Make the dream work: 8 ways to collaborate better with remote teams
Remote Teams
New Normal

Make the dream work: 8 ways to collaborate better with remote teams

April 13, 2021
Fred Layno

With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing offices to shut down, many brick-and-mortar businesses have chosen to migrate to a work-from-home setup and utilize remote team collaboration. But the remote working concept had been around for quite some time now even before the pandemic.

Many companies (especially those in the business process outsourcing industry) had already adopted this setup, with some actually preferring it to working in the office. In fact, according to a workplace survey conducted by Staples in 2019, 90% of employees believe that flexible arrangements increase employee morale.

The survey also revealed that  77% of employees believe that allowing a remote working policy will lower the agency’s operating cost. 

One of the more glaring questions when transitioning to a remote working setup is how to make your teams collaborate better despite the absence of in-person communication. Here are tips on how to effectively run a remote team and encourage more productivity through collaboration. 

READ: 5 ways to-do lists keep us sane (and productive)

1. Set clear goals and objectives

Managers and team leaders should put emphasis on giving clear instructions to the team and set well-defined goals and objectives. Detailed goals remove any uncertainty among your team members and improve communication and productivity. They also make it easier to track progress on your projects. 

Conduct regular virtual team meetings to get an update on what each member is currently working on. This way, everyone is on the same page and all processes run smoothly.

You can also set monthly milestones, where you recognize the outcomes of the project, and communicate how the daily work by the team affects these monthly results. This gives them the bigger picture of how their day-to-day tasks affect and contribute to the projects they are working on. 

Setting up weekly or bi-weekly sprints also helps each member determine which daily or ongoing tasks to prioritize. Sprints are now effective in developing strategies for marketing, sales, and content teams.

2. Work on collaborative tasks

There may be certain responsibilities that you can do all by yourself, but there are tasks you can work on with your coworkers to encourage collaboration. Complex and time-consuming projects, like data analyses, can be done using a collaborative approach.

When you keep the collaborative nature of the group alive, the trust between each employee grows. With collaboration, you also have more sets of brains, eyes, and hands working on a project. Hence, your team’s productivity is improved and errors are avoided. 

3. Use collaboration tools

One of the best ways to stay in touch with the team while working remotely is by using collaboration apps and services. This gives you a central location where you can post updates, share files, message peers, and schedule meetings.

Be sure to use the right tools that fit your company’s needs and work culture. You may also use project management tools that help you maintain the workflow for your team. 

Having an integrated workflow helps team members to be more communicative on projects. Using the same file-sharing platforms such as Microsoft OneDrive or Google Drive in conjunction with other collaborative platforms can also help your team easily access resources while keeping sensitive data secure. They essentially act as your file cabinet in an office-less and paperless setup. 

4. Use time zones to your advantage

Managing a team from different parts of the globe may pose difficulties, especially when scheduling group meetings. But you can use the time differences to your advantage. 

If some of your team members are working when it’s already nighttime for others, then you have the opportunity to achieve “'round the clock” productivity. When a team member clocks out from work, they can pass the task on to another team member who just started their shift. This way, the work is not really halted or interrupted.

5. Encourage video chats

Nowadays, especially during these socially-distant times, in-person meetings aren’t the first option. To stand in for these and to ensure that we capture the face-to-face communicating experience (both verbal and non-verbal), video chats are the way to go.

With video chats, you do not only communicate with your team the same way as you do through audio calls. You also incorporate body language such as eye contact, hand gestures, and head nods which make intentions and understanding very clear. 

Using video conferencing platforms such as Skype, Zoom, and Google Meet helps create more engaging interactions. With these apps, you can also easily switch from video to screen sharing during presentations or when you simply want to show your screen view. With these virtual face-to-face conversations, remote collaborative work becomes more efficient and dynamic.

6. Don’t bombard your team with messages

Learn to honor the quiet. There is no need to follow up on a task on every channel. There is also no need to constantly ask your team members if they received your message.

Sometimes, no communication is a communication process in itself . People generally do not like to be bombarded with incessant messages. As a leader, you must allow them the space they need to accomplish their work. 

7. Create intentional space for celebration and use icebreakers

Since most of your team’s interactions happen digitally, it is likely that you may experience new forms of miscommunication and misunderstanding despite the abundance of communication technologies.

You need to understand that the digital space entails a different set of communication skills.

Using virtual spaces to create small rituals for celebrations and socializing can improve your team’s dynamics. A strong relationship beyond work can help lay the foundation for future collaboration. You can hold virtual bonding moments, team building sessions, or icebreakers during meetings. 

According to Amrita Singh Jaswal, a digital marketing analyst at Signity Solutions: “Make them feel comfortable during discussions ... Start every meeting with an icebreaker question, even if you’ve been working together for some time. Slowly you’ll learn more about your team and what you have in common.”

BizScale helps remote teams work better. You can contact us by completing this form, emailing, calling 833-722-5310, or booking time on Calendly. We’ll help you build your star squad. Talk to us today.