According to predictions, 25% of jobs will be remote by the end of this year. This trend will continue in the coming years. People love remote work; no commutes, fewer interruptions, higher productivity. But the one thing that gets a little harder when your teams are dispersed, is collaboration. Microsoft recently studied the behavior and attitudes of more than 61,000 of their employees and found “employees were less likely to have ties with colleagues in other business units after remote work took hold.”
How can companies overcome the challenges of remote work and improve collaboration between their teams?
Improving Remote Team Collaboration
The first problem with remote work is that there are no clear boundaries between home and office. At least when employees commuted, they were able to have a physical separation between work and home. It also may be harder to focus at home, with interruptions and distractions.
From the perspective of the team, communication becomes harder when teams are dispersed. Instead of popping your head around a corner to ask a question, you need to use whatever electronic software you have available. When your colleague isn’t just down the hall, it’s harder to coordinate tasks, share details, and make sure everyone is on the same page.
To improve collaboration and overcome these challenges your team should:
- Focus on setting clear goals and assigning tasks. There should be monthly and quarterly goals with clear milestones that are rewarded.
- Set up regular meetings with agendas. Start with a daily standup. For 15-minutes, kick off the day with goals and set the team’s focus. There should also be a weekly recaps of what was accomplished.
- Create discussion channels for a collaborative environment. Setting up a live chat and instant messaging to provide the same kind of back and forth you had in an office setting. You can set up dedicated channels for specific projects or topics—including fun topics that include group interests.
- Use more video chat. Real-time communication allows you to see body language including the bright smiles of your coworkers. You can use video chat to do fun events like virtual happy hours or promote milestone events like birthdays.
- Celebrate team wins, both large and small. Tracking individual and team progress naturally lends itself to rewarding your staff. It’s these rewards that engage your workforce in the success of the organization. No matter where your employees work, this is a great way to encourage collaboration and team success.
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