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4 Tips to Collaborate Effectively If Your Team is Remote

HR & Businesses Nov 24, 2020

Productive and happy remote employees – This post is here for remote team managers who are pursuing this goal. Encouraging collaboration in remote settings could be a daunting challenge, so even the best leaders need help.

Today, we’ll talk about four effective strategies to promote remote collaboration:

  • Set specific and regular communication times
  • Meet technology needs
  • Manage your expectations
  • Maintain high performance standards.

Together, these strategies should help both team leaders and members address unique challenges of remote working. Let’s make your remote team as productive as it can be.

Agree on Regular Times to Communicate

Schedule regular video meetings with your remote teams.

You can have:

  • Daily “sync” sessions
  • Weekly “progress” meetings
  • Bi-weekly one-on-ones.

Daily syncs will basically be a communication checkpoint where everybody shares where they share their daily tasks and progress. Such meetings give an opportunity to see if someone needs assistance with daily tasks.

Weekly “progress” meetings are where you meet with the entire team. You can discuss your progress on a team level, brainstorm solutions to problems, and plan your work for the next week or two.

Bi-weekly one-on-ones are meetings between a team leader and a member. It gives each employee space to share their concerns, opinions, problems, and provide feedback on company policies.

Pro tip: Create an agenda for each meeting. An agenda will help all meeting participants to prepare better and avoid spending extra time on unnecessary talk.

Take an Inventory of the Team’s Tech Stack

Tech is a must for a productive remote team. Since not everybody has a badass remote workstation at their home, you need to help.

Create an online employee survey with a checklist. List all software or hardware your team might need and ask to indicate the ones to provide.

Here are the most common options with popular examples:

  • Video conferencing software (Zoom, Skype)
  • Task management app (MeisterTask, etc.)
  • Communication app (Slack, etc.)
  • Headphones (noise-canceling headphones for comfortable working from home
  • Monitors
  • Remote desktop software (TeamViewer, etc.)
  • Antivirus app (Avira, Avast, etc.)
  • Password management app (1password, etc.)
  • Cloud storage (Dropbox, Google Drive, etc.)
  • Office suite (MS Office).

The list goes on and on, so add a “Type your option here” field to the survey. Maybe there are some additional apps or tools your employees need.

For example, companies often find workers asking for writing help tools to improve their communication skills. Tools like GrabMyEssay, Grammarly, and Supreme Dissertations are good to offer - they can help with writing clear reports, presentations, as well as improve the clarity of daily communication.

Pro tip: create a list of all necessary apps with descriptions on a cloud document sharing app. It’ll help all team members to stay updated on the latest additions and must-haves in the tech stack.

Have Realistic Expectations...

Your team has been working remotely for a while. But it doesn’t mean they’ve already mastered the art of working from home.

In fact, a Buffer study found quite a few struggles all remote workers are facing. The ones like loneliness, inability to unplug, and lack of motivation can quickly turn any project into a disaster.

Source: Buffer, State of Remote Work report

There’s no way to know if someone in your team doesn’t have similar struggles. That’s why try to manage your expectations appropriately.

These tips can help:

  • Understand that there may be a learning curve to mastering tools or adjusting to working remotely
  • Encourage team members to share any difficulties with you. Effective collaboration and productivity begins with trust
  • Be mindful that many households are not optimized for working from home. If in doubt, ask what your team needs
  • Create clear tasks with detailed descriptions and deadlines to prevent misunderstanding and frustration.

One thing that remote managers do is team building exercises such as virtual scavenger hunt. Team building is a known strategy for promoting collaboration, and a scavenger hunt is perfect because it requires extensive teamwork.

Here are a few virtual scavenger hunt ideas to consider for your team.

Learning how to deal with remote work from the best teams can help. If you agree, check out the tips from a successful remote team in the related post below.

Related post: Actionable Work-from-home Tips from an Experienced Remote Team

But Also Maintain High Standards

The right way to maintain high quality and work standards is to hold every team member accountable for their work. This doesn’t mean demanding high productivity or dictating frequent response times. It’s quite the opposite.

“Create a culture of trust, appreciation, and engagement,” recommends Diana Adjadj, an expert HR writer from TrustMyPaper. “When employees feel valued, they’ll be more likely to perform better without leaders telling them what to do.”

To hold your team accountable in a respectful way:

  • Get everyone to agree on goals and objectives. Hold a meeting to prioritize tasks and optimize the schedule for everyone
  • Create clear task lists with deadlines. Provide a clear description for each task to avoid unnecessary questions
  • Define each role. Everyone should know their own responsibilities and duties of their colleagues
  • Offer consistent feedback. Hold regular meetings to talk about the current challenges, achievements, and improvement opportunities
  • Give credit. Don’t focus only on star performers but consistent ones who keep everything together.

As you can see, no strategy on the list focuses on total control - there are only ways to build trust and productivity culture.

Important: just as you expect accountability from the team, you must be accountable to them. This means doing things like giving them updates on your tasks and goals and zero micromanaging.

Make high standards a part of your company culture. To help new hires understand your standards and how to meet them, invest in a proper remote onboarding. See the post below for details.

Related post: Utilizing Onboarding to Welcome New-Hires Into Your Company Culture

The Bottom Line

Effective remote collaboration is totally possible.

But it requires a strong commitment from both team leaders and members. We’re all in this together, and team success often depends on our attitude and commitment.

To nurture a positive attitude and commitment, use the four tips. They’ll help you address issues like stress, engagement, and productivity and focus on collaboration.

Fingers crossed for your success!

What is Goosechase?

Goosechase is an online platform, created by a remote-first team, that helps organizers create and run digital scavenger hunt experiences for team building, learning, public engagement, or a variety of other events. Sign up and try creating a free recreational game, or contact us to learn more about our enterprise solutions!


Nicole Garrison

Guest contributor