Managing Remote Workspaces: 5 Ways To Develop A Collaborative Mindset

managing remote work

The traditional office setting is quickly changing in today’s fast-paced world. Since the pandemic, working remotely has evolved from an occasional switch-up to a widespread norm that benefits both organisations and its employees. Better work-life balance, lowered stress levels and increased flexibility are just a few of the reasons that remote working has become so popular.

Nonetheless, this new way of working brings new challenges, especially when it comes to fostering collaboration among team members who no longer share the same physical space.

So, how can we bridge the gap between distance and teamwork? In this article, we’re answering exactly that. Here are 5 ways to cultivate a collaborative mindset in remote workspaces.

1. Leverage Technology Effectively

Technology is the lifeblood of remote work — it’s what allows teams to be connected even when one team member may be working out of a coffee shop and another from their living room. However, simply having the right tools that align with tasks is not enough. It’s about using them effectively to facilitate collaboration.

For example, editing software like Adobe Acrobat’s free online PDF tools allow staff to edit and merge PDF files, making document management collaboration easier. Graphic designers may benefit from an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription, which includes Photoshop and Illustrator. Developers may need an integrated development environment for direct coding, debugging, and version control. These technologies allow for constant sharing of documents and joint efforts on creative projects.

Communication is key

Next, pick the perfect communication tools. Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom come bundled with a slew of features that allow for both synchronous and asynchronous communication. Video meetings are the closest medium to replicate in-person conversation, and messaging apps keep team members connected throughout the working day. Using project management tools such as Trello, Asana, or Jira, can also help with tracking progress, and ensuring accountability.

With access to the right tools, everyone can share their work and feedback to coordinate with peers, which helps bolster that “collaboration factor”, even in the virtual space.

2. Foster An Inclusive Culture

To truly maximise collaboration, create a culture where everyone on the team feels valued and heard. It all starts with open communication. It’s important to ask for suggestions from team members regularly, and genuinely consider their thoughts and opinions. You can employ virtual suggestion boxes, anonymous surveys, or open forum meetings to encourage space for your team to share their honest feedback. 

Inclusivity also means access to information. That could mean hosting meetings that factor in those living in different time zones and providing meeting minutes and transcriptions for those who cannot attend. Additionally, informal, virtual team-building activities can promote a sense of community and build trust.

Finally, celebrating differences is another way to ensure everyone feels valued. Whether it’s hosting virtual events to celebrate different festivals or traditions such as Pride Month, Lunar New Year or Eid Al-Fitr, acknowledgement of your team’s identities and cultures allows a greater understanding of each other and creates a more inclusive work environment

3. Encourage Collaborative Problem-Solving

In the world of remote work, problem-solving is a team sport. Instead of flying solo, it’s important to encourage employees to band together when facing challenges. You can do this by leveraging digital tools like Miro and MURAL that provide virtual whiteboards to help team members brainstorm ideas, organise thoughts, and visualise concepts in real time. 

Use sticky notes, drawing tools, and voting systems to help team members make decisions. Team members can submit suggestions, comment on each others’ contributions, and come up with solutions. Similarly, tools like Figma and Sketch are excellent for collaborative design tasks. Team members can work together to create design prototypes and modify designs efficiently.

4. Provide Ongoing Learning & Development

Remote teams need to feel engaged and motivated, and opportunities to grow professionally will keep everyone stimulated. Kick things off by giving your team access to online courses, webinars, and workshops that fit their career goals and the team’s needs.

Coursera, Udemy and LinkedIn Learning are high-quality sources filled with all means of multidisciplinary content. Encourage your team to share what they learn through presentations or informal knowledge-sharing sessions. This not only helps reinforce their learning but also creates a culture of continuous improvement and teamwork.

Highlight key achievements in meetings or internal communications to inspire other team members to pursue their own development paths. By embracing and prioritising continuous microlearning, you’ll help your team remain sharp, engaged, and ready to face any challenge that comes their way. 

managing remote work 2

5. Cultivate Trust & Accountability

Nobody likes feeling like they’re being micromanaged, let alone in a remote work setup. Trust and accountability are two pillars that hold a great, happy, remote team in one piece. Just as you wouldn’t want someone breathing down your neck when you’re trying to do your job, neither do any of your team members.

So, how can you cultivate trust and accountability in a virtual setting? It all starts with transparent communication. Discuss company goals, challenges, and successes openly to keep everyone in the loop — when you share with your team, they’ll feel more involved and have a better sense of what’s going on. Regular team and one-on-one check-ins can also help maintain transparency and nip any problems in the bud. 

Accountability goes hand in hand with transparency. Ensure everyone’s roles and responsibilities are crystal-clear to avoid misunderstandings. This is where using a simple system for tracking progress, whether it’s shared to-do lists or dedicated project management software can help everyone stay on track. 

And finally, don’t forget to recognise and reward accountability. When a team member excels, make sure you recognise their efforts — include a shout-out in a team meeting, write a “thank you” email, or surprise them with a gift.

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So there you have it — 5 great ways to develop a collaborative mindset when managing workspaces from afar. The truth of the matter is that while it may be slightly more difficult to harness collaboration when workspaces are miles away or entirely virtual, it is far from impossible.

So, implement these practices and watch your remote team create something great together, whether they’re the next-door neighbours or on opposite sides of the globe.

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