Collaboration. The glue that keeps a startup together. However, collaboration can suffer when your teammates are scattered across the globe and trying to work on the same goal.
At times, remote collaboration can be messy or throttle creativity and innovation.
You've surely missed an important message before. Or you've possibly written a native response that sounded sarcastic to your boss. You've probably wasted a ton of time thinking about whether you should press send on a Slack message.
For 20% of people, collaboration and communication are the two biggest problems when working remotely.
When it comes to online communication, breakdowns happen often.
But there are ways to overcome the challenges of remote collaboration. Let's look into how you can win with the best team collaboration for your remote startup.
What Does Effective Team Collaboration Look Like?
If your startup is anything like the rest, the chances are that you are either fully remote or following a hybrid model (that means your team members can work from home or come into the office, usually a close to 50-50 split).
As time goes on, there's a chance you'll go fully remote. Why? For several reasons, some startups do it to tap into the global talent pool, others to save on expenses like office space.
Whatever the reason, we're slowly shifting towards permanent remote collaboration in the workplace. At least that's what 80% of top CEOs think – and here at Kosy, we tend to agree.
But what does effective team collaboration look like for a remote team?
Here are the five aspects that make up good collaboration in a remote setting:
- You will move faster: Moving fast is one of the best competitive advantages a startup can have. To do so, you need to eliminate friction within your team. That’s innate in the physical office and needs to be thought through more deeply when working remotely.
- You will have fewer but higher quality interactions: By understanding how your teammates work and think, you will be able to anticipate their needs, questions, and concerns which will eliminate the need for a conversation on minor issues.
- You will resolve complex issues more efficiently: As your team finds it easier to understand each other and communicate ideas, you will be able to work through complex issues faster and with more efficient solutions.
- You will have more autonomy and control: As trust increases that everyone is working for the common good, it will be easier to remove micro management and give everyone the autonomy and control they deserve to do their best work
- You will feel like a team with a shared purpose: The workday will just be more enjoyable as you will feel like you are part of a team with a similar mission/objective and working together towards a common goal
8 Powerful Ways to Master Team Collaboration
Now that we know what to aim for, let's look into the how. How can you make sure your remote team is collaborating effectively?
You can do some key things to set your team up for success. Let's take a look at them:
1. Build a Collaboration Culture from Day One
Start as you mean to go on. From the beginning, make it clear that collaboration is important to the company's success. Encourage your team to work together and ensure everyone is on the same page. Set the tone for the rest of the company's journey.
2. Empathy Drives Collaboration
If you want your team to collaborate effectively, you need to be able to put yourself in their shoes. Try to understand how they're feeling and what they're going through. Your team members have to understand each other as professionals and humans too. Deep personal connections can keep the team together during the most challenging times.
3. Feedback, Feedback, and More Feedback
If you want to improve collaboration within your team, you need to give feedback, not just any feedback, but the proper feedback. You should give feedback frequently, and it should be specific, objective, and actionable.
Start with these three things, and you'll be well on your way to building a collaborative team in no time.
4. Communicate Expectations Clearly
The first step to effective collaboration is clear communication. Every team member is picked for a reason. They have an ability that contributes to the team's success. Make sure everyone knows their role and what's expected of them.
If you fail to do that, your team members might start leaving. According to a McKinsey research, around 62% of people want to feel "more purpose" at work. So make sure everyone knows how their work contributes to the company's success.
5. Encourage Team Members to Brainstorm
The second step is to encourage team members to brainstorm. Brainstorming sessions are a great way to get everyone's ideas out. And when team members feel like their ideas are being heard, they're more likely to be engaged and invested in the company's success.
Remember, four standard features of brainstorming are:
- Quantity: The more ideas, the better.
- Piggybacking: Building on each other's ideas.
- Freewheeling: No idea is a bad idea.
- Non-evaluation: Criticism is not allowed during brainstorming.
If you can create an environment that encourages these four things, you'll be well to better collaboration.
6. Transparency at Every Level
The third step is to make sure there's transparency at every level. Everyone should know what's happening, from the CEO to the entry-level team members. Again, there are a few ways to do this.
First, you can use an intranet or a tool like Kosy to create a virtual water cooler where everyone can socialize and chat.
Second, you can have regular team meetings where everyone can give updates on what they're working on.
And third, you can make sure the company's goals and values are clear to everyone.
7. Have Built-In Time for Glitches
The fourth step probably isn't something you thought about, but hear us out. Having built-in time for glitches can help improve collaboration.
What do we mean by this? When you're working on a project, things will inevitably go wrong. And when they do, it's crucial to have a system to deal with them.
After making a mistake, our brain needs more time to process the information and develop a solution. So if you can build in some extra time for your team to deal with glitches, it can help them collaborate better.
8. Get the Right Tools
The fifth and final step is ensuring you have the right tools to help your team collaborate better. Yes, there are thousands of software programs out there. But which ones will help your team?
Some of the few recommendations are:
- Notion: An all-in-one organizational tool that helps with task management, allows you to set reminders, and organize your workflow.
- Miro: A whiteboarding tool that helps with brainstorming and visual collaboration.
- Kosy: Virtual office space that helps with communication and collaboration. Allows you to have the benefits of an office no matter where you are.
Closing Thoughts on Team Collaboration
Hopefully, these five steps will help you build a more collaborative team. But remember, it's not always about the tools you use. It's also about the people you have on your team.
Make sure you have the right people, and the rest will fall into place.
And if you're looking for a tool that will enhance your teammates' abilities, make sure to check out Kosy. We're the leading online workplace that helps with communication and team collaboration.
Do you want to try Kosy out? We offer a it's free, so it's risk-free!