6 Ways to Improve Collaboration in Remote Teams

Posted by Jake Mandel on Aug, 24, 2022

Giving employees the option to continue to work remotely as everything gets back to normal is something that many employees really appreciate, and it can help improve morale and productivity. 

Even if it’s part of a hybrid work set up, where some days are spent in the office and the rest of the week is spent working from home, allowing teams to work remotely also opens your company up to a larger pool of talent.

But remote teams aren’t without their challenges. One of the biggest challenges that remote teams face is how to maintain collaboration when team members aren’t located in the same office. The good news is, there are lots of ways to mitigate this issue. 

Here are six ways to improve collaboration in remote teams. 

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  1. Give your team the right tools 

Without the proper tools and resources, collaboration can be nearly impossible. If you’re business is using remote teams, you need to ensure they have tools for: 

  • Project management that allows for collaboration, such as those with project discussions, tagging, multiple user profiles, the ability to include links and attachments and more
  • Video conferencing. 
  • Chats that provide channels for different topics so that discussions are clear and teams can keep on track. 
  • Real-time collaboration, such as Google Docs and Sheets. 

In addition to providing the right tools, you want to ensure your team is properly trained on how to use them. If even one employee misses out on training or doesn’t understand how to use the tools, it could have a huge impact on the success of your remote team. 

  1. Be transparent about expectations 

When you have remote teams, it’s important to set out guidelines so that everyone knows what is expected of them. This includes working with your team to lay out a set of core hours when everyone is expected to be available for meetings and impromptu discussions. This doesn’t mean you have to dictate a specific eight to nine-hour day. If you want to provide your teams with more flexibility find a two to six hour period that works for everyone and let the remaining time be flex time. 

In addition, you need to set guidelines for how team members are expected to communicate in different situations and on what channels. For example, maybe daily back and forths will be done through a specific chat platform, but approvals need to go through email. Similarly, you may require that all meetings be video conferences. 

What works for your team will depend on your company and your individual team members. The key here is to ensure everyone knows what is to be expected of them as part of a team. 

  1. Set group goals as well as individual ones 

Giving each team member specific goals and objectives is important to their individual growth and success. But to encourage collaboration you also want to create measurable team goals that everyone can work together. 

While the goals you set for your team will depend on your specific company and team responsibilities, you want to be sure that they include both short term and long-term objectives. This will ensure your team is reaching core company objectives, while also giving them easy wins that keep morale high and add variety to the workday/week. 

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  1. Don’t go crazy with meetings 

Meetings are a great way to collaborate but if they aren’t managed properly, they can quickly become tedious and a waste of time. To ensure meetings are productive and that they add value to your remote teams, try to keep them to 30 minutes or less and ensure there’s a clear reason for the meeting. You can also improve the meeting experience by: 

  • Creating a quick agenda and sending it to attendees in advance of the meeting so they have time to brainstorm and prepare. This doesn’t have to be anything too complicated. Just a quick bullet list of why you are holding the meeting and what you want to cover. 
  • Taking notes and sending them out after the meeting. Be sure the notes include a section on actionable items. Again, these don’t have to be fancy – just a quick bullet list to ensure everyone is on the same page. 
  • Only inviting people who actually need to be there. It’s easy to get carried away with the invite list when organizing remote meetings but taking the time to think about who really needs to be there will streamline the meeting and make it more productive. You will also reduce the risk of causing meeting fatigue. 

  1. Allow people to turn off 

Because remote working gives us the ability to work anywhere, anytime, team members and management can quickly forget that employees need down time. Without it, they can quickly get overwhelmed and burnt out. 

Going back to our second point on clear expectation, be sure that your team knows when they are expected to be available and how many hours they need to put in per day. If you want to give your teams more flexibility, be sure they have a way of letting their team know when they are online and when they have checked out for the day. 

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  1. Create opportunities for social connection 

Often we don’t realize just how much socialization happens in the workplace. From good morning check-ins and lunchtime chats to water cooler banter and impromptu brainstorming sessions – there are several opportunities to connect with other people both personally and professionally. This helps develop a team bond and strong collaboration. 

When your team is working remotely, it’s important to try and add this human touch. Some ways you can create opportunities for social interaction include: 

  • 10-to-20-minute coffee chats in the morning before everyone really get working 
  • Virtual trivia games and quizzes 
  • Online and in-person teambuilding activities 
  • Book clubs 
  • Recurring meetings specifically for sharing stories
  • Create virtual break rooms using chat channels or video conferencing  

TEAM BASED EXPERIENCES >>Collaboration is critical to the success of any team whether in-person, remote or hybrid. By taking these steps, you can help ensure your remote team continues to work collaboratively and effectively. Interested in learning more? Get in touch with Teambonders today.

Tags: Team Building