How do you collaborate with a remote team?
Collaborating with a remote team is not something unique anymore. More than a year of COVID-19 pandemic, and it has become a norm. So, how do you collaborate effectively? A short-list of the necessities would be:
- transparent and defined work schedule
- remote team collaboration software
- defined communication channels
- clear and realistic deadlines
- culture of trust
Let’s talk about each in detail.
For some of us remote working turned out to be a better option, and some of us are struggling with it. However, both groups need the same to be as productive as they would have been in the office. Here are the five most essential things that you need to incorporate in your team in order to maintain a high level of efficiency.
1. Transparent and defined work schedule
The main concern in all types of work is availability. Do your team members need to be available and at work all at the same time? If that’s not crucial for your work, why don’t give them the possibility to decide on when they want to work? It shouldn’t involve changing their schedules at the last minute but rather give them the freedom to select their working hours. You will need to start with these simple questions to each of them:
- What are their defined working hours they guarantee they are working and available for an urgent call?
- When do everyone’s working hours overlap and is this overlapping enough for all necessary team meetings, etc.?
- Is it okay to call your team members without scheduling the call first?
Having this information you will create your team schedule. Your team members will be aware of the hours they may reach out to a particular person for a one-on-one discussion, and the hours you have team meetings. It may sound like something very hard to manage but in most cases, team members are willing to shift their working hours in order to make them suitable for the whole team.
2. Remote team collaboration software
So, you have your team schedule. Now you should think of the best tools that you may have to be able to collaborate. It’s good that you have plenty of online applications that your team may use to cover different areas of work. Even before the pandemic started it might probably be that you did most of your work using online tools. The surveys showed that the majority of people who had to work from home found it somewhat easy to have all the necessary software that they need for work. However, easy doesn’t mean efficient. McKinsey survey showed that 85% of companies have somehow accelerated digitization of employee collaboration
Companies are turning from traditional approaches to more flexible and agile. In terms of technologies as well. On average, each company has a stack of a minimum of 10 digital tools for their workers to use daily, including Gmail, apps for video calls, data storage, text and data processing apps like Word, Excel or Google Spreadsheets and Docs. Though there’s not a question of why we need online collaboration tools, but rather a question, what tool will be the best for my team.
Kanbanchi will suit the needs of Google Workspace users because it’s integrated with the Google ecosystem and lives inside your Google Drive.
3. Defined communication channels
Your team should agree at the very beginning what will be the main communication channel. If you agree it will eliminate misunderstanding in the future. You might want to use your collaboration software as the priority channel 😉
At the same time, don’t avoid using different communication means when it’s appropriate. For example, when you need something done urgently, it will hardly be good sending an email and expecting a fast reply. Using instant messenger will be much better in this case. However, don’t forget that messengers take their leading place among the disturbing factors at work, use them carefully.
We won’t pass by the topic of calls and video calls. It’s very important to set the rule for video calls not to become overwhelmed with them. It’s also very much important to know who on your team would not be comfortable with just having a call in the middle of the workday. Notify this person in advance and ask for the best time for a call.
4. Clear and realistic deadlines
Setting clear expectations in advance works out well in any area of life, not only at work. Your whole process of collaboration will go smooth if you start with a proper beginning. Deadlines might be the most dreadful things for one and something that drives the force of the other. In both cases, you need to identify them clearly. Just as you know that goals should be S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound), the deadlines should be as well. There’s no sense in a deadline for building a house that comes in a week, or a deadline to make the report “whenever it is needed”.
5. Culture of trust
All said above is only possible when you have developed a culture of trust in your team. Then you will surely know that everyone is working towards the team goals not against them. Such a kind of culture is not something that’s being built in a day or two but it’s worth it. Transparency in communications and leadership helps to build such a culture. Even the tools you use may help to develop it or ruin it. For example, if you use remote team collaboration software that is flexible and supports everyone’s input, then you are working on building a culture of trust.
Try Kanbanchi as the remote team collaboration software
Using the right apps you will be able to collaborate efficiently. Our platform is designed to support different types of businesses, it’s flexible, agile, and intuitive. Start now and build up your best corporate culture with the best collaboration.