Understanding Collaboration with RemoteTeams Better

Understanding how to make collaboration with remote teams possible may make it easier to adapt to the remote working environment. Along with that, it may also become possible to implement the relevant best practices that let the in-office employees have better collaboration with remote teams.

On the other hand, remote work is growing more prevalent, with over 4.7 million Americans working from home at least half the time. In fact, according to one study, 22% of American employees will be going remote by 2025.

Not only that, 97.6% of participants in recent Buffer research indicated they’d like to work remotely, at least occasionally, for the rest of their careers.

Defining the remote work

When a group of individuals collaborates virtually or remotely, they do it by using online resources like video conferencing tools, file sharing systems, and task tracking and management tools.

Defining the remote work

Simply said, a remote collaboration refers to your team working remotely together.

It is relevant to mention and define the hybrid nature of working: While some teams operate entirely remotely, many teams work partially remotely and partially from the office, meaning that they work hybrid.

This also implies that while the majority of the team continues to operate in an office setting, a portion of it is doing so from home.

Hybrid work is most suited to the team members that discover that remote working two or three days a week and coming into the office the other days is the best suited for them, particularly for having healthy social interactions.

Adapting for an effective remote communication

a) Learn what is urgent and what is not?

Learn what is urgent and what is not

Change your expectations in order to take into account this new notion of ‘urgent’ when trying to practice collaboration in virtual teams. So, develop the ability to differentiate between what you need immediately and what can be waited until the other person is available.

Depending on the communication channel, you might be able to get what you need by making a request in the appropriate chat channel or through email.

But there will still be times when ‘now’ really does mean ‘right now,’ which is why it’s so important to have a strategy implemented for such emergencies.

For instance, you might advise everyone to use the team chat software for all conversations and reserve direct messaging for urgent matters.

Making a special channel on your platform for matters that require urgent attention is an additional choice.

b) Use tools that make collaboration in virtual teams better

Do you desire greater productivity and efficiency from your team? Then you might wish to think bigger and spend money on a platform for effective communication while working remotely.

Relevantly, you can use WorkHub, which helps in performing more beneficial tasks during your working hours.

Along with that, it helps to:

  • Make the remote teams collaborate effectively
  • Find ways to streamline the process.
  • Perform employee recognition

c) Make yourself familiar with asynchronous (non-real-time) communications.

Make yourself familiar with asynchronous (non-real-time) communications

Probably, there is no such way to ensure that your team members will read your correspondence right away while making collaboration with remote teams.

Additionally, if you have a team based on international members that belong to various nations and time zones, they probably won’t be able to reply to you at the same time.

Working from the office, you have some 8 hours to determine what you need from your peers. However, for collaboration with remote teams, you don’t have that luxury.

For that reason, we need to become familiar with such situations and adapt to the asynchronous type of communication.

Practices For Effective Communication While Working Remotely

1) Learn to hold productive meetings

Learn to hold productive meetings

Every meeting should start out with an objective and a specific goal in mind. This also applies to in-person meetings, but it is particularly true when you are required to make collaboration with remote teams possible.

Following are some ways to make your meetings rather productive:

i) Prepare in advance

It’s rarely sufficient to plan a general theme for a meeting. 

If you’re in charge of the meeting, it’s your responsibility to draft an agenda describing the crucial topics you want to discuss.

ii) Think about the future

Let the other team members know in advance whether you want them to speak out or contribute information during the meeting. 

By doing this, they may prepare the precise information you need in advance rather than giving you an estimate right away.

iii) Maintain a notebook and take notes

Allow a team member to record meeting minutes and notes. 

To be useful for future reference, ask them to sum up any important ideas that were discussed throughout the meeting, important discussion points, or interesting keywords.

iv) Record the meeting

One of the great things about video conferences is that you can easily start a video recording and watch it whenever you choose( just as you can using the WorkHub Connect).

However, if you have team members using connections with limited bandwidth, consider the fact that recordings on most video conference systems can get huge.

2) Encourage video-interactions

Encourage video-interactions

The quickest and simplest form of communication is chat. But when it comes to ensuring collaboration between remote teams, there is no substitute for videos.

The Harvard Business Review claims that focusing on improving the trust and dependency between team members helps boost team performance. Video interactions can therefore be quite beneficial in this aspect.

So, whenever you’re conducting a meeting, ask your team members to use video wherever possible.

Furthermore, describing anything in detail via chat can frequently lead to a long, clumsy message that is as difficult to read.

To conclude, collaboration with remote teams requires you to reduce a 10-minute chat conversation to a quick 30-second video-based one.

3) Establish some ground rules for communication

It is extremely important that you outline some communication protocols to make the in-office employees’ collaboration with remote teams possible.

Your team needs to establish a communication protocol that details how all company conversations will be handled.

The communication rules can consist of determining the time when messaging personally can be allowed, along with deciding what communication-related behaviors are desired and unacceptable.

It’s crucial to remember that collaboration with remote teams is not bound by the same social norms that we consider normal in the actual world.

Importantly, even though every person will respond differently when approached outside of regular working hours, it is still important to set basic boundaries and guidelines. Therefore, make sure that your employees are aware of the proper methods for interacting after hours.

