Advice For Employers
How to Encourage Collaboration While Working Remotely

As we all become better acquainted with remote work, some unexpected benefits are coming to light. Some studies are suggesting that working remotely might boost creative problem-solving. We encourage you to take advantage of this by championing the following approaches to inspire remote creativity and collaboration with your remote teams in the following ways: 

1. Endorse Flexibility 

We mentioned in a recent post that for many of your employees (and perhaps you as well) homeschooling children for the first time and juggling a million other variables, a typical nine-to-five workday may no longer be possible. That’s okay

Instead of trying to force your employees, or yourself, into a rigid schedule, allow your team freedom and flexibility. Let your employees create their own daily schedule and give it back to you so you know when they’re available. If your team needs to keep stricter operating hours, offer scheduled free time during the day to help employees find balance with their other obligations and responsibilities. This flexibility will create opportunities for your team to relax and refresh. Focus on results, rather than when people clock in and out. If they are finding a balance and making it work, embrace it. 

2. Engage Often 

One of the main reasons creativity and collaboration suffer for remote teams is that people feel isolated. There aren’t enough opportunities to work with coworkers on complicated tax returns or look at projects from a different perspective.

As a leader, you can remedy this problem by creating opportunities for your team to engage often. Here are some ways you can facilitate connections:

  • Schedule in regular video meetings, both one-on-one and with the whole team
  • Update your team on company news 
  • Allow for ongoing communication through email and chat options
  • Be readily available for questions or discussions
  • Celebrate individual and team successes (this is especially important!)

Share your screen during agenda-driven or creative-problem solving meetings. This way, when you’re collaborating, it feels more like a whiteboard. 

3. Embrace Separation 

There’s a fair amount of evidence to suggest that while groups do a great job with collaborative feedback, brainstorming creative solutions alone may be better as you’re not worried about how to present each new idea. Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to sit in front of an empty Word document when you’re thinking; take a walk, pace around the house, or do a mindless task like folding laundry. Then, when you meet with your team on Zoom or Microsoft Teams to share your ideas, your collaboration might be more effective. 

If you’re looking for more industry insights on leading remote teams, visit our website or call us at 612-333-OGGI (6444) to learn more.