One of the biggest challenges companies face is improving efficiency. The issue evolved in recent years due to technological developments and the COVID-19 pandemic, as more and more people started working from home.
Working remotely? Here’s something you didn’t know
According to studies conducted by Global Workplace Analytics, over 4.7 million Americans worked remotely in 2019. Nowadays, more than half of the US workforce can telecommute to a certain extent.
But how do you collaborate with your colleagues effectively if you’re all situated in different places? That’s what we’ll be seeking to answer in this article. First, however, we need to understand what remote working even means.
What is Remote Working?
Remote working is the practice of employees fulfilling their roles from a different location than the traditional office – typically the worker’s home.
To fulfill their responsibilities, companies with remote working teams leverage various tools that allow employees to communicate and collaborate on projects over the internet.
Advantages and disadvantages of collaboration with colleagues while remote working
Working from home and collaborating with your colleagues online has its fair share of advantages and disadvantages. These include:
Advantages of Remote Working:
- No need to commute – Save time and money by reducing or eliminating the need for a daily commute.
- More productive with fewer distractions – Control your work environment to avoid distractions and boost productivity. A Cisco study revealed that remote workers perform better and produce higher-quality outputs than usual.
- Better work-life balance – Invest the time you save on your daily commute in personal projects, exercise, or other interests. With more time to spend on personal development and relaxation, remote workers become happier and more relaxed.
- Cost-efficient – Save money on your commute, eating out, and other office-related expenses.
Work with global professionals – Instead of being confined to a limited pool of options, remote work lets you collaborate with professionals from all around the world.
The cost-savings benefits of remote work aren’t just for employees. With less office space to maintain, businesses can expect to cut costs on cleaning, cooling/heating, and power consumption.
Disadvantages of Remote Working:
- Disruption in teamwork – When employees are under the same roof, they have more opportunities to approach one another to share ideas and collaborate in real-time more easily. There is a certain dynamic to teamwork that just isn’t there.
- Less social interaction is a problem for some people – Some people require a higher level of social interaction daily. If they can’t get it because of working from home, it can negatively impact their mental health.
- Discipline and motivation – Working alone remotely requires a lot of self-discipline to stay productive. With no boss or coworkers walking around to check up on everyone, some employees may find it difficult to stay motivated throughout the day.
5 Ways How to Boost Collaboration With Colleagues While Remote Working
Strong collaboration on tasks is critical to keeping remote teams performing at their best. Let’s look at how you can boost cooperation among remote working colleagues.
- Effective Communication
Communication is key to effective teamwork. You must be able to reach all members to coordinate duties and receive updates. Drops in communication can lead to delays and unsatisfied customers.
It is crucial to have established forms of communication and use efficient communication tools to streamline the process within the team.
- Real-Time File Sharing
There are many ways to collaborate on shared files, but nothing beats real-time file sharing. Emailing documents back and forth is often time-consuming and confusing.
With shared online documents, the gap between revisions and feedback is much easier, and the workflow is simpler.
- Task Management, Not Time Management
Building a global team means dealing with time-zone differences. Often, managers may feel the need to micromanage everyone’s schedules as a consequence, which leads to team members feeling frustrated and burned out.
But by using task-focused workflows instead, there’s no need to micromanage, as employees track their progress in task management platforms available to the entire team.
- Clear Goals
Clear goals, tasks, and deadlines are key to avoiding mistakes and confusion. Without them, remote team members might fall into the trap of submitting work late, missing important milestones, and setting back the rest of the team.
To avoid this pitfall, incorporate virtual meetings for remote teams, where you lay out the goals, get feedback, and check in on progress.
Before every meeting, don’t forget to use any meeting note tool to build a collaborative meeting agenda which helps you to keep the meeting organized and achieve the desired output.
- Virtual Team Building Activities
Virtual team-building events can foster and improve collaboration between remote team members. This is important for boosting morale and ensuring that the company’s core values get passed down to everyone. A weak team structure can lead to a drop in productivity and the quality of the work done.
The Bottom Line
Remote work environments are on the rise and show no signs of slowing down. Now that so many organizations have adapted to this style of managing their teams, they must also adapt to new forms of team collaboration for remote workers.
By incorporating good virtual communication software and effective communication habits, remote teams can keep members informed on the status of outstanding tasks. They can expect improvements in employee morale and productivity.