Did you know that 80 percent of US employees expect to work from home at least three times a week post-pandemic? In the absence of stressful commutes, 60 percent have even said they’ve seen an improvement in work-life balance.
While plenty of teams enjoys the opportunity to collaborate remotely, not all of them have perfected their methods. There are certain challenges that plenty of teams face, but there are also plenty of solutions that can help you and your team face them head-on.
That’s what we’re here to talk about today. Read on to learn 7 of the best tips to help teams work from home.
1. Set Expectations
Before getting started, it’s important to set expectations with your team. When teams know where to go and what to expect, that takes a lot of stress off their shoulders. There are plenty of communication channels you can use, like Slack, Google Hangouts, or even Workplace from Facebook.
For document sharing, Google Docs is a great place to start — especially with built-in link sharing. The Google Suite connects easily with other apps, so it’s easy to integrate with systems you might already have set in place.
You can also create a company-wide dictionary or style guide for daily communication, as well as company culture guidelines for employees to follow.
2. Don’t Be Afraid of Video Calls
When team members spend too much time on phones, they get used to team members not seeing body language or social cues. They’re also unable to pick up on nonverbal communication that others might be sharing. This can pose a problem if you eventually plan to move towards in-person working again.
It’s easy to get comfortable with not hiding your reactions in these settings. If someone says something, you can roll your eyes and not get caught. You can walk away more easily, you can even stop what you’re doing to play with the dog if you need to.
When you’re on camera, though, it’s a great way to stay accountable. You also gain the benefit of reading nonverbal cues and body language, and it’s a lot easier to collaborate this way than it might be over the phone.
3. Create Discussion Channels
When you’re in the office, you can turn to your coworker for conversation. You can take your lunch in the cafeteria, or you can stop by a colleague’s cubicle on your way back from the bathroom. Employees spend a lot more time interacting with one another than they might be aware of, and it’s important to allow them that same interaction in a virtual environment.
Whether it’s a quick way to send notes on Mac or creating casual channels in Slack, having a place for casual interaction and collaboration is important for maintaining a healthy workspace. Getting things done is important, but so is trust-building for your team members.
4. Remain Open to Adaptation
A lot of things have changed in the last two years, but that doesn’t mean it has to stop. Some of it can be stressful, but some of it can be comforting when it’s needed, and that doesn’t disclude working from home.
Asking team members for their feedback is a great way to ensure everyone is happy with the way things are going. What works one month may not work the next, and what worked for one project may be horrible for another.
Encouraging flexibility is a great way to help teams collaborate more effectively, and it’s also a great way to build trust. This doesn’t only have to include work, though. In fact, making time for events that include everything but work can help a lot.
Whether it’s workout sessions, live gaming, or after-work drinks, encouraging different communication and even team-building can help teams stay motivated for the long haul.
5. Eliminate Paper Processes
When you have people working remotely, paper workflows aren’t going to be very effective. With programs like DocuSign and different sharing platforms, gathering signatures, approvals, and signoffs are as easy as sending an email.
So, while one person might need to have a piece of paper, they can digitize the rest and send it out to the team. Once everything has been signed and finalized, that document can be kept by one person and sent out to everyone else who needs it.
It’s important to build a document-sharing workflow as soon as possible when you transition to remote work, and it’s also crucial to eliminate other paper workflows soon after.
6. Encourage Idea Sharing
Remote collaboration is new for a lot of teams, which means idea sharing is more beneficial now than it’s ever been before. It’s easy for team members to bounce ideas off one another in an in-person environment, but it’s different through a camera, over the phone, or even in a group chat.
Some people, however, thrive with these communication methods. It’s easier to speak up when they’re not in a room filled with people, and it’s a great way for them to release some of the fear they may have faced in face-to-face environments.
They’re also a great resource for idea-sharing when it comes to online interactions. Encouraging your team members to talk about how they’ve coped, or what tools they’ve adopted for helping them along is a great way to develop your own repertoire for working from home.
Ready to Collaborate Remotely?
Now that we’ve gone over 7 of the best tips to help you and your team collaborate remotely, are you ready to get started? Whether your team is just getting started or they’ve worked remotely for the last few years, employing new strategies and techniques is always a good idea.
When you take everyone’s needs into account, it makes working as a team a lot more comfortable for everyone involved.
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