Negosentro | How to Foster Innovation and Collaboration With a Remote Team | There is no shortage of benefits associated with working remotely. From working in your pajamas to the personal flexibility to avoiding the rush hour commute, it’s sure to improve your life in a variety of ways.
However, working remotely is not all fun and games. You still need to perform at a high level, and doing so means regularly collaborating with your team.
When you have a plan in place for fostering innovation and collaboration with your remote team, it’s much easier to be confident that everyone is moving in the same direction.
Steps for Moving Forward
You know your remote team better than anyone, so it’s up to you to ultimately decide how to foster innovation and collaboration. Don’t ever shy away from taking a unique stance.
If you’re looking for a push in the right direction, here are five ideas to consider:
1. Make Communication Simple
This is where many managers make their first mistake. They want their team to collaborate and communicate throughout the day, but it’s difficult for them to do so. With so many tools—such as Slack and Zoom—there’s no shortage of ways for employees to communicate.
For example, if three people are collaborating on a project, they can provide status updates in Slack. And as necessary, they can use Zoom to hold video or voice chat meetings.
Go above and beyond to make communication simple on your team.
2. Encourage Teamwork
Some teams have a natural way of connecting. They never find it difficult to collaborate effectively and productively.
Others, however, struggle with the practice of managing a productive and connected remote workforce. There are several ways to overcome challenges to managing a remote workforce, including but not limited to:
- Create a clear, honest, and transparent communication strategy.
- Implement a regular, yet flexible schedule.
- Humanize interaction by understanding what your team is going through.
- Enable your team to take action and trust that they’ll do so appropriately.
Conversely, other teams struggle with this for one reason or the next. Some don’t realize the importance of teamwork. Some don’t want to collaborate with others.
It’s your job to get your team on the same page. It’s your job to encourage teamwork by boosting creativity and helping your team see things differently.
It may not come easy, but don’t give up. The more you try, the more your team will realize how important teamwork is.
3. Provide Flexibility
Innovation doesn’t come easy. For this to happen, you need to provide your team with the tools and motivation they need.
Flexibility is one of those things. When employees are well-rested, feeling good, and happy with their work-personal life balance, they’re more likely to work innovatively and creatively.
Once again, some tools can help you provide flexibility and promote innovation. For example, you could make it mandatory that your employees take vacation time at certain intervals throughout the year.
You could also use tools, such as online sticky notes, that make it easy for your team to brainstorm throughout the day.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of micromanaging your team when you’re not in the same physical location. The more you do this, the more you’ll push them away. Take the opposite approach by providing a flexible work environment that suits all their needs.
4. Schedule Get-togethers
This is easier said than done in today’s world, but there will come a time when you’re once again able to meet with your team in person.
By scheduling regular get-togethers—such as once a month or once a quarter—you give your team the ability to spend time in a face to face environment.
In the meantime, you have to make do with what you have. And for most managers, that means relying on video chats and other technology to collaborate and communicate on both a professional and personal level.
Ask for Feedback From Your Team
Are you struggling to foster innovation and collaboration with your remote team?
Rather than continue to fight tooth and nail, take a step back and ask your team for feedback. This can be as simple as asking questions such as:
- What are your current thoughts on how we collaborate? Has it been a positive or somewhat lackluster experience for you?
- Do you feel that you have all the resources you need for innovation? Are you lacking something?
- What would you like to see more of in regards to innovation and collaboration?
- Are there any changes we can make to help improve your productivity and performance?
It’s questions like these that will spark conversation and give you a better idea of how your employees feel about their current standing and performance.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, more people than ever are working in a remote environment.
If it’s your responsibility to foster innovation and collaboration, don’t wait another day to formulate a strategy for doing so.
There will be ups and downs, but over time everyone will settle into a routine that works for them. And at that point, you’ll realize that your team has what it takes to perform at a high level—even when working remotely.