How To Make Remote & Hybrid Teams Collaborate Effectively

Ensuring that teams in a remote & hybrid environment collaborate effectively is a bit tricky, but sure it is worth it!

The digital era has brought in a communication revolution comparable to the one before. Basically, it’s changing the way we talk, which is often in headings and subheadings. And it’s influencing what we hear because the barrage of information can result in regular misconceptions and confusion.

Importantly, people who operate in remote teams experience these difficulties on a regular basis. According to Gallup and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 22 percent of Americans work from home, and nearly 50 percent operate in a remote or virtual team environment. So, it goes without saying that this ongoing transition necessitates the acquisition of new habits and skills.

But why do teams that are working remotely necessitate new cooperation abilities?

What information is missing from our emails, texts, conference calls, and other similar forms of communication: Body language.

Even when we’re in the same room, the tone of your text or the formality of your email might be misinterpreted, leaving even our closest friends puzzled. And such misinterpretations cause worry, which can be costly in terms of engagement, productivity, and, subsequently, performance.

In addition to this, there is no doubt that the regular pace of our talks can be slowed by remote communication. 

Because of the time lag between our messages, emotional reactions to our remarks are sometimes delayed or hidden. There is no doubt that there are times when you have sent an email and then worried about its reaction.

Would your manager regard your late-night email to be an invasion of their personal time?

While we may have grown accustomed to these forms of asynchronous conversations, they can nonetheless violate our regular social interaction guidelines.

In the absence of an instant reaction, we can become sidetracked, second-guess ourselves, or even become upset with our teammates. Therefore, remote teams must develop new and better ways to collaborate effectively and at their best.

But, before that, it is necessary to examine the three types of distance in remote collaboration: physical (location and time), operational (team size, bandwidth, and skill levels), and affiliation (trust, interdependency, and value). 

Managers can improve team effectiveness by focusing on decreasing distance. 

Try moving most remote contact to frequent video calls, which are far better than emails or phone calls for establishing bonds and developing empathy. Also, create virtual team-building activities that allow people to communicate on a daily basis and practice their cooperation skills.

Undoubtedly, remote teams can acquire an advantage over co-located teams when they communicate well and utilize their talents. And this blog post shares some tips on how your virtual team can communicate better:

How To Improve Remote Team Collaboration? 

How To Improve Remote Team Collaboration

1) Communication

Effective communication is essential for making your team collaborate effectively. After all, the internal communication of the team determines the organization’s future. 

However, it is not possible to perform in-person collaboration in the context of remote work. Therefore, active communication with team members is essential. 

When working remotely and connecting team members with chat and video conferencing solutions, it is necessary to ensure that everyone is sufficiently adapted to it. Moreover, everyone must also use the same communication channels.

The majority of remote teams’ working hours are spent engaging with individuals, responding to emails, or holding meetings. As a result, substantial time is spent that could be used in better ways.

The following few guidelines can help you save time and increase efficiency. And this is what you can do in this regard:

  • Be precise: When sending information to your team members, be extra cautious. Try to speak in simple terminology that is clear and exact.
  • Don’t include unnecessary information: The goal is to do the work effectively, respect the time of others, and avoid bombarding others with unnecessary information. It saves both parties time and effort.
  • Virtual communication tools: Use remote communication technologies that are appropriate for your culture and needs. Additionally, project management solutions for workflow management are a good alternative for any remote team.
  • Other standards: Each remote team is unique, as are their work procedures. Create some criteria that everyone may follow to keep everyone on the same page.

2) Ensure transparency

Ensuring transparency while working remotely may be the most difficult task for managers or team members.

One of the key causes of low employee morale, trust, and enthusiasm is a lack of openness. 

Ensure transparency

No organization can achieve its full potential unless it shares internal and external information with its employees. So, create a culture of trust and cooperation. 

But how can you retain transparency when working from home? While it is challenging, it is not impossible. 

If there are any big updates, make sure to reveal them in short video meetings with the team rather than passing them through team leaders. 

Team leaders can also inform all team members at the end of the day about significant updates and developments.

3) Virtual Team Building Exercises

To make your remote workforce collaborate effectively, make time to celebrate as well.

We live in an era of limitless possibilities. So it is up to us how we respond to it.

Workload and commitments can be exhausting. As a result, it is critical to engage in some enjoyable activities in order to strengthen relationships and know each other better.

Team building activities increase employee engagement while also teaching them to cooperate. Furthermore, there is an excellent approach to encourage remote team collaboration.

Team-building activities are used by successful teams to develop teamwork and positive work culture. Furthermore, virtual hobbies could be too much enjoyment because they provide you with a variety of choices to engage with.

4) Encourage one another

When it comes to making your remote teams collaborate effectively, this could be one of the most significant factors. 

Supporting one another is more of a core value that should come from the company’s management.

While working remotely, it is quite easy to become distracted by the team. And there could be several reasons for it.

A team, for example, may lose morale and feel neglected by peers. Furthermore, a lack of appreciation may also have an impact on team members’ confidence. 

