remote collaboration

Remote collaboration has become one of the most integral parts of every remote team, don’t you think? With the sudden increase in popularity of remote work culture due to the Coronavirus, working together as a team and communicating with other employees over large distances has become a great challenge for every industry. 

Well, remote collaboration technology is a perfectly designed tool to ease the process of communication across the world. In the modern era,  companies with multinational corporations aren’t an ordinary thing, and as a result, remote collaboration has become very important. Even if we see on a smaller scale, multiple branches of a company can be seen in different regions of the same country, state or even city.

If you are new to remote work, you are likely to work with colleagues located elsewhere. And if you are a leader, you may already know how hectic it is to bring manage workers remotely. Hence, it is very much essential to learn about remote collaboration. Without any further delay, let’s jump into the main topic. 

What Is Remote Collaboration?

Remote Collaboration points out the ability to efficiently connect and engage as a team from anywhere in the world. Workers can truly be anywhere they want since the need of working as coworkers in the same physical space or office won’t apply to them. Remote collaboration makes use of the collaborative tools along with many practices to unite the workers/teams separated by thousands of miles. There are many different categories of tools and ways in which remote collaboration can be achieved. 

According to a report by Clutch, two-third of the remote workers work at least part of the week. 

The means of communication used in remote collaboration may totally depend on their features and the team’s requirements. Video conferencing, file-sharing hubs, general project management interfaces and cloud-based file storage are some of the features that are offered by an excellent remote collaboration tool. 

Remote collaboration operates over distance, and if this physical distance is removed, then remote work won’t be necessary. Perhaps it also depends on two more terms: operational distance and affinitive distance. Operational distance is the communicational system between different remote teams and the gap between the team members’ skill sets. On the other hand, affirmative distance refers to the gap in management, camaraderie, synergy, and operational style of the team members. 

What Are The Main Factors Of Remote Collaboration?

There are a few essential things to be considered before jumping straight into the facilitation of remote collaboration. Here are some of the fundamental factors that can assist you in achieving highly effective remote collaboration only if implemented correctly. 

Accessibility

Access to the mode of communication with other team members is one the most essential factors for a remote team’s success. This is most important at the time of requiring a remote collaborator’s input and finding if they are away from their computers or completely offline. 

This factor at the end concludes to the need for regular working hours. In most cases involving remote collaboration, including remote team workers who regularly work from home, for them, the traditional concept of ‘physical office’ may seem to be outdated. Another common feature in remote collaboration is working with workers and colleagues belonging to different time zones and other distant places. 

At times when time becomes a fluctuating factor, all the remote members should be able to communicate at a moment’s notice. This won’t mean a 9 hours job straight, but instead, a block of two or three hours would work well. This is a very crucial factor that saves from significant problems. 

Universal Participation

Just as accessibility is essential for a team’s success, so is participation from each remote member. It is evident that without a remote team, remote collaboration can’t exist. Even with a team, remote collaboration is meaningless if team members do not actively engage in collaboration. 

Are some team members contributing less than other members? Or if it is a side-effect of the remote work environment? In such situations, achieving universal participation from your team is the key to your problem. Whatever might be the discrepancies, the people facilitating remote collaboration are responsible for recording such acts of unusual outputs and finding the appropriate solution.

Ensuring universal participation will not only increase employee engagement but also led to the best final decision. In meetings, especially when it comes to a remote team, the more ideas and views of the members will ultimately result in fortifying the final output. 

Regularity

Fixed working hours play an essential role in effective remote collaboration. Well defined schedules, or practices and daily routines is the overriding component that helps in controlling the productivity and success of the remote collaboration. 

The presence of all the members at team meetings is very necessary for any team-based project. In a highly flexible remote environment, regularity can ensure that attendance becomes mandatory. In addition to that, regularity also establishes solid collaboration even if the workers are located overseas.

Why Is Remote Collaboration So Important?