4) Promote frequent communication

Promote frequent communication

It is crucial to stress that excessive communication in this situation does not equate to needless communication.

It includes going above and beyond to make sure that your communication is as precise as possible. Here are some suggestions you may use for effective collaboration with remote teams:

  • Hold routine video calls to catch up with your team because emails and chats do not include body cues. For example, your expressions (facial) or hand gestures help convey a message, which holds immense importance for effective remote communication.
  • Be extremely careful when crafting your communications, placing a strong emphasis on simplicity and clarity.
  • Be transparent about your goals with everyone. If your staff is multicultural, refrain from employing idioms or regional slang that foreign employees may not understand.
  • Encourage the members of your team to ask questions if they are unclear about a procedure, approach, message, or anything else.

How to build an effective remote team?

1) Differentiate between concise and clear communications

We might use fewer words to communicate in a hybrid workspace in order to collaborate more efficiently.

Such simplicity, however, can cause the remainder of the team to waste time trying to understand your instructions before misinterpreting them.

Don’t assume that people will understand your jargon and hints. So, regardless of the media, spend time talking with the aim of being very clear.

2) Recognize when a meeting should take place

Daily meetings are usually a good idea, but it’s crucial to avoid using meetings too frequently if you want your remote workers to work together efficiently.

According to the MIT Sloan Management Review, less essential data could take up to 50% of meeting time. Furthermore, meetings can also interfere with scheduling and detract from productive time.

It is frequently helpful to establish clear rules for when to schedule meetings and when to deliver messages in order to guarantee that virtual meetings enhance rather than hamper remote teams’ productivity. 

3) Be specific about objectives and goals

Be specific about objectives and goals

Supervisors or managers must stress to their teams the need to give them precise instructions. Team leaders, therefore, must define goals and objectives for better collaboration with remote teams.

Also, remote team members must be aware of the standards for remote cooperation in the workplace if they are to boost team productivity. It is because if team members are unclear about their goals, remote collaboration solutions may become useless.

In this regard, it is essential to hold online team meetings and keep one another informed of tasks and progress in order to make sure that the processes are running smoothly (no doubt that meetings are great for giving updates to all team members and keeping everyone on the same page).

Collaboration with Remote Teams: The advantages

During the 2020 COVID epidemic and subsequent shutdown, several teams were compelled to go digital. However, it also led to fears that productivity rates might collapse. Surprisingly, as opposed to the expectations, many organizations did not experience that.

One study found that 94% of businesses said their productivity rates had either grown or stayed the same in comparison to pre-COVID eras. So, this study strongly disproved the widely mentioned assumption that teams must be personally/ in-person watched to be held accountable for their work.

No doubt that employers’ perceptions of remote engagement and its effectiveness were changed by the findings. However, at the same time, the perspectives of the employees were also altered. 

When compared to employees who were required to come into the office each weekday, remote workers reported feeling content at work 22% more commonly. Additionally, many mentioned feeling less worried, more focused, and better able to combine their professional and personal lives.

primary benefits of remote teams

Better work/life balance

Working remotely, for one thing, allows team members to enjoy both ends of the cake. 

Meaning that each team member may perform at their highest level and have a more relaxed lifestyle with flexible hours and the ability to work from any location.

Use this example to illustrate your concept. 

Roberts owns a self-storage business in Philadelphia and rents a stunning house in South Carolina with a pool. He drove his small family there on Thanksgiving to stay for a month despite the advice to stay at home and the fact that the schools were still closed. 

Yet, he was able to run his business remotely from his laptop while still getting to experience a change of scenery and spend time with his family.

Additionally, an asynchronous timetable frees each team member from being compelled to work on a more conventional 9–5 schedule and allows them to work when they are at their highest levels of creativity and energy.

As a result, remote team members are better able to incorporate their job into the lifestyles of their choice, which improves their mood and enables them to maintain a more positive balance between their personal and professional lives.

Reduced Travel times

In a remote workplace environment, team members can process team input and projects during remote team meetings as well as come up with their own ideas for the team’s benefit instead of spending several hours each day while stuck in traffic on their way to/ from work.

In essence, each team member can more completely understand and plan for how to best apply the strategies outlined in their remote meetings; thanks to the gap that a remote working environment provides between discussions, planning, and implementation.

Making Collaboration with Remote Teams Better using WorkHub

To begin with, WorkHub is specifically made to fulfill the needs of your remote teams so that they can work successfully. So, it makes it possible for your employees working from the office to achieve better collaboration with remote teams.

It has always been stressed that rewarding team accomplishments and performance is essential to successful remote teamwork.

One of the WorkHub tools, BRAVO, is specially designed for team recognition and awards. So, it can significantly improve how well a remote workforce collaborates.

Additionally, WorkHub also includes WorkHub Connect, which offers all the necessary features to make remote work efficient: an intelligent team wall, real-time screen sharing, call recording with video and audio, and much more.

Before you start using WorkHub for all of your remote work setups for a very minimal cost, you can book a free demo here to get a practical demonstration of its usefulness for you.