Lockdown forced us all into some form of work from home situation and for many businesses, it has become the norm if they can still operate well without a physical office space. In fact, according to a 2021 report, Decoding Global Ways of Work, 44% of South Africans are in favour of working from home, full time and permanently. This is above the global average.

 

While remote work gives us so many freedoms in our daily lives, if your business has taken it full-time or as a hybrid model, you will no doubt by now have experienced certain challenges when it comes to team communication and collaboration. If you haven’t managed to fix all the kinks in your processes and miscommunications are happening left, right and centre, we’ve got a few tips to improve online collaboration in your remote team.

 

Set clear tasks and timelines

 

Despite the small amount of admin, setting clear briefs and deadlines for your team eliminates a significant amount of time wasted on messages and calls just to understand the basics. Whether it’s a weekly or monthly schedule that you set up within a simple task management platform, you and your team will spend more time on getting work done and less time contacting each other to confirm or understand small details.

 

Online platforms like Asana and Trello are ideal for setting up clear tasks and timelines for an entire team or company. They both offer free and paid for subscriptions depending on your budget and needs.

 

Schedule recurring meetings

 

Face-to-face meetings, even if they are virtual, are a must for keeping communication going. Even if the meeting is just to run through everyone’s workload for the week, checking in on your team ensures they feel like an integral part of the system, and can chat to you when they need to. 

 

Schedule meetings into your team’s calendars. Choose time slots that work for you, whether it’s daily or weekly, and get your team into the habit of checking in so that everyone is on the same page.

 

Set up a brainstorm channel

 

Aside from your task-focused meetings, there should be a channel or platform that your team can access to spitball ideas and get the creative juices flowing. Give your team a dedicated time each week where they can brainstorm, whether they choose to do so on instant messaging or via video call, giving them room to be creative will up their enthusiasm and motivation for their projects at hand.

 

Use an accessible online collaboration tool

 

It’s all well having these plans in place, but if you don’t have the tools to make it all happen these plans will be difficult to implement. Find an online collaborative tool that gives you a number of features to open up your communication channels and get your team chatting.

 

A business email option for example, not only offers you a unique company email address but also a messaging service, video conferencing and a calendar feature to set up and schedule all your meetings.

 

Make time for physical meetups

 

If it’s possible, nothing beats an actual, in-person meetup with your team. Whether it’s a once a week meeting in a co-working space, relaxed drinks after work or a fun team building session, connecting with your team helps you connect while boosting morale. According to a recent study published in ScienceDirect, face-to-face team meetings built higher levels of trust than those relied only on virtual meetings. 

 

While team collaboration efforts can take time to establish particularly with a new team, they are vital to the success of your remote working system. Whether you run a small business of 10 people or 50 people, remember these tips to set you up for a winning collaborative formula.