Collaboration is a critical skill for success in today’s world of remote work, and it is essential to know how to collaborate effectively in order to achieve common goals, foster creativity and innovation, build relationships, improve problem-solving, and increase productivity.
Purpose of Collaboration
Collaboration allows people with different perspectives and expertise to work together towards a common goal. By pooling their resources and knowledge, collaborators can achieve more than they could on their own. Working with others for a common goal can also foster creativity and innovation by providing a platform for sharing ideas, brainstorming solutions, and challenging assumptions. Remote team members can bring new perspectives and fresh ideas to the table, which can lead to breakthroughs and new discoveries.
Another important benefit of collaboration is that it can help to build relationships and foster a sense of community. By working together towards a common goal, collaborators can develop a sense of trust, respect, and mutual understanding, which can strengthen their relationships and enhance their ability to work together effectively in a remote environment.
Learning to work with others can also improve problem-solving by providing a platform for identifying and addressing complex issues. Remote Collaborators can bring different approaches and solutions to the table, which can lead to more effective problem-solving and better outcomes. Collaboration can also increase productivity by allowing people to focus on their strengths and delegate tasks to others who are better equipped to handle them. Colleagues can also share resources and streamline processes, which can save time and increase efficiency in the remote workplace.
What To Do
Collaborating effectively with colleagues in a remote workplace can be beneficial, but it can also be challenging. There are several strategies you can use to make it easier. Following are some tips to help you collaborate effectively in a remote environment:
Establish clear communication channels
Agree with your colleagues on the most efficient ways to communicate and collaborate remotely, including video conferencing, messaging, email, or shared document editing. Become familiar with the channels the remote team members choose to use. For example, if the chosen channel is a shared document, then add all comments and questions in the doc. This helps keep communications about a project in one place.
Set clear goals and deadlines
Establish clear goals and deadlines to ensure that everyone is on the same page about what needs to be accomplished and when. This can serve to improve productivity and clarify work load expectations.
Respond to messages and requests in a timely manner. When working remotely, it’s important to be available and responsive to your colleagues’ needs during regular working hours. If you need to step away during the working day, set a notification explaining when you will be available for a response.
Be respectful of others’ time
Be mindful of others’ time zones and schedules, and be flexible when scheduling meetings or deadlines. Stick to agreed upon meeting time frames, avoid holding someone in a meeting that runs over time.
Use collaboration tools
Utilize collaboration tools like project management software, file sharing systems, and team chat platforms to keep everyone updated and working efficiently. For example, avoid attaching a document to an email and expect remote team members to make adjustments. Instead, share a file through a shared drive which displays real-time edits and suggestions.
Keep your work organized and well-documented so that your colleagues can easily access and understand what you’re working on. Also, keep your remote workspace organized for maximum productivity.
Take initiative and communicate regularly with your colleagues, even if you’re not the team leader or manager. For more, check out our article: How to Be an Awesome Team Player in a Remote Environment
What Not to Do
Now that we’ve covered techniques to enhance collaboration efforts. Let’s outline what not to do. Often defining behaviors by negation can help clarify and reinforce the positive behaviors that should be encouraged to enhance collaboration efforts in a remote workplace. The following strategies will answer: What should you avoid doing when collaborating remotely?
Don’t be a channel bandit
There are so many ways to reach out and connect with colleagues in a remote environment. Define the channel(s) you and your team want to use to track all communications about a specific project. Using too many channels of communication can lead to miscommunication or missed messages.
Deadlines can quickly sneak up on you when you’re working remotely, so be sure to stay on top of your tasks. For more about ways to overcome procrastination and time management, sign your remote team up for our Remote Professional Certification.
Don’t forget to check in
Stay in touch with your colleagues regularly, even if it’s just a quick message to say hello or provide a quick update on progress. The old adage, “Out of sight, out of mind” can be applied to remote work. Stay on the radar to demonstrate engagement.
Don’t be too casual
Although working remotely can feel more relaxed than being in an office, it’s important to maintain a professional demeanor when communicating with colleagues. This can be through verbal and nonverbal messages including email, video conference, or phone calls. Make an effort to be professional in all remote channels.
Don’t use stream of consciousness communications
While regular communication is important, don’t overwhelm your colleagues with too many messages or updates. Determine expectations and be mindful of their time and workload. For example, avoid sending a slew of stream of consciousness type emails within 10 minutes to a colleague about a project. Instead focus your ideas and draft one email that covers all those same thoughts.
Training remote staff on expectations and standards for collaborating in a remote environment is an important step in promoting a culture of productivity, accountability, and success. By providing clear guidance and support, you can help remote staff thrive in their roles and contribute to the success of the organization.
Contact us today about our Remote Professional Certification. In this online certification training, we train remote professionals on a variety of strategies and remote standards including collaboration techniques and professionalism to help remote professionals go remote and work on!