The Power of Remote Teamwork
By Antonietta Marinelli | February 05, 2021
Getting The Most of Your Team in a Remote Working Environment
Big challenges were faced in 2020 with transition from office-space working to home-office working. Many organisations were faced with the difficulties of adjusting to remote interactions with their co-workers and team. Virtual collaboration can be the hardest aspect of remote working. Varying work styles, mismatched expectations, bad technology, or even bad manners can stand in the way of effective collaboration and make the prospect of long-term remote work feel daunting. (Rudder, 2021).
The digital era has ushered in a revolution in communication that’s equivalent to the one surrounding the invention of the printing press. It’s changed the way we speak, and has affected the way we hear, as the jumble of information coming at us can lead to a frequent misunderstanding and confusion. (Dhawan, Chamorro-Premuzic, 2018).
Now that we have hit 2021, and many of us are still working from home offices, one thing is clear; gone are the days when leadership will require an entire workforce to report to the office every weekday during the same hours. (Thomas, 2021) But how do we continue this operation without hitting a ‘digital-working’ fatigue and continue proactivity and progression throughout our teams?
There are many great ways to take full advantage of remote digital technology to continue to thrive and communicate as a team.
Setting expectations for a team is incredibly important to maintain professionalism and structure. As an example, establishing an expectation for all staff to attend a ‘start-up’ Zoom meeting at 9:00 am every morning, and a ‘wrap-up’ Zoom meeting at 4:45 pm every evening is a great way to provide a framework for the working day in a remote working environment.
In addition to identifying goals and targets whilst raising challenges that can be addressed as a team, regular meetings such as this offer a great way to maintain social connectivity and ensure everyone is operating as they would on any normal workday.
CTO, Anibal Abarca, of Wizeline says “Respect the time that each person needs based on their professional responsibilities and personal needs. Investing time and effort into enabling asynchronous communication across teams and individuals is critical...Setting clear expectations around expected response turnaround helps employees set boundaries between work and responsibilities”. (Rudder, 2021).
Video chat fatigue has been identified as a real concern for team members regularly operating in a remote environment. Furthermore, creative tasks, problem solving and brainstorming exercises can be particularly challenging outside of the face to face forum. A great solution to overcome some of these challenges lies in presentation and interactivity. In using shared screens and discussions whilst on a video call is a great way to foster engagement amongst teams.
In a governance setting, where a shared screen is visible to all team members for minute taking; team members are provided the opportunity to visually follow the meeting, see graphic examples and ask real time questions without any confusion.
Off-Topic Communication Channels
Office banter and social ‘watercooler’ talk is another consideration that should be addressed to some degree in a remote working environment. Irrespective of the industry or sector, people play a huge role in what we do and one thing we share is professional and social relationships, both of which need to be considered in a remote working environment.
Depending on what platforms your organization uses for instant messaging and real time communication; creating an ‘Off-topic’ social discussion channel can be a great place for all team members to send through funny photos, banter and share a fun thought for the day which does not hold specific relevance to work. This is a great way to maintain social relationships among co-workers and provide some degree of face-to-face culture one would normally expect in a real world office.
● Dhawan, E., Chamorro-Premuzic, T. (2018). How to Collaborate Effectively If Your Team Is Remote. Harvard Business Review. [Accessed 3 February 2021] (https://hbr.org/2018/02/how-to-collaborate-effectively-if-your-team-is-remote)
● Thomas, M. (2021). More Ways To Succeed At Remote Work In 2021 and Beyond. Forbes. [Accessed 4 February 2021] (https://www.forbes.com/sites/maurathomas/2021/02/03/more-ways-to-succeed-at-remote-work-in-2021-and-beyond/?sh=21005c952896)
● Rudder, C. (2021). Remote work: 10 tips to be a better virtual collaborator. The Enterprisers Project. [Accessed 4 February 2021] (https://enterprisersproject.com/article/2021/2/remote-work-virtual-collaboration-best-practices)