Successful remote work can be supported with asynchronous, remote software tools
Working from home or a coworking space comes with its own set of challenges and adaptations. You may feel more disconnected from your team, or you may not receive the same level of support as co-workers who are in the office together. Because of this, it’s important to have processes in place that make working remotely easier and help you foster stronger relationships with your colleagues. Working remotely can also make you more productive by giving you greater flexibility in your schedule. Here are a few tips for collaborating effectively as a remote team and improving your remote work experience.
Choose when and if you want to have meetings
Having regular meetings in an office is a tried-and-true way to keep your team connected. But when everyone works remotely, it’s easy for these kinds of regular meetings to fall by the wayside. And while there are times when having a virtual meeting makes sense, it’s important to be mindful that they’re not just a regular part of your work schedule.
Consider the reasons why you have meetings in the first place—such as to share information, solve problems, and build relationships—and choose whether or not you’ll have them on a remote team. It also helps to have some guidelines in place so that you don’t have to make meeting-related decisions on the fly.
For example, you might decide that you’ll only have virtual meetings for one-off discussions and you’ll only have scheduled meetings for things that need to happen regularly.
You might even decide to go more 'asynchronous' and eliminate as many meetings as possible. This is a philosophy that is gaining steam.
Have video meetings as often as necessary
W. A video call can help you feel more connected to your team and can be a great way to kick off a project or build relationships. Always have a video meeting ready to go so that if you need to talk to someone, you don’t have to wait until they’re in the office. This can be as simple as a Zoom or Google Hangouts call with a friend or colleague. You may also want to have a more formal video call with your manager once a quarter to check in and let them know how things are going.
Use Screen Sharing or Loom for Discussions
Working online means that you can share and discuss documents with your team members, no matter where they are located. But these kinds of conversations often happen either via email, or you have a colleague in the office “take over” their computer and share the screen with you. Using a screen-sharing tool will help you manage these types of conversations more efficiently. Screen-sharing apps like Loom let you easily share your screen with anyone, regardless of where they are located. You can also use Loom to record your screen and create a recording that others can play back and listen to later.
Make Static Collaboration Rooms
When you need to discuss something with your team, you may want to create a virtual meeting room that’s available to everyone on your team. This can be helpful when you want to discuss something in a more structured way, such as when outlining a project or handling feedback. Several virtual meeting room apps let you create a separate space for your team to come together and discuss issues or ideas. You and your team can then reference these meeting rooms for future discussions and build on the discussions that happened previously.
Keep Deliverables in Sync
Whether you’re working with clients or other internal stakeholders, there may be a time when you need to collaborate on a proposal. If you’re working with people who are all in one place, it’s easy to get everyone on the same page and have a document that everyone can edit at the same time.
But if you’re working remotely, it’s easy to fall behind and have people get out of sync. There are a couple of ways that you can keep proposals in sync as a remote team. One option is to use a tool like Google Docs, Fellow and Twist that allows you to build an entirely remote, asynchronous, collaborative workflow. This lets everyone on the team have access to the same documents/priorities and decision-making notes and allows you to easily see who is contributing and what they are editing.
Use Video Collaboration Together
You may already be familiar with tools like ScreenHero or Zoom that let you video chat with people on your team. But these aren’t just screen-sharing apps. With these services, you can also share files and documents or even draw or write on a virtual whiteboard. When you’re trying to solve a problem or brainstorm new ideas, it can be easier to do this with a video collaboration tool. Instead of having to type out your ideas or suggestions, you can quickly record them in the video app and share that with your team.
Get really good at documentation
Working remotely doesn’t mean that you have to cut back on documentation—in fact, it may mean the opposite. When you’re working with people who are in different places, you may have to create even more documentation because there’s less opportunity to have spontaneous, informal conversations. To make sure that everyone on your team has the information they need, try to get good at creating documentation. Start by creating documentation for yourself—when you find yourself wanting to do something, write it down so you don’t have to rely on your memory as much. This documentation can be as simple as taking notes on your to-do list or keeping track of ideas in a notebook.
Working remotely comes with its own set of challenges, but it also comes with some distinct benefits. You may find that you’re more productive and you have greater flexibility in your schedule. When you work remotely, it’s important to have processes in place that make it easier to collaborate with your colleagues. With these tips, you can make remote work a more seamless experience.