6 Ways to Boost Collaboration While Working from Home

When working from home, one of the main concerns that managers have is the potential loss of collaboration. With the off-the-cuff and spontaneous idea exchanges that occur frequently in the office all but gone, how can collaboration still take place in an effective way? 

While it’s true that communication has to be different when working from home, collaboration doesn’t have to disappear. In fact, with a reinforced focus on collaboration, it can be better than ever. Here are 6 ways to boost collaboration when working from home. 

1. Take Time to Consider What Your Team Needs 

Every team is different, and so the solution to working collaboratively while remote will be different for each team. Consider what your team needs – is it fresh ideas? Feedback and honing? Process checks? What does collaborative working look like in the office? The answers to these questions will help you to focus on a solution that works for you. 

2. Let Technology do the Heavy Lifting 

We have all become much more used to the different technologies available for remote working, but make sure that you don’t just stick to what you know. Trial some of the different platforms available to see what works best for your team – for example, Trello, Asana, Slack or GitHub. It’s easy to stick to what you know, but you may well find that one of the other options is far better for collaborative working. 

3. Create Space for Social Interactions 

When everyone is busy, it is often social breaks that get dropped first. However, these are absolutely vital to ensuring continued collaboration among your team. Purposefully book in time to chat, play games or do quizzes and make sure that everyone has the space in their calendars to take part without distraction. The more opportunities your team has to bond, the more comfortable they will feel about reaching out and collaborating. 

4. Build Good Behaviours 

As with anything, it is not enough to tell your team how to collaborate remotely once and expect them just to go away and do it. Reinforce the behaviour, publicly celebrate those who are doing it effectively and – above all – ensure that you are demonstrating the behaviour you expect yourself.  

5. Be Aware of Meeting Fatigue 

It is tempting to book in brainstorming sessions through a video conferencing platform, but bear in mind how many meetings your team members are already taking part in. Too many meetings can cause fatigue – and that isn’t going to help anyone come up with new, innovative ideas. If you want your brainstorming sessions to be via video call, then consider which other meetings you could pare down or cancel to give your team the mental capacity to get fully involved. 

6. Above All, Practice Empathy 

If you are someone who prefers to work in the office, it can be easy to get frustrated about a perceived lack of collaboration while your team is working remotely. Some members of your team may well be feeling frustrated themselves and will want guidance. Others will prefer working remotely. It’s down to you to understand each member of your team and what works best for them. Check in regularly, make sure you are approachable if someone has an issue and above all remember that collaboration is far less likely to happen if your team don’t feel trusted and safe.