Working remotely requires team members to make a special effort around communication and collaboration. In an office setting, you can drop by a colleague’s desk on your way to the printer or catch a moment to chat during a lunch break. So communication flows easily and the types of communication you will have are likely to be more diverse – ranging from casual chats to formal meetings.
To recreate this level of communication in a virtual team is challenging and can be time-consuming for everybody. Each team will decide on the channels, styles, and schedules of communication that are needed to support productivity and to maintain cohesion and morale. As we all have different communication styles, you may need to adapt your style in order to be effective in a virtual job role. For example, maybe you prefer emails to face-to-face video calls but in a situation where you don’t meet your co-workers in person, those moments of face-time can be crucial to team-bonding and mutual understanding, so you might have to get used to them.
While it is important to be self-sufficient as a remote worker, you will also need to develop skills in remote collaboration. There are all sorts of apps and platforms that support collaboration across different geographical locations and time zones, but they only work if everyone is engaged and keeps the central workspace up to date. In the absence of whiteboards and project management matrices on an office wall, it is important to collaborate effectively with the tools available.
Tools that you might use for virtual communication and collaboration include:
- Video conferencing apps
- Instant messaging apps
- Chat platforms
- Project management apps
- Budget management apps
- Shared cloud storage for documents
- Collaborative document editing software
- Shared virtual whiteboards
- Virtual presentation software
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