The current changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic have prompted leaders in various fields to resort to redefined ways and strategies of communication and collaboration. This means various remote teams have to be innovative in enhancing their capability to explore and innovate beyond their previously set limits. However, the challenge becomes coordinating and synergizing different teams to work together in collaboration and cooperate for the success of any business venture. This is because these teams could be distributed in different and diverse geographical locations, making it tough to bring them together. In this regard, this article discusses the 10 possible ways through which one can improve virtual communication and collaboration under any circumstance.
1. Selecting the Suitable Communication Strategy
Any virtual team has access to various communication technologies, such as email, chat platforms, video conferencing, web conferencing, and the numerous channels on social media. This diversity allows employees the option of using the tools that offer more convenience and are generally accustomed to. However, the dilemma becomes when you use the wrong communication technology, which results in low or poor performance. This is even though many technologies that offer virtual communication are designed to provide almost similar services, becoming a challenge for employees to decide on the most suitable technology for virtual communication and collaboration. Therefore, you have to consider the task you want to accomplish when deciding on the suitable communication technology, such as using text-based channels, such as email, bulletin boards, and chat for one-way communication. On the other hand, you can use web and video conferencing for complex tasks such as problem-solving and negotiations.
2. Develop Cooler Moments for Virtual Communication and Collaboration
Come up with ways in which your virtual team has some time to engage and share various experiences that are not related to work, which helps them to create and develop strong connections with one another. For instance, you can arrange for intra-team sessions in which your team comes together to share a cup of coffee. In effect, this gives the members of your team to have casual and enjoyable conversations. Furthermore, you can use the message boards to create forums for cooking lovers, photography enthusiasts, pet lovers, or avid travelers. This is aimed at creating a homely feeling and spaces that allow team members to interact and share knowledge and experiences.
3. Create a Strong Team Trust
The success of any virtual communication and collaboration is highly dependent on team trust. The trust develops faster when the communication is effective and regular, which means you have to regularly engage the team members in the daily updates and conversations, as well as weekly meetings. Moreover, you should develop a culture in which your team members are constructively criticized and praised to help build and sustain team trust.
4. Create a Document That Enhances a Flawless Process
Ensure that each member of your virtual team has goals, roles, and tasks that are clearly defined. Additionally, you have to come up with a way of measuring the performance of your team, and this data needs to be captured in a special document that can be easily accessed by everyone. This allows the team members to know what you expect from them, which in turn helps to improve the overall productivity and focus.
5. Utilize Inclusive and Open Communication Strategies
When your team members come from different geographical locations, it means they also have different cultures, backgrounds, and experiences in life. Therefore, you have to use inclusive and open communication strategies for you to make the best of their diversity. In this regard, you have to involve every team member in company decisions and crucial communication. Furthermore, you should seek their opinions and perspectives, and develop effective strategies towards conflict management. Importantly, always strive to include suggestions and ideas from the team members in your decision-making process.
6. Ensure to Effectively Manage the Differences in Time Zones
In cases where the team members are distributed on different continents, you have to create effective strategies for managing your work within the different time zones. This prevents you from creating gaps or isolating some members of your virtual team. You need to implement a working system that shows you the availability of your team members based on the time zones. Various tools can help you in accomplishing this, such as Spacetime.am and Boomerang, which can help you to effectively manage the time zone differences. Moreover, you can employ the use of international PEO services in cases where your team members work from different countries.
7. Reward Achievements
The best way of ensuring your team members is continuously focused and motivated is by regularly rewarding or acknowledging their achievements. This should include the virtual team members to which you should send personalized short messages that acknowledge any achievement whenever they accomplish certain tasks or meet set targets. Furthermore, you can reward your team members through pay raises and bonuses, especially if the profits you are realizing can comfortably accommodate that. This is a sure way of improving the virtual communication and collaboration between your team members, as they will feel appreciated and willing to work to increase the productivity and efficiency of your organization.
8. Create Knowledge Spaces
You can bring every team member on one similar page by centralizing and streamlining information. Furthermore, strive to ensure that your team members can locate and access valuable information with ease, enabling them to effortlessly reuse and modify the information where necessary. Creating knowledge spaces that allow team members to access important information eliminates the probability of repetition and miscommunication. As a result, the team members will have the ability to communicate with ease, making it easy for them to collaborate in realizing the goals of your organization.
9. Host Occasional Face-to-Face Meetings
It is recommended that you host face-to-face meetings with your team members once or twice every year. In this regard, choose the dates and venues in advance, which helps to prepare your virtual team members for the meeting. These meetings act as opportunities for the members to interact and build trust, which helps in strengthening the culture of your company.
10. Develop an Efficient Work Environment
The best and professional work environment should guarantee comfort for every member of your team. Therefore, you have the prerogative to encourage each team member to dress professionally and always work from a distraction-free environment. This approach helps in contributing to the overall success of your company through effective communication and collaboration. Moreover, the efficiency, creativity, and flexibility of your team members in their performance are set to improve when you have an efficient work environment in place.
The tips discussed in this article are quite useful in ensuring the success of any communication and collaboration between virtual team members in your business organization. They are a sure way of improving the virtual communication and collaboration between your team members, as they will feel appreciated and willing to work to increase the productivity and efficiency of your organization. You can use these strategies in times and situations in which your team members are distributed in different geographical locations, or during a pandemic and still come out with the same results as when hosting face-to-face meetings.
Author Bio: Duresa Sadrija is a SEO Outreach Specialist for KS Outsourcing and has more than 2-years of experience. Duresa is passionate about traveling, reading ans she can speak Albanian, English and German.