Can people collaborate effectively whilst working remotely?
Are you concerned about what may be lost if and when your stakeholders have little opportunity to interact directly? Nowadays people almost never see each other face-to-face.
As more workplaces become knowledge-based, more business owners experience the tension of synergising their remote workers network to collaborate together effectively while allowing them to do their jobs without any barriers to mobility.
Can remote workers work together more productively in an age when many can work almost anywhere? And this is for employees, contractors, customer-contact workers, knowledge workers (suppliers, technical experts etc.) as well as virtual teams.
Follow these 5 tips to maximise the productivity of your remote network and increase collaboration:
1 Create frequent opportunities for casual interactions
Casual interactions will help you both build strong relationships and encourage ideas and information sharing.
2 Balance personal or informal interaction with online collaboration
Strike a balance between the advantages online collaboration tools offer and the need for personal or informal interactions that boost workplace cohesion.
This balance depends in part, on the nature of the work and on the specific situation.
In a crisis that demands urgent solution from experts in different areas, for example, the ability to set up a collaborative environment literally within seconds is an extraordinarily powerful tool, as opposed to having to coordinate everybody’s calendar and waiting two weeks before you can all put your heads together in the same room.
3 Establish and maintain strong relationships
One of the ways you do that is by face-to-face meetings, sharing a meal, or doing some other activity together. The fact that you establish some kind of human contact is important because then the remote meetings — or the collaborative but not co-located meetings – are reinforced by these personal experiences.
4 Hold recognition events
Increase the engagement and emotional attachment of your remote partners by holding recognition events. This will help create remote site work environment that values individual recognition.
5 Keep promises
Deliver on all promises made to your remote stakeholders to build loyalty and commitment and to reduce professional isolation.
In the end, you will have to devise policies that meet your own and your company needs and values. However, you should carefully monitor the effects these policies have on your stakeholders’ engagement – and on their productivity. And you should be careful not to underestimate the need for positive relationships to support engagement.