Achieving remote collaboration is not a big deal but accomplishing it with effectiveness is the actual goal. Constant delay in work submissions, lack of internal standards, and inferior lines of communication are some of the indications of ineffective remote collaboration. We have researched and finally figured out some of the significant reasons why effective remote collaboration is very much crucial for your organization. The reasons are given below:

Efficient And Transparent Communication

Clear communication from both ends of a remote team is the foremost essential requirement for efficient remote collaboration. The remote work culture mainly depends on text-based messages to a great extent. It is very critical for the remote collaborators to pay attention to the tone, manner and number of messages a remote worker sends. 

Messages should be kept very crisp and to the point with entirely constructed sentences without any shortcuts or grammatical errors for easy understanding of other members as well. Avoid using slang or any different shorthand code language while collaborating remotely. However, you are required to follow all these norms for the sake of bringing out more clarity and less time wastage, which will ultimately result in communication efficiency. If your team’s most time is consumed in figuring what they are trying to say, then less time would be spent on actual collaboration.

Internal Process Acceptance

Acceptance of any agreement or anything related to work has to go through the team’s internal communication process. This can be about anything from which tone to be used while communicating to the format that is to be used in internal memos. 

Although when it comes to remote collaboration, communication rules are strict and should not be taken for granted. With all the members working virtually independently, personal likings and individuality in working styles are likely to have a more significant influence on carrying them forward into work. Therefore, it is advisable to share the necessary details beforehand so that such potential issues are settled way before they even arise. 

Unique Idea Generation

With the substantial growth in the number of remote workers, remote work and collaboration are still out of the traditional labour culture and practices. The remote partnership not only allows the workers to think out of the box but also to implement them into their workings. This is very accurate when we talk about workers who work individually with high productivity or away from all the distractions in their comfort place. 

Remote collaboration is the perfect work culture that provides the opportunity to foster new and distinctive ideas. It allows its workers to brainstorm through problem-solving and new creative workarounds. 

Best Practices For Remote Collaboration

Now let’s take this discussion one step ahead and talk about some best practices that you must follow for remote collaboration.

Recognize and Reward For Good Work

Appreciating other workers for their excellent work can be very important when it comes to collaborating effectively with others. Recognitions allow workers to express their gratitude towards a smart working employee and also helps in employee motivation. It is also an excellent tool for letting the team know that their work is being noticed. A simple “Thank you” message or personal comments or simply just applauding their work would also do well. 

These practices will not only make the employees feel recognized but also motivate them to work much harder in their future jobs. 

Create Non-work-related Spaces As Well (Virtual Team Building Activities)

Dedicating some time to non-work-related activities to clear the mind is immensely helpful for balancing the work stress. Too much work and duty can cause exhaustion. Therefore it is very essential to hold some fun activities which will also help the team members to know each other better. For instance, You can establish free discussions on random topics, held online trivia games, or introduce some team-building activities to teach cooperation. 

There are plenty of creative ideas that can be conducted to have quality time with colleagues/team members. Conducing fun activities will promote team collaboration and result in positive remote work culture. 

A Strong Communication System

As mentioned earlier, efficient communication is a key to strengthen communication between team members/colleagues. Calls and meetings when involved in the task generate more coordination within the team or group.

While connecting remotely using online chat tolls, video conferencing apps, and other connecting tools, always make sure everyone is well adapted. For instance, a meeting can be held daily where workers can discuss their previous day’s progress or any issue related to work. This can improve teamwork, save a lot of time and build efficiency as well. Daily meetings will not only help you to get strong communication with your team but also automatically boost team spirit and productivity. Therefore it is crucial to communicate with team members on a daily basis to promote remote collaboration.

Set Responsibilities For Each Member/Worker

Communication is a challenge while working with a remote team, but not an obstacle. The workers can get confused with what they have to do if not given the perfect guidelines right at the beginning. Hence it is very important to define the responsibilities of each team member. 

The best practice is to make a responsibilities list specifying who is responsible for what task and then share it with the team. Once all the workers are given their responsibilities, you can ask for their project status and see its progression. Perhaps, you can’t expect everyone to catch up with the remote culture swiftly. There might be many members who may take time to get accustomed to it. Therefore, you’ll need to be patient and let the members adjust themselves so that they collaborate remotely with perfection. 

