3 Cs to a Successful Remote Team: Culture, Communication & Collaboration
At VForce, we’re committed to helping you build a successful remote team. We believe that it all comes down to the “3 Cs” — culture, communication, and collaboration.
With care and focus on these three essential components, we guarantee you and your team will be happier, more productive, and more successful.
Company culture is the foundation of a successful remote team. But what does “company culture” mean? It encompasses the character, values, and behaviors that contribute to the unique social and psychological environment of your organization. It’s what your company is made of — its personality. A positive workplace culture unites your team. It’s the key to attracting talented hires and driving overall engagement and it contributes to your team’s happiness, satisfaction, and performance. When your employees feel connected to your company, they feel proud with a real sense of belonging and tend to work harder.
However, establishing a positive culture for your remote team will not come as naturally as it would in a physical office, where colleagues can eat lunch together, enjoy office parties, or simply chat by the water cooler. For virtual teams, culture is derived through a mutual understanding and excitement about the company’s core values and goals. Employees understand how their work fits into the “bigger picture.” It’s driven by getting to know your employees as individuals, which can be as simple as asking them about their weekend or their family, engaging in team building activities, or organizing a virtual happy hour.
Culture check-ins: address team culture with your employees and get their feedback on important issues — how to boost teamwork, improve productivity, expectations are, and how everyone can work individually to succeed as a cohesive unit. Click here to read our article on establishing a workplace culture.
Effective and open communication is critical in the virtual office. Everything you accomplish will come down to communication. This starts by establishing the tools your team will utilize for communication, including email, chat applications like Slack or Microsoft Teams, phone calls, and video conferencing software. Discuss communication strategies regularly with your team to make sure everyone is on the same page and communicating effectively.
It’s important to take extra care when you’re communicating virtually — especially in an email since you can’t rely on body language, facial expressions, or tone to ensure your point comes across effectively. Remember that communicating remotely is a dramatic change in pace from face-to-face interactions, and that communications won’t always happen in real-time or during typical “business hours.”
Asynchronous communication occurs when you relay a message to your colleague without expecting an immediate response. In contrast, synchronous communication is when you relay a message and receive a response immediately. All remote teams will utilize a combination of these two kinds of communication, and it is important to keep these concepts in mind when you are communicating with your team. For example, if you send an email after business hours and want to make it clear that you don’t need an immediate response, consider adding “We can discuss this on our call tomorrow” to the message so your intentions are clearly understood.
Timing is another critically important factor. If your team works across different time zones, you will need to develop a productive workflow by acknowledging everyone’s availability. Accept that you won’t always be online at the same time for synchronous communication, but dedicate yourself to respond quickly, abide by deadlines, and set up specific times to talk, if possible.
It is also important to consider how you’ll communicate with each member of your team, — which will change depending on the situation. Sometimes it is more effective and efficient to explain a task over the phone than in an email. Sometimes it is helpful to provide an example of what you are looking for to get your message across about a specific task. And other times, it might be more efficient to do the task yourself than to take the time to explain it asynchronously.
Collaboration takes place when two or more individuals work together, and exchange ideas and skills to achieve a common goal. This is how your virtual team works together as one, where culture and communication both come into play. There are countless useful tools for virtual collaboration, like Google Workspace, Microsoft Teams, virtual whiteboards such as Miro, and others. A successful remote team balances the workload by completing tasks individually and collaborating with your colleagues. It’s often helpful to be able to track your team’s projects visually so you can keep up with who’s working on them, and the status of the project. Project management tools like Trello, Asana or Monday allow you to track progress on team projects effectively.
Remote collaboration will take many different forms. It ranges from multiple teammates working together on a shared Google Doc to sending a draft to different team members for feedback. The key is to focus on productivity and clarity in your communication.
A great way to ensure productive team collaboration is brainstorming. It gets the team working as one and often generates new ideas and solutions that otherwise would not be developed.
You’re on your way to managing a successful remote team!
With a focus on culture, communication, and collaboration, your remote team is set up for success. At VForce, we are here to help you every step of the way. Click here to view more of our remote work tips and tricks or here to schedule a free consultation.
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