Picture this: You're sitting in your home office, coffee in hand, with your favorite music playing in the background. As you type away on your laptop, you're confident that your remote team, spread across the globe, is working in harmony to achieve the company's goals. It's a scene that could have been pulled straight from a futuristic movie. How did you achieve such seamless collaboration in a world where face-to-face interaction is becoming increasingly rare? The answer lies in the smart strategies you've implemented, which not only bridge the physical distance between your team members but also create a thriving, connected workforce.
As technology advances, the world of work is rapidly changing. Remote work is now becoming the norm, rather than the exception. In fact, a study by Upwork reveals that by 2028, 73% of all departments will have remote workers. In this new digital age, the importance of fostering a powerful collaborative environment is more critical than ever before. Are you prepared to embrace these changes and elevate your remote team to new heights?
In this article, we will explore seven innovative strategies that can revolutionize the way your remote team collaborates. By reimagining the traditional approach to team collaboration, you will not only be ahead of the curve but will also create a lasting impact on your organization.
Communication and collaboration coexist together. If there is no communication, then collaboration cannot be present.
The key element for remote workers to improve team communication is the use of a practical communication tool. A practical tool may be any platform that facilitates virtual interactions by enabling clear and effective communication. According to a survey by Slack, 90% of workers say that tools designed for collaboration help them communicate more effectively with their teams.
More precisely, how to know if the tools used are effective or not? Easy. The use of appropriate effective tools for productive remote communication is one essential condition. These tools should provide transparency, clarity, trust, and coherent communication between team members and leaders. Companies like Zapier have found success by leveraging various communication tools such as Slack, Trello, and Zoom to keep their remote team connected and productive.
Furthermore, an intelligent approach would be to ask the team questions about the challenges they are experiencing. Which remote challenges are they struggling to unpuzzle? How can you assist them in solving their issue?
In such a manner, you take instant action to establish successful communication and initiate dynamic collaborations and create a healthy work environment.
2. Encourage “yin-yang” collaborations
Yin-Yang collaboration is a term used to describe the interaction between folks that have different backgrounds, abilities, and even languages.
This wise symbol of harmony and balance has been implemented as a strategy for many businesses. More specifically as a balancing act that empowers collaboration and expansion into the marketplace. A report by McKinsey shows that diverse companies are 35% more likely to outperform their non-diverse counterparts. At first, this type of collaboration may seem challenging and absurd, but in reality, it’s precisely this challenge that makes the difference.
Unquestionably it triggers teammates to get out of their comfort zones and be eager to learn from each other. It stimulates employees to compromise into finding a win-win maneuver for both of them.
Although working with people that have the same background seems safer, it doesn’t get you far in the long run. Success never came in the coziness of comfort zones.Therefore, encourage your team members to learn from each other and to find ways to put their different abilities to use.
“To build a strong team, you must see someone else’s strength as a complement to your weakness and not a threat to your position or authority.” – Christine Caine
You would be surprised by the output that this type of collaboration can bring.
Transparency amongst the remote team is one of the most important elements of successful team collaboration.
It’s the catalyst that builds trust, improves communication, and increases engagement among team members.
According to a survey by Harvard Business Review, 70% of employees are more willing to engage when the leader updates and communicates about the company strategy. With this being said, leaders and managers carry the biggest responsibility to maintain transparency in their remote teams. Some practical ways they can do this is, for example, to send regular emails or organize specific meetings to keep the team updated. They have the right to be informed about everything that happens around their workplace.
If one of the employees feels like they are being treated unfairly, their will to work with integrity will fade. Additionally, the employee won’t work at their best capacity and won’t commit to the tasks. Collaboration as a team is successful when every team member is valued and treated fairly. If you want the working-from-home concept to be a success, you have to acknowledge the outstanding impact that every team member makes.
4. Be mindful of others’ time zones
If you are working with people from different time zones, be cautious of their working hours if you want to increase team performance.
Having to wake up early or stay up late to attend meetings is a common challenge that remote teams have. However, it's crucial for this issue to be solved as fast as possible. A study by YouCanBook.me found that productivity drops by 50% for every hour a meeting takes place outside an employee's regular work hours.
Collaboration is an interaction that requires the two parties to establish reasonable ways to make it effective. Having to collaborate with a team member outside working hours can work for a couple of days but eventually, it will get overwhelming.
It will get overwhelming for employees physically because there is no time left for them to recharge. This approach also can make them less respectful towards other teammates. Consequently, employees lose the motivation to collaborate if other teammates don’t respect them.
5. Organize activities to break the “virtual ice” between members
Breaking the virtual ice between team members means making the team feel comfortable with the online presence of their teammates.
One good step would be to introduce virtual team building. Organizing funny activities for the team to bond and know each other is a great way to empower collaborations. A Gallup study shows that close work friendships can increase employee satisfaction by 50%, leading to better team collaboration.
However, these activities should be effective in fulfilling the overall goal of breaking the ice. Virtual interaction can be very stressful since outside of the laptop life still goes on for everyone. That’s why these activities should be thought of in every detail.
Elements such as time, type of activity, and team agendas should be taken into consideration. Therefore, show understanding to your team and even ask for their feedback in order to achieve the purpose of these activities. Are these events helpful to them or stressful? What they did or didn’t like about the previous events? What kind of activities would they prefer?
A remote team can achieve great things by working together towards shared goals. Leaders and managers should set clear goals for the team to pursue. Team members should be aware of the task they have to complete and the overall goal that is expected of them. The collaboration cannot be effective if one of the parties isn’t clear on the task they have to complete.
Therefore, ensure that every team member is going in the right direction by checking on them through meetings or as we usually do it, through “Tapchat.”
Emphasizing that these goals should be realistic and inside of the employee's scope of work. The Harvard Business Review suggests that setting SMART(Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound) goals can boost productivity by up to 30%.
This way, employees will feel reciprocated and driven to be more engaging in their individual and team tasks. Using this tactic will definitely help you reap long-term benefits.
Rewarding your team members doesn’t mean giving them a free trip to Ibiza. Even though that is not a bad idea if they deserve it.
However, there are different ways to reward your team members. For example, you can give them a thank you note, a day off, or even just a digital gift card. The purpose of this strategy is to make your team feel appreciated but also motivated to keep going.
How can this improve collaboration?
It means to convince the team of the cause-and-effect principle. According to the principle, every effect has a predictable and certain cause. This way, they can predict what their input can produce. If they keep doing a good job, the output would be a good reward.
A report by The Incentive Research Foundation suggests that well-designed incentive programs can increase performance by 22% for individuals and 44% for teams, which leads to more effective collaboration.
To sum up, building powerful collaboration in the world of digital communication isn’t as complicated as it seems. In fact, what is needed is a practical strategy to implement or in our case, seven strategies.
Now that you are at the end of the article, let us know what strategy you implement or what you think is more crucial?
Embracing these strategies can revolutionize your remote team's collaboration and help your organization thrive in an increasingly digital and globalized world. Remember that successful collaboration requires continuous effort, transparency, and a genuine commitment to supporting the growth and well-being of your team members. As Christine Caine said, "To build a strong team, you must see someone else’s strength as a complement to your weakness and not a threat to your position or authority." Invest in your team's potential, and the results will speak for themselves.
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