

Learn how to hold fruitful meetings

Every meeting should begin with an agenda and a clear plan for what you hope to accomplish.

This is true for in-person meetings as well, however, for virtual teams, it is especially true:

Plan ahead of time: It’s rarely enough to have a broad theme in mind for a 30-minute meeting and then wing it. If you’re in control of the meeting, you’re responsible for creating an agenda outlining the important issues you wish to cover.

Consider the future: If you want other team members to speak up or provide information during the meeting, make sure you tell them before it starts. This way, they can prepare the exact details you require ahead of time, rather than providing an estimate on the spot.

Take notes and keep track: Assign a team member to take minutes and notes at each meeting. Request that they summarize any essential concepts delivered throughout the meeting, key talking points, or intriguing keywords that may be useful for future reference.

Record: The best part about virtual meetings is that you can start a video recording with just a click and refer to it whenever you want. Keep in mind that recordings on most video meeting platforms can get rather large, which might be an issue if you have team members working on a bandwidth-limited connection.

4. Make use of video(s) whenever possible

Chat is the easiest and fastest way to communicate, but it’s also vital to remember that you should be able to see the person you’re communicating with.

According to the Harvard Business Review, the greatest strategy to improve team performance is to focus on enhancing team members’ values, trust, and interdependence. So, video interactions can greatly help in this regard.

Therefore, when hosting meetings, request that your team members use video whenever possible.

Outside of live chats, video can also be used. Moreover, explaining anything in detail over chat may often result in a lengthy, cumbersome message that is as exhausting to read as it is to write.

So, a video-based collaboration can turn a 10-minute chat conversation into a short 30-second instruction.

To conclude, even if it’s only for 15 minutes a day, regular video conferences can help establish bonds and foster understanding among members of your team.

5. Transfer your collaboration to the cloud

What are you waiting for if you aren’t currently keeping all of your data in the cloud?

Not only does having all of your critical files in one place make it easier for all of your team members to access them, but it also helps prevent version control difficulties and removes the need for needless check-ins.

Instead of having to ask team members for the most recent versions of whatever they’re working on every time you need them, you can simply log into your online storage account and download the most recent version.

This also guarantees that various divisions of your team aren’t working from different versions of the same document. So, it ensures that none is wasting hours composing a report based on old and obsolete performance metrics.

Many platforms also include productivity-boosting capabilities such as real-time collaborative editing of text documents and spreadsheets, allowing you to edit a report while discussing it with your colleagues.

If you’re concerned about team members accessing documents they shouldn’t because most cloud storage providers allow administrator accounts to control who has access to what files.

Lastly, it’s easy to get started in regard to transferring your collaboration to the cloud: simply create an account on any of the cloud platforms, and it will be sufficient for your team’s purposes.

6. Make use of several channels to avoid information overload

Make use of several channels to avoid information overload

Live chat systems are crucial for quick and efficient remote collaboration. However, limiting all talks to a single, general-purpose channel might actually decrease productivity.

When all communication is routed through the same channel, team members can feel burdened by pages of communication. Furthermore, the majority of such documents have little to do with their work.

So, if a person understands that the conversation will be filled with messages that are irrelevant to them, they will disconnect or use alternative ways of communication outside of the system.

Set up channels for several essential themes and encourage your team to use them. For example, you may have a separate channel for engineering-related discussions.Anyone who wants to discuss or ask a question regarding engineering will know that the engineering channel is the best place to find someone to talk to.

Depending on your team members’ computer proficiency, you may need to spend a few weeks introducing your virtual team to the ins and outs of multi-channel interactions.

And while this may become annoying, it is a one-time effort (and also worth it!). Consequently, they’ll never want to go back once they’ve gotten into the rhythm.

Nevertheless, this is not to say that general chat channels should be abandoned.

The primary chat channel serves as a gathering place for team members from all divisions.

If you will, consider such channels as a virtual water cooler where members can engage in chit-chat or discuss light issues when they are not working on their next milestone.

Even if your team works remotely, forcing them to discuss only specific, business-related issues is not beneficial to a nice, collaborative remote work atmosphere.

How can you adapt to remote collaboration?

How can you adapt to remote collaboration

In an in-office work environment, contacting Jane in marketing is as simple as it can get.  However, that is not an option for virtual teams.

One of the most difficult aspects of adapting to remote work is accepting that you have limited access to the other members of your team.

Following our some ways that help you adapt better to a remotely collaborative work environment:

1) Reconsider the term “urgency”

When trying to adapt to remote collaboration, change your expectations to reflect this new definition of “urgent.”  So, learn to recognize what you require right now and what you require as soon as possible.

Depending on how your communications are organized, a request in the proper chat channel or an email may be sufficient to bring you what you’re looking for.

Nevertheless, there will still be occasions when right now means right now, which is why having a plan in place for such emergency situations is critical.

or example, you may urge all talks to take place through the team chat platform and save direct, personal messaging for time-sensitive issues.

Another option is to create a dedicated emergency channel on your platform.

But whatever technique you adopt, keep in mind that these emergency channels should not be abused. After all, nothing is an emergency when everything is an emergency.

2) Invest in appropriate collaborative tools

Do you want your team to be more efficient and productive? Then you might want to think bigger and invest in a remote collaboration platform, such as WorkHub, which can help you perform more meaningful activities during your given working hours along with:

  • Examine how your team’s time is being used.
  • Determine how you can improve the workflow.
  • Detect burnout before it happens, and much more.

3) Familiarize yourself with asynchronous communication

In a remote setting, there is no way to guarantee that your communications will be read immediately by your team members. Furthermore, if you have an international team with people in different countries and time zones, they most likely will not be able to respond to you simultaneously.

If you require a crucial item from someone else on the team during your typical 9-to-5 workday, you have from 9 AM to 5 PM to identify what you need. As a result, you can express that need to the appropriate person, and obtain certain results.

Additionally, the document that you need could be sitting on their computer, which may make it unreachable outside of business hours. So when you say you need it soon, you really mean you need it within the next hour or two.

In remote collaborations, a crucial piece of data you require for next week’s achievement does not have to be given to you before the office closes and the systems are turned off.

While, in a way, it is greatly helpful, contacting someone outside of work hours may lead to creating bad taste amongst peers. So, it is crucial that everyone in a remote collaboration gets used to being contacted outside of the official hours.

The takeaway: Real-world and virtual urgency are not synonymous, and when you work in an office, you must abide by strict time constraints.

How does WorkHub help in a remote collaboration environment?

WorkHub is exclusively designed to improve remote collaboration in a hybrid or all-remote work environment.

It is one of the most cost-effective platforms for improving the performance of the teams working in remote or hybrid setups.

In a nutshell, it is an outstanding option in this regard!

In addition to this, it combines internal and external communications to provide an all-in-one experience for all of your remote and hybrid communication requirements.

WorkHub’s technology also integrates external communications, enabling any external client to communicate with members of the internal team.

Ultimately, its functionality is particularly designed to increase collaboration in a remote and hybrid team setting.

You can book a demo here to practically experience the use of WorkHub in making remote teams collaborate better.