15 July 2021
The Best Ways to Deal with Collaboration Challenges in a Remote Team
How remote teams can work together more effectively is a subject that has become hugely important recently. By understanding the main collaboration challenges that we now face due to the popularity of remote working, we can then look at how to overcome them.
Why Is This Now Such a Big Issue?
The massive switch to home working meant that about half of Americans worked from home in the last year, but this was basically an acceleration of an existing trend for working remotely. Advances in technology have allowed an increasing number of us to work from home or from rented office space, far from our colleagues.
It is understandable that far more people now start working in this way. Surveys on the subject show that 65% of Americans want to work remotely on a full-time basis. While 31% would like to stay at home for part of the week.
Many workers who had never before considered the idea of being part of a remote team sampled it during the pandemic. And they also discovered that it felt right for them to work in this way. More mature workers have perhaps benefited from the comfort of home working more than most, but it has been widely accepted by all age groups.
This way of working has proved to be perfect for many people’s lifestyles. It gives them a better world-life balance. But it has also led to issues for some companies who have struggled to adapt to this new approach. While a lot of businesses have found it easy to enjoy the benefits such as lower overheads, happier workers, and added flexibility, others have come across major collaboration challenges.
What Are the Biggest Collaboration Challenges Right Now?
Among these issues are things such as the problems that working in different time zones can cause when arranging meetings. While the presence of multilingual and multi-cultural teams can also make communication awkward at times. Without the possibility of physically meeting each other, there may be additional difficulties. These difficulties are getting team members to bond and feel truly connected.
Some companies have reported workers being disengaged or lacking motivation when they aren’t present in the office. There is also the issue of security. Fears that everyone using their own devices at home could create more opportunities for hackers to access sensitive data.
However, the biggest problem in many cases is that of trying to carry out the same processes in the same ways as before. The companies that have tried to stick to their existing tools and processes have discovered one thing. They are no longer as effective when everyone is located in different places.
Sharing ideas and working together on tasks are vital elements that can be badly affected when the team works remotely. But it doesn’t have the right approach in place for this to happen. Anyone who enjoys sitting next to colleagues and speaking to them face to face could struggle to adapt to not having this level of support all the time.
Yet, it would be a mistake to believe that these collaboration challenges are inherent in remote working and therefore can’t be avoided. The truth is that by putting some thought into it, the majority of businesses can move fairly easily to a more suitable approach.
What Are the Best Solutions?
Perhaps the best way to overcome these challenges is to go back to the beginning and consider what teamwork is really all about. It is about a group of people working together towards the same goal.
Therefore, the starting point is in sharing the overall company vision with all of them. This brings us back to the idea of communication. Lack of communication and transparency is arguably the main issue that causes problems for remote teams from the very start.
Teams need to communicate well to solve problems and to find a way forward that works for everyone. We should remember that most teams have people in them with a range of different skills. This is often what makes them work so well as a group. But it can also cause problems when there is a lack of coordination between them and no clear vision.
Once a good communication plan is in place, you should begin to look at the tools that the team have to work with. New tools are usually needed, as online real-time collaboration across different locations is crucial to the success of any remote team.
The good news is that this technology already exists, with some excellent cloud-based solutions readily available. A good example comes from Google Workspace. It is an online suite of tools that allows the whole team to collaborate on a variety of different types of documents. At the same time, it allows using a highly intuitive approach and a secure, cloud-based network.
Using this suite, each worker can create or amend documents and then share them with the rest of the team. Setting up meetings and sending out emails to discuss the latest suggestions is also simple to do without leaving Workspace. Add this suite to a solid communication strategy and some virtual team-building efforts to see an immediate improvement in collaboration levels.
How Does Kanbanchi Fit In?
One of the issues that have been discovered when using Google Workspace is the lack of dedicated project management or task management tool. This has led to collaboration challenges such as having to create manual workarounds or using some of the Google tools for processes that they weren’t designed for.
Kanbanchi fills this gap neatly, as it is the only project management app that is fully integrated with Workspace. It lets team members manage their workflow and coordinate their tasks with the rest of the workers. An intuitive setup that closely resembles the familiar Google layout means that the team can start using it right away. It also doesn’t require any sort of specialist training being needed.
Don’t let these collaboration challenges derail your attempts to set up an efficient remote team. By understanding the solutions that others in the same position have used, you can make this way of working smoother and easier to get excellent results from.