Using A Good Remote Collaboration Tool That Suits Your Team

Remote collaboration tools are vital instruments to bring remote collaboration that can’t be ignored at any cost. Tools help you to ease the process of conducting video conferences, real-time collaboration, group texts, tracking tasks and a properly managed system. It also assists in simplifying specific issues regarding a particular project or project management.

Every remote team is different; therefore, while choosing a remote collaboration tool, focus on your team’s requirements and look for the tool that fits best. Make sure that the tool that you choose matches the needs and requirements of your remote team. Also, keep in mind that remote collaboration is a two-way flow and about improving communication experience; hence, check if the tools respect the privacy of the members as well. 

Maintaining Transparency

As mentioned earlier, maintaining transparency is one of the critical factors of remote collaboration. However, achieving transparent communication with your team is one of the biggest challenges for managers and leaders. Lack of transparency leads to situations like lack of trust, low employee morale, disinterest towards work and loss of engagement. It is almost impossible to achieve remote collaboration without sharing the necessary internal as well as external information of the company. 

Leaders need to understand that loss of trust would eventually weaken the culture and togetherness. Although achieving transparency isn’t impossible. For instance, you can conduct short video conferences with your teams to disclose sensitive/important company information instead of mailing it. Achieving and maintaining transparency earns the trust of the workers and which makes it the best practice for remote collaboration.  

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Remote Collaboration

Just like anything else, Remote collaboration has also got its perks and cons. Well, this also depends on how effectively you implement remote collaboration into your work culture. However, when executed perfectly, remote collaboration provides significant help to team members to work together and unite as an actual team ending up performing remarkably. Bearing that in mind, we have listed some of the significant pros and cons of the remote collaboration below:

Pros of Remote Collaboration

  • All types of working styles can be utilized efficiently under remote collaboration. 
  • Reduces the need for an actual physical office workspace.
  • Employees can concentrate on their work without any external distractions and office chitchats.
  • Remote employees tend to be more productive and better skilled. 
  • It develops an employee’s communication skills. 
  • The prospect of working from your comfort zone often attracts much brighter talent. 
  • It also allows the team to work on the project on their own terms, which may/may not be different from an office setting. 

Cons of Remote Collaboration

  • Employees may feel lonely and isolated from the rest of the team members and the company.
  •  The accessibility is very limited, especially in multiple time zones.
  • Communication will be majorly dependent on some software that may sometimes have downtime or may show glitches or malfunction. 
  • Remote collaboration hugely depends on employee’s sense of self-motivation.
  • In-person meetings and communication may be very limited or not be happening at all.

Wrapping It Up

Remote collaboration is the perfect practice for improving team cooperation and boost up productivity. Many companies have implemented remote collaboration as their prime model of remote team management. Though it is very important that you implement remote collaboration effectively, keeping all the factors in mind.

Get the tool that is right for your team/company and follow the best practices. In this manner, you can quickly achieve your more significant targets along with booming up your team—all the best in your future endeavours. 

I hope this article helped you in understanding everything about remote collaboration. 

remote collaboration with cutehr

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why is remote collaboration essential?

Achieving remote collaboration is not a big deal but accomplishing it with effectiveness is the actual goal. Constant delay in work submissions, lack of internal standards, and inferior lines of communication are some of the indications of ineffective remote collaboration. We have researched and finally figured out some of the significant reasons why effective remote collaboration is very much crucial for your organization. The reasons are given below.

What are the best tools for remote collaboration?

Every remote team is different; therefore, while choosing a remote collaboration tool, focus on your team’s requirements and look for the tool that fits best. Also, keep in mind that remote collaboration is a two-way flow and about improving communication experience hence, check if the tools respect the privacy of the members as well. Some of the best remote collaboration tools are: Cutehr, TeamViewer, Hubstaff, Asana, Trello

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