Businesses are different than ever before and that means that their employees have to do things differently. What do we mean by this? Well, as companies have been toying with the notion of removing the restraints of traditional work and allowing a larger percentage of their staff to work remotely, it changes the strategies somewhat. Today, we’ll identify a couple of ways remote teams need to lean on their technology and two steps you can take to get significant contributions from collaborative platforms.
The Role Technology Plays in Remote Collaboration
Nowadays, every business uses some sort of information technology to complete the basic tasks that running a business demands. Whether that be just for payroll or to manage inventory, or if you utilize IT to run your entire business, understanding the value it has to your endeavor and how to get what you need out of it is pretty important. For many businesses, this means rolling out a comprehensive collaboration suite and integrating tools that allow for additional collaboration.
Unfortunately, the days are long past where each person on your team is satisfied doing the same thing over and over and over again. In fact, most modern workers will be glad to allow computers to do a lot of the more mundane and repetitive work. This is exceedingly evident when you have a remote workforce. Remote workers tend to want to get right down to business, which is why reeling them in to ensure they are doing the things you need them to is important. Most businesses that follow this model need to rethink how they are deploying their technology dollars and ask if they are doing the right things for their business.
What a Business Needs to Do to Get Collaborative Results from Remote Workers
There are plenty of things a business can do to help their remote workers align with their goals. Let’s go through a few of them:
- Provide equipment – Today computers are expensive and with no two people agreeing on the effectiveness of any individual collaboration tool, it can be problematic for a business to get remote workers on the same page. If you provide the equipment that a remote worker needs to do his/her job, it can standardize some things pretty quickly. Not only can you install the software you are using, you can also have an easier time managing these systems; even if they are being used far from the central office.
- Improve communication – Another great tip for the business that is dependent on remote workers is to build your communications platform with the remote worker in mind. Sure you are going to use email and the integrated tools that the system presents, but you can also enhance remote worker collaboration by using communications tools designed specifically for remote collaboration. Collaboration apps do a good job of doing so, but the most valuable is a Voice over Internet Protocol telephone system. VoIP can help you save money and give your remote teams the tools they need to communicate effectively.
- Be involved – This may have to be by proxy if you run a larger company, but it is important that remote teams understand that their managers and business leaders are committed to the program they have laid out and will do what needs to be done to reach a satisfactory outcome.
If your business relies on remote workers, oversaturating their day-to-day tasks with more minutiae isn’t going to work. Having a successful remote team dictates that you find a balance between laissez-faire leadership and micromanagement.
A Two-Step Process You Can Use to Improve Remote Team Collaboration
When we write about collaboration, we typically do so by telling you about the tools and services that are available. These tools really do make a massive difference and save a whole lot of time and effort for project managers, decision makers, and other administrators. On the other end of this strategy are remote workers; most of which work from the confines of their home. Let’s not pretend that it’s simple to get the best work out of someone who is constantly dealing with personal distractions. This is why it is essential to get your team—the people who are responsible for the success or failure of your projects or service delivery—involved in said project or service delivery strategy early.
You can do this pretty easily if you follow this two-step process:
Collaborative Vision for Product or Service Delivery
In order to get a remote team invested the way an in-house team would be, you need to communicate and allow feedback. Part of the collaborative process is getting ideas from people who actually work on a job. One of the best ways to do this is to ask your staff the following three questions:
- How would you describe what we are trying to accomplish?
- What are some of the problems you see with the project as it currently stands?
- How would your approach differ from the one laid out?
By engaging the worker before the project commences, you not only give them the confidence that their opinion matters, you will get them thinking critically about the project that is being undertaken. Sure, ultimately your staff is going to have to do it the way that is best for your company, but getting the perspective of the people responsible for a successful conclusion to your project could not be more valuable.
You may want to split your team into groups and ask them to collaborate on individual adjustments they would like to make. This saves time over going through the whole process individually and will get better answers to the questions above. If you bring them back and identify the common issues presented by each group, you will have a pretty good idea of what concerns your team has. This is collaboration at its best.
Focus on the Problems
Once you have a list of group answers, you can pretty easily identify what problems your production or service delivery staff are considering. Then you can start collaborating on how to fix the would-be problems. For remote teams, you can do all of this with technology. Collaboration apps have been developed that integrate necessary software with a message board and instant messaging applications, making it a great tool for end-to-end collaboration, even if your teams are working from across the country. Integrations for these collaboration apps can include video messaging, collaborative production applications, and more.
Obviously, without technology, managing remote collaboration can get frustrating quickly. This is where Aspire comes in. We can set your business up with collaboration tools that are secure, reliable, and dynamic. If you would like to talk to one of our IT professionals about the technology behind impressive collaboration, give us a call today at (469) 272-0777.