The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has in a great way affected how team members interact. While working remotely can be quite a challenge, knowing how to boost your team’s virtual collaboration skills will give you a great start.
Below is a list of ways to help improve collaboration skills of your team members:
● Build Relationships
There is no better moment to foster the relationship between yourself and team members than now. Build an intimate relationship with them by finding out what works best for them; this will further encourage them to put in more efforts. Everyone has one challenge or another to deal with amidst this pandemic; some have family pressure to deal with in addition to work pressure. In building a solid relationship with your team members, you work out a plan that accommodates their daily activities. For those with children, you might try finding out what time of the day works best for them given their parental responsibilities. In addition, find out from your team members what challenges they might be passing through. It doesn’t end there; device means of helping to solve their issues no matter how little.
● Set Short-Term Goals
We are currently in a period of uncertainties; it is, therefore, important to have a scale of preferences so as not to overwhelm your team members. Take it one step at a time and set reasonable and achievable targets. While setting these targets, ensure you carry your team members along every step of the way. Make them feel important and involved; this will give them a sense of belonging and boost their morale. The more achievable targets are set, the easier it becomes to achieve them and this in return leads to a sense of achievement not only for you but also for your team members.
● Keep Communication Clear and Open
There is no collaboration without communication. During this period, it is your responsibility as a team leader or business owner to communicate effectively with your team members. Be clear about your expectation from them while they work from home; that way, they can put in all efforts towards achieving the task at hand. After communicating your expectations, you should also ensure the communication line is kept open at all times. There are some project management tools available for you as a team leader, these tools will help to oversee the progress of your team members whenever there is a need for it. Video calls should also be conducted at least once a week with your team members, this is to bring in a little touch of the office feel. Seeing one another often can help boost your team members’ virtual collaboration skills.
● Make Use of Online Collaboration Tools
Face-to-face meetings have become almost impossible as a result of the pandemic. This has made it necessary for employers to device means of staying in touch with their employees.
Several tools exist in order to make this a possibility. Some of these tools are:
o Video conferencing tools: Video conferences help team members stay in touch with one another. It also promotes interactions with remote workers. It is however not limited to project alone, but also for discussing a wide range of topics and events that will help move the organization/business forward. Video conferencing tools include Zoom Meetings, Cisco Webex,
GoToMeeting, amongst others.
o File-Sharing Tools: Team members need access to various files and documents. This will enable everyone to be on the same page at every point in time. File sharing tools include Dropbox, Samepage, OneDrive, amongst others. These tools will help your team with file sharing from any part of the world and provide access in no time at all.
● Be Flexible
Organizations have found diverse ways to adapt to the evolving trend of having to work remotely. This evolution needs some level of flexibility in order for it to be effective. Flexibility is required in working with your team members, this will help them give the work their best and put in all required effort. Flexibility is also required with respect to the expectations placed on team members; as much as you as a team leader expect them to perform at their best every time, it is important to leave room for changes and flexibility.
● Make Resources Available
Team members need access to all the time and resources needed to adjust to working remotely. Our environments have a way of affecting our productivity and creativity. Your team’s collaboration skills can only be boosted when they have access to everything they need. This is not restricted to resources alone but also includes their work environment.
Your team members will react to this adaptation differently, it is important to attend to each of them based on their individual needs. Once team members are provided with all necessary resources, it boosts collaboration. Furthermore, it motivates them to work better and more efficiently. With respect to resources, providing conference call services to team members is vital. See to it that they all have access and also ensure the service is not prone to crashes. As much as it is necessary to discuss vital issues over video calls, see to it that there is a bit of fun to ease the tension that might be building up. This also creates a relaxing environment for team members to fit in.
Working remotely this period is a new experience for a lot of people, including your team members. What this means is they will need as much reassurance as they can get to keep them motivated all the time.
Feedback comes easy when working one on one in a particular space with your team members. However, it hits differently when done remotely. This doesn’t make it impossible; it only means you have to put in more effort and be more deliberate about it. Your team’s collaboration skills will be boosted when you as a team leader provide feedback daily. This can be done either by phone or video calls and via email. The frequency will
depend on an individual, so it is important you find out what works best for each person.
Your productivity as a business or organization doesn’t have to go down the drain this period. Putting the aforementioned to work puts your team in the right state for increased results.