At Cohuba, we live and breathe collaboration. We know better than anyone that people achieve more when they work together; cooperating and coordinating to fuel better outcomes. As a fully remote team spread across the UK and Europe, all of our meetings happen online.
While our employees benefit from more freedom and flexibility over their working environment; distributed teams are not without their challenges, including how to engage and collaborate with co-workers who are hundreds of miles apart.
Good teamwork requires effort regardless of whether you’re in the same room or in a different country. For remote teams, the principals are similar, but the approaches vary.
If you’re looking to improve how your team collaborate online, here are some top tips that we’ve adopted over the last year:
Hire the right people
The first step towards a highly collaborative remote team is to hire people who share your values, who can thrive remotely and who have a variety of perspectives. The more diverse the backgrounds, the more points of view you get, and the more paths there are towards solving the hard problems.
Trust is the foundation of any good team, and mistrust is usually attributed to a lack of communication. Make an effort to engage regularly with all team members, whether through email, video chat or phone calls to keep everyone in the loop.
Create virtual hangouts
Just like in the physical office, it’s important that your team get the opportunity to have fun, socialise and get to know each other over non-work related things. At Cohuba, we have a team WhatsApp group where we share photos, videos and funny anecdotes. When you create a sense of community, people are more comfortable reaching out to each other when they need help.
Centralise your knowledge
Streamline and centralise all your company information so that everyone is on the same page. Make sure that people can easily find documents and resources and that all conversations happen in these spaces. Microsoft’s Office 365 and Google’s G Suite are fantastic cloud solutions that allow file sharing and team communication.
Ensure that your team are recognised and rewarded for their collaborative successes and hard work. Praise drives human behaviour, and human behaviour drives results. Recognition is the ultimate validation and a fantastic way to boost morale and enthusiasm.
Meet in person
No software or technology can completely replace being in the same room, especially as remote teams grow. Whether it’s once a year or once a month, make sure you give your team the opportunity to meet, collaborate and socialise face-to-face.
There will never be a point where your remote team set-up is perfect. As technologies develop, so will your understanding of how your team interact. Take the time to reflect, analyse and gather feedback on what you could be doing to better facilitate your communications. There is always room for improvement.