We’ve all heard of the phrase, ‘there’s no I in team’ - and it’s never been more true. Collaboration, teamwork, and sharing ideas is a keystone of any successful business. Over the past year, the importance of collaboration has been both challenged and proven by remote working. With every meeting on Microsoft Teams or Zoom, businesses have had to find new ways to adapt to remote communications, constantly finding new and innovative ways to collaborate to achieve goals.
In this article, we discuss the importance of collaboration and how it has proliferated over the past year. but how do you know that this is sustainable? And how do you know your team feels supported while collaboratively working remotely?
As Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield found in the company’s Future Forum Survey, 72% of surveyed workers want to maintain a hybrid working model; whilst only 12% would like to return to the office full-time. Remote working is not a new phenomenon, and it’s only going to get more popular; so let’s have a look at how best to complete projects effectively and efficiently when collaborating remotely.
Why is collaboration important for businesses?
First, let’s take a look at why collaboration is a key ingredient of any successful business. It may seem obvious, but it can often be forgotten that talking about ideas collectively can aid the formation of new processes, products, and thoughts. Patricia Kammer, the principal researcher of Steelcase, finds that collaborating towards goals, dividing responsibilities, and working together in synchronized activities can both inspire people to think innovatively in a group and give them the confidence to conduct tasks alone.
Moreover, collaboration can reinforce your company’s shared vision and ethos, establishing a strong foundation of values that each person will take with them into their tasks. Research conducted by Gusto suggests that 54% of surveyed employees stayed at a job longer than they had originally intended if there is a strong community atmosphere, such as friendly coworkers, a common mission, or celebrating milestones.
Creating a clear sense of community within the context of remote collaboration reduces what is known as ‘affinity distance’; or how connected your team feels to company values, a sense of trust, or interdependence.
3 key elements to securing success with remote collaboration
As much as 75% of employees see teamwork as important to any business’ operations - with collaboration ranking within the top four important skills for employee success. So, how can you ensure that your remote workplace encourages collaboration? Here are three suggestions to get you started!
Find digital alternatives to physical processes
It is key to find alternatives to physical collaborative tools in order to allow for successful collaborative working online. This is especially important with generative work where new content and ideas are being created; we’ve all been in a team meeting where the best ideas form from conversation and sharing thought processes visually! Thankfully, there’s a range of software out there that will enable you to do this. For example, Miro is a brilliant online whiteboard tool that ‘turns ideas into tasks’. Using its website in real-time, you can create ‘boards’ to share with your team, where you can doodle, mindmap, or create post-it notes.
Establish a community of respect and boundaries
Even when your team is physically distanced, their productivity and wellbeing will be sustained so long as a strong company ethos has been established. If the collaborative processes you’ve established for remote working are efficient, chances are you’ll see a higher level of productivity, optimised and streamlined processes, effective teamwork and happier employees, and overall increased efficiency of operations.
You can even use remote working to your advantage; as studies suggest that introverted members of your team are more likely to say what they think online versus in physical interactions.
Celebrate successes and champion inclusivity
One of the best ways to enforce a community ethos where each team member is valued is to celebrate successes and important milestones. By creating intentional spaces for celebration, you provide a reminder to your team that good work does not go unnoticed - in or out of the boardroom. For example, you may wish to dedicate a portion of time per meeting to highlighting the achievements of individual team members.
You should also aim to provide an inclusive and welcoming environment where possible; you may wish to initiate team-building activities to boost morale, or establish social channels for ‘water cooler chat’.
Of course, not every team member may want to take this offer; however, it is always vital to ensure that your team knows they can speak to you - and each other - in an inclusive, caring environment. An open-door policy can extend to Zoom rooms!
How does Prolancer assist collaborative working for businesses?
While 75% of employees believe that teamwork and collaboration are of the utmost importance, Prolancer certainly does too. That’s why we have a number of different tools and processes in place to make your remote communications as smooth as possible.
Using Prolancer, you can hire a team of individual experts or a team made of a business plus experts. This ensures you can hire for all aspects of your project in one place.
When you hire through Prolancer you get free access to ProToolKit, a suite of tools specifically designed for collaborative teamwork.
Features of our ProToolkit include:
- A platform for creating tasks and milestones - here you can easily check which milestones have been completed, allowing you to congratulate your team members when and where appropriate. This tool connects to other toolkit functions too; so you can cross-reference to-do lists and in-progress tasks with the documents required to complete them.
- Cloud-based file management - This allows your team to upload and share project files with the click of a button. Your shared project space will enable you to keep track of collaborative documents, making sure you’re all on the same page.
- Trust-building tools such as our Escrow accounts system. The Escrow function establishes trust between you and your expert freelancer by ensuring that payments are made fairly, on time, and with ease. By finding trusted professionals with whom you can share a work ethic and business ethos, your team will naturally gel and work towards a common goal.
Use Prolancer today to hire a team of experts and start collaborating!