How to Improve Remote Team Collaboration and Workflow

Team Norms, Communication, and Tools for Working from Home

Remote collaboration and workflow

Business closures and social distancing protocols have elevated the fashion of running remotely. According to PwC’s U.S. Remote Work Survey, 32% of employees now earn a living from home 5 days every week. Both employers and personnel agree that they're as a minimum as effective—if now not extra efficient—while sheltering at domestic because of the ongoing public health crisis. As a matter of truth, 44% of employers say that productivity has expanded for the duration of this period.

In order to make your faraway crew effective and collaborative—without burning out—it’s crucial to create an efficient system that improves workflow and group collaboration. 

Experts point out, even though, that what works within the office does now not constantly translate to far off paintings.

Establishing Remote Team Norms

In a phone interview with The Balance, Nancy Settle-Murphy, founding father of Boston-region consulting company Guided Insights and a digital teams professional, stated that a terrific faraway group supervisor must set up particular group norms for running from home. These include:

  • Working hours: Agree upon operating hours, and in case you’re providing flexibility, determine if there are precise instances the entire crew should be running each week. 
  • Communication: Decide on which platform the crew have to collaborate and stick to it to make sure that communication is clear and now not missed. 
  • Signifying presence: Decide how an employee will signify they’re available to meet or communicate—like turning their availability on in Slack. 

One choice for setting up those norms is to create a virtual work agreement spelling out those expectancies that is shared with personnel. 

Understanding Remote Team Personalities

According to Settle-Murphy, switching to far off work can have an effect on employees in a number of ways, and it’s essential for managers to be attuned to their group’s personalities to mitigate any troubles.

Personal and Social Needs 

Understanding that an introvert may also need extra particular questions asked that allows you to percentage their point of view, or that a person that is living alone may additionally need extra social interaction beyond simply paintings communicate, is critical to making employees feel valued and liked.

Level of Independence 

Understanding an employee’s level of independence is critical. With no spontaneous interactions or take a look at-ins, it’s crucial to proactively agenda a time to test in on initiatives for personnel who want it.

Balanced Participation

It’s less complicated for dominant personalities to take over a web assembly. Managers should be organized with interventions to make sure that everyone has a voice.

The Importance of Remote Collaboration

Experts broadly agree that the important thing to proper far off collaboration is knowing that what works for in-workplace people gained’t necessarily paintings for far flung groups.

Asynchronous Communication

“Optimizing asynchronous gear like Threads or Twist over synchronous verbal exchange like Slack and Zoom lets in you to create structures and procedures in which personnel can collaborate without having to be on-line on the identical time,” Hailley Griffis, Head of PR at social media-centered agency Buffer, advised The Balance via email. According to Griffis, whose corporation has constantly had a totally remote personnel, this verbal exchange method helps with collaboration across time zones, and also lets in employees to cope with the precise needs that a health disaster has offered, such as parents who're homeschooling their youngsters.

Enhanced Interaction

Interacting with a faraway team manner that there aren't any incidental run-ins at some point of the workplace, or opportunities for a fast chat or check-in. 

However, experts suggest adding in everyday take a look at-ins together with your crew—whether or not those are day by day or weekly—to ensure that you are in song with their desires.

You can also build in social interactions by way of honestly saving a while on the start of every meeting to talk, do an icebreaker, or engage in different crew-building sports

One different challenging region is enhancing or design reviews. Teams can transfer to on line equipment like document sharing, online layout, or whiteboard equipment and collaborate to make edits, recommendations, and modifications.

Streamlined Access to Information 

Centralized information where all and sundry has get admission to to the right documents is a superb undertaking for groups—and the dreaded emailing of attachments can significantly avert having the most updated information and reason project delays.

Settle-Murphy encouraged that businesses determine on a centralized depository and require that far flung personnel examine the tool, become aware of who has enhancing privileges, and give up different methods of storing or communicating about documents to ensure that everybody is on the same page for any piece of facts.

Tools for Better Collaboration and Workflow

The proper gear are important to far off group fulfillment—and lots of these tools are one of a kind from what groups might have previously utilized in workplace.

Communication Tools

  • Asynchronous conversation tools which include Threads or Twist create organized discussions that may be searched.
  • Synchronous conversation gear inclusive of Slack, IM, or Microsoft Teams can be greater beneficial and immediately than e-mail as an internal communication device.
  • Virtual assembly gear such as Zoom, Skype, or Microsoft Teams provide face-to-face group interactions.

Collaboration Tools

  • Online file modifying tools, consisting of Google Docs, permit every team member to have the maximum contemporary model of a report and permit collaborative modifying, synchronously or asynchronously. 
  • Online assembly collaboration tools which include MeetingSphere offer a platform for more productive conferences via permitting inquiries to be posted in advance, permitting participants to build on feedback and convey the pre-paintings into the meeting.
  • Online whiteboard gear inclusive of Miro or Google Jam Board offer an possibility to brainstorm ideas visually.

Task Management Tools

A kind of assignment and mission management equipment together with Basecamp, Asana, and Trello offer a way for the whole team to see the repute of initiatives or responsibilities, their function in them, and whether milestones are being met.

Building a Workflow for Better Collaboration 

Settle-Murphy emphasised the importance of teamwork in growing the right workflow for employees.

Assigning a Team

Assign a group (the size of the crew relies upon upon the dimensions of your employer) to research your current workflow and determine what areas need to be stepped forward upon. Start with a listing of regions and pick out a few of the most pressing to awareness on first.

Assigning a Subteam

Assign a subteam of two or 3 human beings to brainstorm solutions on your workflow issues, beginning with identifying any choke factors that want to alternate. The subteam will discover the areas that want improvement and percentage with the larger organization of decision makers.


From there, the subteam ought to brainstorm ability solutions and vet them with the bigger group. “Norms shouldn’t come from one character,” Settle-Murphy suggested. “It’s critical that they may be vetted with the larger group.”

A Flexible Future

While the abrupt shift to far off paintings become a result of social distancing and other protection desires, at a few degree, it seems right here to live. In the PwC survey, seventy two% of personnel stated they’d like to preserve running from domestic at least two days per week for the long term. 

“I accept as true with that in a perfect situation where far flung workers can pick out whether to make money working from home or a espresso store, library, or coworking space, that it does enhance productiveness, which in the long run increases general paintings on the employer,” Griffis delivered.