Let’s say that you’re an independent type of worker—a lone wolf, if you will. It can be a hard transition, then, to go into the remote work world because its backbone is one of collaboration.
Thing is, collaborating in a remote work environment isn’t very different than it is in a traditional office environment.
Learn how to make the most of collaborating in a remote workplace and thrive as a remote worker with these tips:
Make the effort.
Collaborating in a remote workplace might seem like a big deal because it isn’t something natural—at first. The fact is that workers collaborate with each other almost all the time in a regular workspace. Those friendly cubicle drop-ins and impromptu gatherings in the company’s kitchen—this exchange of information (and yes, gossip) all adds to the overall collaboration of the company.
But without that face-to-face interaction, more thought needs to be put in to collaborating, advises Sarah Moe, owner and co-founder of Flauk, a fully remote company that helps people launch their own remote businesses. “Often in the typical office setting the collaboration is built-in because you’re sitting right next to your co-workers,” says Moe. “When teams work remotely it takes more thought and intentional practices to create collaboration, but it’s certainly possible.”
Know your own communication style.
In order to communicate effectively, you should assess what your own style is. You might be an email maven, an instant message marvel, or a reach-out-and-call-someone type of remote worker. Knowing what your preferred mode of communication is (and then using that method more frequently) can help make collaborating less burdensome, and possibly prevent those awkward moments that can sometimes come from working virtually.
Make the most of it.
Working remotely has a bevy of advantages, both on a professional and personal level. Teams and companies can make the most of collaborating in a remote environment by creating schedules and project checklists and setting up meetings.
At Flauk, Moe’s teams have weekly video meetings to give team members updates on the projects they’re working on, “and also spend some time just chatting just like you would in a brick and mortar office,” says Moe. Google chat is a great way to keep up with other team members, whether it’s to see if someone has finished their part of a project or if they’re going to attend the virtual brown bag lunch with the rest of their team.
Have the right programs in place.
Collaboration wouldn’t be possible without having the right programs at your fingertips. Some of the must-have tools and programs for collaboration include Asana and Trello for team project folders and checklists, Slack and Google Hangouts for chat, and Zoom and Google Hangouts for video meetings. When you have many options to choose from, collaboration can become easier—and perhaps even enjoyable!
Not all collaboration has to be about projects and presentations—it should be personal, too. After all, in order to truly feel connected in a remote company, you have to be proactive about being a part of the community. So look for opportunities to connect that don’t necessarily relate to work, but that boost bonding and improve relationships among you and your teammates.
Being intentional about getting to know your colleagues outside of the “office” can help build stronger relationships that will make your remote job fulfilling on many levels.
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