There's no better feeling than when your team is collaborating together and you reach that "lightbulb" moment.

You know the one I'm talking about. When you come up with a new idea that breaks the mold. Or when an agreement is finally made on how you'll carry on creating a new and exciting project.

Some may think that that kind of moment only happens when you've been sitting around a table in a conference room for hours on end. But that's not the case. Truth be told, effective team collaboration can happen when you're working remotely, too.

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Those in a team collaboration setting are self-managed and there aren't specific roles assigned, meaning there is no thinking of "this is my job and that is your job". This establishes that team collaboration depends on not only working together but thinking together. The end result of team collaboration comes from the efforts of the entire group, as everyone is an equal part of the group, and there is no clearly defined leader.

Some examples of team collaboration are:


  • Brainstorming new ideas
  • Group discussions
  • Reaching an agreement about a new process
  • Analyzing a problem to create a solution

What Is the Difference Between Collaboration and Teamwork?

There's no denying that team collaboration is vital to your business, but you may be unsure of how collaboration differs from teamwork. Especially because both teamwork and collaboration enable employees to work together efficiently to complete tasks and reach targets quicker.

While both work together to achieve a shared goal, there are some key differences. When I think of teamwork, I think of a sports team. For the sake of this example, let's use baseball. You have your pitcher, third baseman, outfielders, catchers, and most importantly, your coach. You all have the same goal — to win the game. However, everyone has a different role in getting there and there's a clear leader, the coach.

A successful team depends on the leader to achieve the goal, and that's where the difference is. Teamwork is usually overseen by a team leader, and those within the team are given individual tasks to complete to contribute to the end goal. With team collaboration, everyone works together as equals, without a single leader, to come up with strategies, new ideas, and to make decisions together to complete a goal that can be measured.

Besides sports, other examples of when you'd use a teamwork setting are:


  • To complete a project
  • To hit targets
  • When carrying out training and development

Benefits of Team Collaboration

There are some clear benefits that your team will experience when embarking on collaboration. For starters, your team is bound to experience an increase in productivity and flexibility. When your employees or fellow coworkers are working collaboratively, you'll experience an equal and fair distribution of work, which gives everyone the ability to make the most of their unique skill set.

As collaboration improves and becomes more productive, so will your business's ability to handle any sudden change that may occur. When collaborating effectively, it's easier to pivot based on the customer's needs or the overarching goals of the company. Whether this happens in smaller group settings, in team or company-wide meetings, or even through a SaaS tool such as your corporate performance management tool, you'll know that your team is ready for anything.

You may also find that team collaboration leads to more innovative thinking from your team. As you brainstorm together, collaboration is likely to draw out creative ideas with innovative and productive solutions to the workplace. This process opens up multiple methods of achieving the same goal, with the least amount of effort.

Your business as a whole is also likely to experience an acceleration in product development, thanks to a collaborative culture. Effective teamwork and communication will automatically speed up the entire process, making it easier for your company to produce something. As a result, the ability to create value, and bring that value to customers, accelerates.


Team Collaboration Strategies for Hybrid and Remote Teams

Whether your company is fully remote or has specific individuals in various departments who work remotely, you can still achieve all the benefits of collaboration when you carry out specific strategies.


1. Don't bombard the team with messages.

Communicating with remote team members can sometimes feel like you're shouting into the void. You may find yourself wondering ...

IS ANYONE OUT THERE?

Chances are you aren't the only one who feels like this. No matter how tempting it may be, don't follow up a task with an email, a text, and then a video call request. Don't start every conversation with "Hey … did you get my email?". It's easy to feel like you need to abuse various touchpoints, but when you do, you establish a form of digital dominance, which can be not only annoying but extremely off-putting to other members of your team.


2. Establish communication norms.

Hybrid and remote teams need to create new norms that establish a clear way to communicate, especially when it comes to collaboration. This can look like many different things, but it all comes down to choosing the right software and sticking to it.

For communication that doesn't revolve around status updates on various projects, choose business instant messaging software that keeps your remote workers connected with the team asynchronously.

On the other hand, if you're looking for clear and concise knowledge of where people are in the project pipeline, make sure your remote team is taking advantage of everything that project collaboration software brings to the table.


3. Make the most out of video calls.

There's no denying that email is a useful tool, and so is instant messaging, there's something about seeing a friendly face over a video chat.

Make sure your employees are set up with the video conferencing tools they need to collaborate effectively. No matter what video conferencing software your team uses, it's a great way to boost morale and eliminate some of the loneliness that your team members may feel as they work remotely.

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Since video chatting requires that employees get in front of the camera and show their faces, it's a great way to have a personalized and intimate conversation where you can see their body language and facial expressions. It can also limit any misinterpretation or miscommunication that can happen when you're not looking directly at the person speaking.


4. Up the encouragement and recognition.

Remote workers work hard — they put in the hours, they deliver on their personal goals, and they are consistently crossing items off their to-do lists. However, because they're doing all of this remotely, they may feel that their hard work is going unnoticed by their direct reports or upper management.

It's important to increase how often you recognize their efforts and encourage them to keep it up. This can look like many things — whether you take the time to write a positive note about a coworker for various people to see or you give them a special call-out in a team-wide meeting, this praise builds a culture that recognizes hard work and positivity.

So, whether members of your team are consistently performing a task well, exceeding their deadlines, going above and beyond to help others, or maintaining a positive attitude, a little recognition can go a long way.


5. Make time for fun.

Similarly to taking the time to give remote team members positive feedback and encouragement, it's important to squeeze in a little fun, too.

It's especially important for teams with remote employees, who can feel like they're missing out on milestones like birthdays, hitting a major company goal, or simply the socializing that comes from seeing someone in an office setting. Having fun is an essential part of connecting with one another so that you can effectively communicate and collaborate during work hours.

This can be done by scheduling team-wide happy hours, trivia nights, or simply an after-work chat where you discuss things that are happening in your lives outside of work. You can also go with something small, like enjoy your morning coffee or afternoon snack on a video call, which can do wonders in building relationships and morale across remote teams. (Check out these team-building ideas for inspiration.)


There's no I in team.

Just because you have remote team members doesn't mean you can't benefit from all that effective collaboration can bring to your company. At the end of the day, it comes down to making sure that the remote work software your team is using, like a cloud content collaboration tool, allows everyone to thrive at their highest potential.

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