Our earlier tips on maintaining business continuity are now supplemented by six tips that can foster effective remote-team collaboration.

Following our earlier curated articles on business continuity, WFH safety and the future of work in the current era of remote-working and digital-everything business mandate, Maria Espie Vidal of productivity software portal TimeDoctor has offered their take on other useful aspects of re-aligning corporate culture for Work-From-Home and variants of the distributed workforce. Let us take a look:

Managing a remote team is not always as easy … especially for organizations that have never done it before, or if their teams are new to the game.

Ensuring effective collaboration among team members is one of the biggest challenges faced by remote- team managers. If left unaddressed, the hurdles can be counterproductive. Here are some simple but powerful tips that can foster highly-collaborative and efficient remote teams.

  1. Hire the right people
    The success or failure of any team—remote or otherwise—depends largely on its members. So, if you want a highly-collaborative and effective remote team, then start by hiring people who are self-motivated and require minimum supervision.

    An effective remote-worker must possess enough self-discipline and organizational skills to separate work time from fun-time. If your team members cannot muster any sort of productivity without the manager constantly breathing down their necks, then you may want to consider reshuffling the members.
  2. Use the right collaboration tools
    Thanks to technology, there is a tool for pretty much every organizational need. Time tracking tools allow managers and team members to monitor daily performance and productivity, which helps to keep everyone motivated.

    Other tools in the arsenal can include project management, instant messaging, video conferencing, and time-zone management tools. Visual collaboration tools also come in handy for team brainstorming, communication, and presentations.
  3. Communicate expectations clearly
    Keeping everyone on the same page is one of the most challenging parts of managing a remote team, but it is critical to success. For starters, provide a great brief on every assignment.

    A great brief should define the problem clearly, specify how to tackle it, who does what, and when each task is due. Also, everyone should know who they should turn to when they need help or want to provide an update. But beyond the brief, check in with team members to see how they are holding up. Showing care and encouragement is a great way to keep teams motivated and collaborative.
  4. Establish a streamlined process
    Proper collaboration is best achieved under a solid organizational structure. Apart from clearly defining the roles and responsibilities of every team member, there must be a way to assess the work done and measure each individual’s performance. This can easily be accomplished through time-tracking tools.

    Apart from performance, there should be a centrally-accessible shared document or application that all team members can interact on, or send their completed projects to. Having an effective workflow will not only help team members to keep up with their own tasks, but also monitor how their colleagues are doing as well, thereby promoting accountability.
  5. Encourage small talk
    A productive meeting does not necessarily mean being restricted to serious business-related discussions. To build strong rapport and make collaboration a valued thing among team members, encourage small talk.
    Spending a few minutes to catch up with co-workers at the beginning and end of every meeting is a great way to break the ice and create a comfortable environment where everyone feels accepted. This feeling of acceptance can motivate workers to collaborate more effectively and work more efficiently.
  6. Reward good work
    Everyone loves praise, but unfortunately, most people do not get nearly as much as they deserve. It is easy to gloss over a person’s accomplishment as routine, but make it a habit to publicly-recognize workers who do a good job or complete a task in record time. It is also not a bad idea to offer raises to consistent high performers.

    Consistently appreciating and rewarding workers who do a good job will boost their confidence and encourage them to perform even better. It can also motivate those who are lagging to perform better.

Effective collaboration is key to the success of any team. Utilize these tips and improvise as needed to guide remote teams in their remote collaboration to achieve higher productivity than ever before.

DigiconAsia thanks TimeDoctor for the contribution.