When we think about collaboration, we usually assume everyone is working together in person whether it be to find a quick solution for a problem or brainstorm ideas for the latest project. Collaboration is key to any successful work environment. Teams need to work together and rely on each other to achieve common goals. This is especially important when it comes to remote team collaboration.
Since remote work and the ability work from home has become more prevalent in the corporate world, teams have been navigating what remote work collaboration looks like. Many companies have seen the benefits of remote collaboration with employees experiencing increased productivity and more flexibility. Employees now have the freedom to work on their own time without having to stop in their tracks to attend a meeting in person that probably could have been an email, to begin with.
While many companies have reaped the benefits of increased productivity and happier employees, remote collaboration is not always easy to adapt to as a team.
Why Remote Team Collaboration is a Challenge
With most teams utilizing a combination of asynchronous communication ranging from text or written communication to video conferencing, employees have access to important conversations and meetings at their fingertips via computers and mobile devices. While this has its benefits, some employees may face greater challenges or obstacles, such as cultural or environmental differences, when it comes to remote team collaboration.
One of the biggest challenges a culturally diverse team may face when collaborating remotely is the language barrier. Employees who are unable to express themselves through language, whether written or spoken, will affect the overall success of the team. Not everyone may feel comfortable with the language being used.
Not every team member may be able to speak English fluently or with the level of understanding their other team members have, even for American-based companies. Another aspect of the language barrier is that similar words may have different meanings across cultures. This can lead to conflicting ideas and frustration thereby preventing a flow of information among the team.
Remote work collaboration may also prove difficult for teams who work across time zones. While one team member may be at the peak of their work hours, their colleague may be fast asleep in another time zone. Working across different time zones means delays in communication. There is a longer waiting time when seeking answers to questions or problems that arise. Different time zones mean limited availability of team members which can have a negative impact on work.
The increase in remote work significantly affects company culture as well. The face-to-face interaction in the office has always been the way relationships with colleagues are built and fostered. Teams are now faced with the task of figuring out how to create a virtual water cooler atmosphere while taking part in remote work collaboration.
Ways to Facilitate Remote Team Collaboration
The digital era has brought on tremendous capabilities to the corporate world, providing teams with access to communication never before possible. However, companies are still trying to tackle the challenges of remote team collaboration.
How can teams improve remote collaboration?
Utilizing asynchronous communication tools will help teams collaborate more effectively and efficiently. While there will be times when synchronous meetings are necessary, It’s important to establish communication norms. Providing an async communication guide for your team will allow employees the space they need to be productive by meeting their ideal preferences when it comes to collaboration time.
Remote managers or team leaders can clearly outline how their teams can use specific channels for communication and collaboration purposes. For example, outlining what the team’s main mode of communication is, for example, whether it be email or Slack, what time of day each channel should be used, how often someone will be expected to check in, or how to respond or send a message if something is urgent.
Setting guidelines ensures everyone is on the same page and information is sent to the right people at the right time.
Understanding cultural flexibility is another way managers can facilitate remote team collaboration. Team members need to understand each other’s cultural differences to better connect and work together. Recognizing the time and commitment each team member is going to put forward and what method of communication is mostly used to foster a positive remote work environment.
One of the best ways to understand cultural differences and establish a safe team environment is to build trust within your team. As a manager, you can build trust and understanding with your team by simply asking them questions such as what works best for them to be as productive as they can.
Asking what method of communication your team prefers will ensure everyone is happy. It will also set a tone with your team that you value them and their input. This will only set the team up for successful remote collaboration.
Tools to Improve Remote Team Collaboration
Discussing your team’s communication preferences and establishing a trusting environment is important in facilitating remote team collaboration. However, remote teams need new collaboration tools.
Here are some of the best tools in the market to improve remote team collaboration:
- Zight (formerly CloudApp): With Zight (formerly CloudApp), users can send thoughts, annotations, and visual edits to whoever has internet access. It is one of the best tools for remote teams. Zight (formerly CloudApp) frees up time to focus on important tasks by allowing employees to record a video or screen record and streamline information for the rest of the team to watch on their own time. Zight (formerly CloudApp)’s video recording software enables teams to collaborate remotely while increasing productivity levels.
- Trello: Trello is a visual tool that allows remote teams to manage any type of project and track tasks. Rather than utilizing a video recording platform, Trello allows remote teams to utilize a digital board where resources, team information, working hours, and projects are all tracked.
- Asana: Asana is a project management software that allows users and teams to keep track of status updates directly within workflows and tasks.
Work from home is here to stay. It’s time to ensure your teams are equipped to facilitate successful remote team collaboration.
Schedule a demo today to get started with Zight (formerly CloudApp), one of the top-ranked video recording platforms in the market.
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