Encouraging Collaboration For Remote Workers During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Working from home amid the COVID-19 crisis is a challenge for many businesses. Discover tools that build communication and camaraderie among remote workers.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, companies are scrambling to find practical solutions to meet the technology needs of employees who suddenly find themselves working full-time from home. This new routine can be isolating for employees who are used to congregating around the watercooler or each other’s offices to discuss projects and suggest creative ideas for their next assignment. If you’re not accustomed to having a distributed workforce, you may be wondering how you can best support collaboration and camaraderie when your team is spread out. Here are some tips to facilitate communication among team members.
When people are working from different locations, workflows can easily become fragmented. Apps such as Slack and Google Hangouts help teams connect virtually while collaborating on projects and managing other tasks. Employees can create digital to-do lists, delegate responsibilities, and check off completed items so there is no confusion about what has already been done. Task-management tools also make it possible for colleagues to share documents and provide feedback in real-time.
Setting up virtual workspaces enables employees to come together almost as if they were on-site. To bridge the distance over which your team is spread out, you can create a virtual workspace complete with offices, desks, and common areas. Employees can stop by each other’s offices for a chat, or gather in the digital “break room” for lunch, enjoying both structured and informal meetings.
Create a VPN
Security and accessibility become paramount when your team is working from home, where internet connections are sometimes unpredictable, especially when employees have to share bandwidth with other household members. Setting up a VPN allows you to create a private network that your team can sign into remotely, ensuring they have adequate access to company data and can perform their jobs just as effectively as they could on-site.
Your team can still reap most of the benefits of in-person communication, even when they can’t meet face-to-face. Video conferencing allows remote colleagues to communicate more effectively, as they can observe body language and other nuances that can’t be conveyed via texts and message boards. Likewise, collaboration is more authentic via video than over the phone. Some video conferencing tools come with helpful features you won’t find at the office. For instance, when using Zoom, you can change the background to eliminate visual distractions. If your at-home workspace doesn’t look like an office, you can obscure details such as a cluttered kitchen table or that pile of dirty clothes next to your desk in the bedroom. Additionally, screen-sharing enables you to make important documents visible to the entire group in real-time so everyone is on the same page about what’s being covered. Video conferencing also provides an effective means of bringing remote employees together for training and other professional development opportunities.
Partner with a Reliable IT Service Provider
With a reputable IT company on your team, you can leverage technology to optimize collaboration, productivity, and morale among your employees. Tech experts provide consulting to help you find practical, cost-effective solutions that best meet the needs of your business. They also provide round-the-clock network monitoring and other services so you can focus your energy on core tasks. Your staff will have access to resources and on-demand tech support so they’re not sidelined by technical difficulties. In short, IT services allow you to navigate the transition to remote work as seamlessly as possible.