It’s no secret that remote collaboration has been a challenge for the current workforce. Whether your team is now permanently working from home or adopting a hybrid solution, it’s likely that several of your employees still feel isolated.
In their survey conducted in August 2020, New Aviva found that 44% of employees dislike working from home because they feel disconnected from co-workers.
If your team is struggling to collaborate effectively, stop beating yourself up. Many companies are experiencing the exact same challenge. And, even if you’ve been doing everything right so far, sometimes the Zoom, Slack, and chat routine just grows stale.
To freshen up your team’s remote collaboration, lift morale, and get everyone excited to connect with each other, you need to try something new.
Here are seven unique techniques leaders and HR pros have used that revolutionized their hybrid workforce collaboration:
Start the day standing
Our remote HR team now collaborates every morning with a virtual stand up meeting that lasts 10 minutes via video conferencing software and sees us all physically stand up throughout it – yes really!
HR projects and recruitment campaigns usually have lots of steps involved that need transparency among the entire team. Our digital daily stand-up meetings give everyone a chance to discuss every project that needs to be talked about. Every team member can ask questions or make suggestions and physically standing up means everyone is feeling alert and paying attention – it separates this meeting from every other one that day.
Jenna Carson, Head of HR at Music Grotto
Whether your team prefers to sit or stand, it’s crucial to dedicate some time each day to communicate updates and check in on your team. You don’t want your management style to feel overbearing, but you do want your team to feel informed and heard. Building this intentional space for sharing strikes the perfect balance!
Lose the 9 to 5
One thing that made remote collaboration super easy was getting rid of fixed working hours. We all have flexible schedules and save for the occasional meeting, we all work at completely different times and do all of our communication on Slack and our project management tool – Jira. We’ve never missed a deadline and except for the occasional lag of a few hours, we communicate and get work done even more efficiently than we would in an office. I think that flexible hours help a lot because everyone can work when they are at their most productive instead of forcing themselves to work hard from 9 to 5 or whatever arbitrary time frame you choose.
Adam Hempenstall, CEO and Founder of Better Proposals
There’s no sense in sticking to the traditional path when it no longer works in the current situation. For many, the standard 9 to 5 work hours can create more burnout and less productivity. Encouraging flexibility that maximizes efficiency and well-being goes a long way in taking care of your team.
Keep employees in the loop
When we were forced to enter the digital nomad lifestyle, we decided to introduce OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) on a company-wide scale. It’s a management system designed by Andy Grove that keeps remote employees in the loop with regard to the quarterly objectives. Thanks to OKRs, each and every staffer in the remote capacity understands their role in the grand scheme of things and knows exactly what they need to do on a day-to-day basis.
Also, to create a collaboration-rich culture, we started to heavily use project management tools like Trello (for simple tasks) and Jira (for complex and tiered projects) to ensure things don’t slip through the cracks.
Jagoda Wieczorek, Head of HR at ResumeLab
A huge part of managing remote teams well is defining success. Establishing their role in the overall company goals and clarifying job expectations are great practices. By ensuring everyone is on the same page in that regard, you’re building a stronger WFH team.
Keep skill sets sharp
Host workshops that improve the team’s skills every month. People that are passionate about their careers will appreciate a workshop every few weeks to sharpen their skills. Managers can bring in industry experts and legends to help everyone learn and improve.
Grant Aldrich, Founder & CEO of OnlineDegree.com
Maintaining powerful skill sets in your team isn’t just about improving technical skills. These workshops can also focus on soft skills. This route gives you the chance to highlight your values and what you want to see more of across your team even if you don’t hire for soft skills.
In addition to the standard list of virtual communication and remote collaboration tools, one thing we have instituted that has produced several great ideas for us so far has been our Friday ‘information share’ where I choose an article or press release from a leading industry publication, which I send to all the team members on Monday, and each person comes up with a unique read or take on an issue that is discussed Friday.
Rolf Bax, Chief Human Resources Officer at Resume.io
Connecting with others isn’t always about increasing productivity. It’s also about emphasizing empowerment and growth. Company culture and community can bloom when you find ways to demonstrate the priority of your shared core values.
Celebrate team achievements
Apart from utilizing different chat-based collaboration softwares and applications such as Streak, Google Meet and others, our team is establishing a reward culture to effectively improve our remote collaboration. We created a system where individual achievement is tied to the team’s achievement, productivity, and collaborative behavior and is rewarded accordingly.
Tal Shelef, Realtor and Co-Founder at CondoWizard
It’s vital to give your team recognition for their hard work. When someone’s positive attitude makes everyone’s remote experience so much better, or when a team member’s actions consistently demonstrate high emotional intelligence, they deserve some appreciation.
I cannot stress this enough, but online games have helped us go through our day. Since people only have short attention spans, it is very important to take mini breaks within the day while working. Since we mainly communicate using Google Hangouts, links to our games are sent there. Our favorite so far is Drawsaurus where each member can draw and the others will guess what that is. After one round of a game, we then go back to working again with renewed mind and spirit.
Robert Johnson, founder of Sawinery
Be sure to take the time to get to know your candidates during the video interviewing process. It’s crucial to be able to have fun with your team every once in a while to alleviate tensions. Assessing a candidate’s virtual engagement can improve your team’s collaboration in the long-run.