The Covid-19 Pandemic brought many unique challenges and changes to the workforce that were unseen before. Because so many regions recommended or required people to stay at home, many companies converted to remote work, either partially or completely, to keep the doors open. In fact, 16% of all US-based companies are fully remote, while 22% of American workers will be working remotely by 2025. Before 2020 and the Covid-19 Pandemic, only 6% of white-collar workers did any remote work at all. This is a vast change in the work environment that shows how in-demand remote work is.
While working remotely has provided a great many opportunities and benefits for many, it has still shown many barriers. One of the biggest challenges is communication. Any successful work environment requires effective communication, and with remote work, that has proven to be a major barrier. This article will discuss the best ways to improve communication for virtual collaborations by using technology to your advantage.
What Is Virtual Collaboration?
Virtual collaboration involves online techniques for people to stay connected. This can be via video conference, instant messaging, or even email. In recent years, it has certainly gained popularity. As people have seen that they can be just as productive while working remotely, if not more, they have reduced the amount of time they spend in an office setting.
This kind of work template lets companies search from a larger employment pool while not creating any major issues in regard to working with other countries. At Virtual Latinos, our employees work from several different countries and locations within Latin America. This, however, creates no issues when it comes to time differences, as the average time difference from our Virtual Latinos employees to those in the US is plus or minus 2 hours. Our professionals can easily meet the needs of companies in other countries than their own. This short time distance means that teams are communicating more effectively and completely.
5 Steps to Create Virtual Collaboration
Any company that is looking to engage with virtual collaboration needs to create a plan so that its execution is as flawless and successful as possible. Without a plan, many transitions are poor and ineffective. Instead, following these five steps can help to make any virtual team collaboration effective.
Step 1: Choose the Right Team Tools
You’ve got your team handy, but now you need to know how to make virtual collaboration possible. Because communication is so important to the success of this endeavor, you need to make sure that you have the right tools available for this to work. Now, there are many different communication tools available. Everyone has probably heard of Zoom, but there are many other tools available to virtual teams. Slack is another popular one, as is Asana. Google even has one called Google Workspace. Whatever tool you use, be sure that you choose the one that will work the best for you and your team.
CRM tools like Zoho, Hubspot, and Salesforce work to manage relationships between team members, while project management tools like Asana and Infinity help to assign tasks, set expectations, and allow employees to keep track of their tasks and mark them as completed.
Step 2: Set Expectations
Setting expectations is crucial to the process of improving virtual communication. Just like any time a new job or task is defined, when implementing a new system, expectations need to be set so that everyone involved understands what their role is. Without expectations, no team member can know what they should be doing or recognize what their deadlines are. Because people aren’t working in person, expectations may be more difficult to explain or understand, so it’s important that those expectations are already set, leaving little left to chance.
Step 3: Check in With the Team Regularly
You can have all the tools and expectations in the world set up, but if you don’t follow through with these expectations, it means almost nothing. It’s crucial to the success of any team that someone is available to check in with each team member and have appropriate meetings to make sure any questions are answered and no one is feeling left in the dark on any part of their projects or tasks. With the help of a virtual project manager, your team can accomplish more.
Step 4: Apply Video Conferencing Appropriately
It’s possible that you’ve heard the new adage: “That could’ve been an email.” Much of the time, long meetings could be replaced with emails to provide information that’s more helpful to the team, without dedicating much time.. However, remote teams might need some of that face-to-face time so that they can engage with the rest of their team. Additionally, virtual tools make visual meetings possible. Google Meet and Zoom allow file sharing, screen sharing, and messaging, as well as video conferencing, so that teams can communicate more effectively during meetings.
Step 5: Report Clearly With Visuals
People tend to retain information better when they can engage in more than one form. Visual aids, like grafts and infographics, can assist in improving communication by giving teams another way to connect and engage. These visuals are more attractive to employees and can help them understand any company changes or new information that arises. A virtual assistant may be a cost-effective way to help you accomplish additional tasks, such as creating visuals and reports.
How Virtual Communication Helps Collaboration
For virtual teams to be successful, communication has to be open and effective. When people work together physically, it can be easy to stop by an office or cubicle to share information. But with virtual teams, it’s sometimes less convenient. However, there are so many strategies at your disposal to make sure that communication is easier.
Increase Team Engagement
Engaging virtual teams helps to raise their commitment to their position. When they feel like they’re more connected to their work, they’re more likely to perform better and engage more with their team. When communication is easy between members of virtual teams, they’ll be more likely to communicate openly with their cohort.
Misunderstandings happen because communication isn’t effective. If members of a team feel more comfortable communicating with one another, they’ll communicate more freely, thus reducing the occurrence of misunderstandings. While it may be impossible to totally eliminate misunderstandings, it’s easy to make adjustments and accommodations to make sure they happen less frequently.
Enhance Emotional Intelligence
Not everyone will thrive in a remote work environment. While some people may be completing good work on time, that doesn’t mean they’re feeling stimulated or connected. Remote work can be lonely for some types of people, but good soft skills help people communicate better. Offering opportunities for team members to learn better communication skills can help them feel more connected to the team so that they won’t succumb to loneliness.
Register as a Business With Virtual Latinos
At Virtual Latinos, we hand-pick the most talented virtual assistants in a personalized process to suit a variety of needs and industries at a lower price than American employees. Our Latin American virtual assistants can act as another you, helping your virtual team work better together for as long as you need. They can tackle nearly any task and rise to meet nearly any challenge to ensure your team is connected in the digital age. If you’re ready to discover the best-kept secret embraced by many industries, register as a business and start working with Virtual Latinos today.