So, it is critical to extend and maintain open, efficient communication in order to understand everyone’s sentiments. 

Importantly, you cannot expect everyone to embrace the remote work culture properly, as some people may require more time to adjust. 

To conclude, the key to fostering a durable, creative, and collaborative remote team is to support one another.

Creative Ways To Communicate With Remote Employees

1) Come up with norms for remote communication 

Remote teams must set new communication norms for making remote teams communicate effectively.

Merck , for example, has devised abbreviations for their digital interactions such as “Four Hour Response (4HR)” and “No Need to Respond (NNTR)” for effective remote team working. 

Individual teams can also create their own conventions, such as whether or not to use Google Docs or Whatsapp groups.

Individual norms can also exist, such as people’s preferred response time, writing style, and tone, as people differ in their inclination and sensitivity to humor and informality. For example, some like short and rapid communications, while others want extensive and thorough responses.

Additionally, while we frequently consider human dependability to be a flaw, few of such attributes are more needed at work, particularly in virtual interactions.

We are all unique. But our repeated actions help others guess what we will do, which helps them understand us, and we all benefit from understanding. 

2) Look for hidden opportunities in textual communications

Being behind a monitor can open up new options for specific team members that are less likely to speak in groups to do so.

Text-based communication lays less emphasis on interpersonal skills and physical appearance, allowing for more effective power-sharing and decision-making. 

According to research, introverted people are less hesitant in online contact than in offline interactions.

sciencedirect

However, you must be wary of one of the remote collaboration challenges, the remote unconscious bias, to be precise, which occurs when punctuation, syntax, and word choice reflect prejudiced sentiments about specific groups.

Importantly and relevantly, the lack of facial gestures does not necessarily imply that we are not revealing more information than we intend when communicating remotely.

For example, using exclamation marks or a negative emoticon after referring to someone’s gender, nationality, or religion is just as effective as making a disgusted face.

3) Carry out celebrations frequently

Remote teams also value traditional birthday cakes.

Creating virtual celebrations and gathering places can help to strengthen ties and lay the groundwork for your employees to collaborate effectively in the future.

Look for ways to celebrate your employees being a part of your company. For example, a company may recognize new hires by generating a personalized emoji for six months.

You can also develop team places for social engagement in your own unique way. It is not essential how you accomplish it, but it is important whether you do it or not.

How to build an effective remote team: Additional tips

1) Don’t confuse brief communications with clear communications

In order to collaborate effectively in a hybrid space, we may communicate with fewer words. 

However, such shortness may result in the rest of the team wasting time attempting to decipher your messages; and then interpreting them incorrectly. 

Don’t presume that people will pick up on your hints and jargon. 

Spend time communicating with the purpose of being really clear, regardless of the medium.

2) Understand the time for a meeting and an email

While regular team meetings are generally a good idea, for your remote employees to collaborate effectively, it is critical not to overuse video meetings or conference calls. 

According to the MIT Sloan Management Review, non-essential information might consume up to 50% of meeting time. Furthermore, meetings can block schedules and take away from targeted work time.

MIT Sloan Management Review

To ensure that virtual meetings benefit rather than hinder remote teams’ productivity, creating clear standards for when to arrange meetings and when to send a message is frequently beneficial. You might want to:

  • Set time limits: If an issue only takes 15 minutes to discuss, send an email instead of holding a meeting.
  • Set a participation threshold: If more than a specific number of persons are required to participate in a topic, call a meeting.
  • Reduce the length of your meetings on your calendar: If your company’s standard meeting time is 60 minutes, try making it 30 minutes.
  • Make a spot for rapid updates: Instead of booking a new meeting for each development, create and use a dedicated channel in your preferred chat app.

3) Specific Goals and Objectives

Group managers or supervisors must emphasize the need to offer clear instructions to their teams. Goals and objectives must, therefore, be established by team leaders.

To increase team productivity, remote workers must understand what is expected of remote collaboration in the workplace.

Additionally, remote collaboration tools are useless if team members are unsure of their objectives.

To ensure that the processes work well, it is critical to hold virtual team meetings and keep each other updated on progress and tasks. After all, team meetings are excellent for providing updates to each member of the team and maintaining individuals on the same page.

How Does Bravo Help Your Remote Teams Collaborate Effectively?

First things first, WorkHub is specifically designed to meet the needs of your hybrid & remote teams to make them collaborate effectively.

The importance of celebrating team performance and achievement has always been emphasized (and in this article, too) as the key to an effective remote team working.

team collaboration

BRAVO, one of the WorkHub tools, particularly built for team recognition and rewards, can go a long way in making a remote workforce collaborate effectively.

Not only that, but WorkHub also comes with WorkHub Connect, which provides every relevant functionality to make remote work rather productive: intelligent team wall, live screen-sharing, video/ audio call recording, and much more.

You are always just a free demo away from leveraging WorkHub for all your remote work setup, and that too at a very low cost!