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Remote Collaboration: Common Challenges and Solutions

Remote work can bring many benefits to your company. But managing a remote workforce and fostering collaboration means unique challenges you don’t usually encounter in an office. You’ll need to be creative and proactive in overcoming the common roadblocks to successful remote work.

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In this article, we’ll discuss some common challenges and their solutions. That way, you’ll have a toolset to keep your team on track for success. Let’s get started:

Communication Issues

When your team is working in the office, it’s easy to resolve communications issues. However, we rely on body language a lot, so being distant from your other team members can cause problems.

You can resolve this issue by making video calls mandatory. You’ll be able to clear up any doubts or questions instantly. Your team will also be more likely to bring their A-game, knowing that their appearance and work area will be visible to others during the call.

Furthermore, email can quickly spiral into a backlog mess. Using chat software like Slack helps you communicate in a live environment.

You also benefit from having conversations shared in the cloud. You can take an actionable component from one conversation and hand it off to another team member seamlessly.

Resource Sharing

Your team has numerous resources that need to be shared in a safe and timely manner. That way, you don’t have too much lag time when multiple people in your company are dependent on the same resource.

This is even more crucial with a remote work environment because you can’t just walk over to another colleague’s desk.

Here are some common resources that need to be shared and some solutions to address these needs:

Large Files

Product videos that need to be rendered, marketing assets with high resolution, and other large files can be a pain to share manually.

If multiple members work on the same file, it can be a mess to trace back changes. Cloud storage apps like Dropbox or OneDrive allow you to automatically sync files so the rest of your team can access them easier and faster.

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Customer Data

If you’re not using a CRM to keep track of your customers, you probably aren’t learning as much as you can from their buying behaviors and other important data.

From simpler options like SugarCRM to more sophisticated options like SalesForce, a CRM lets your team keep notes about customers with the confidence that you can track every customer interaction over their lifecycle.

This will also improve collaboration between different departments in your company. For example, your sales team will have insights into customer service questions and offer better and more relevant products or services.

Training and In-House Materials

Another overlooked aspect of remote work is training your people right. You can overcome this obstacle by creating instructional videos of each part of your business. Each team member can have a custom training path, all accessible in the cloud.

You can opt for an LMS system or create a central knowledge hub containing resources on all important aspects of your business.

Working in Different Time Zones

You might have an employee who hands off a task to another employee 12 hours away in another time zone. This means you’ll need to be extra careful about setting deadlines. Anything more than 8 hours in terms of time difference will cause significant logistical hurdles.

For instance, you might have meetings or customer calls that are at odd hours for certain employees. This can lead to missed meetings, low energy, or frustrated team members, all decreasing the quality of their work and productivity.

You can bypass this by using an app that allows team members to make their schedule known. They can input their availability in their own time zone. The software will convert the time zone to everyone else’s local times, so no one needs to convert times or be confused about scheduling.

Productivity

If every employee worked a full day at 100% capacity, you would have a golden unicorn of a business on your hands. However, being humans, your team will need some guidance to stay on track.

Productivity is often confused with efficiency. However productivity is about being efficient and effective. Efficiency is merely doing something well. If your employees are truly productive, it starts from the top.

You need to set clear outlines for their job responsibilities. What is an example of success, and what is not acceptable?

You can always install time tracking and website blocking software to prevent employees from slacking off while you’re not looking. However, if you are holding employees accountable for their results, then the in-between time will take care of itself.

Custom-Fit Solutions

Depending on the size and the unique needs of your company, you might need something more custom-tailored. Having an internal business app is nothing new anymore since everyone is using smartphones and apps.

Employees enjoy the ease of access to schedules, calendars, messaging options, knowledge hubs, etc. For your business, it means you can provide your team with everything they need to stay on top of their work so they can focus on what truly matters.

Here are some things you can do with an app that otherwise become larger challenges in remote teams:

Feature Creation

Have a unique pain point in your organization that traditional apps don’t help with? That’s where having your own app really becomes a competitive advantage and a time saver.

Speed

When an app is custom-built to your organization, you can cut out features that bloat your network. A more streamlined app will work faster and cause less frustration.

Security

Today more than ever, cybersecurity is of the utmost importance. You need to have the right firewalls, antivirus, and other security measures in place. When you build your team’s main platform from the ground up, you can ensure essential security features are built in from the start.

Even if you don’t have a dedicated IT team in your company, you can collaborate with outside professionals. This means you’ll save time and money on hiring new developers while being able to set specific requirements for the features you need.

Wrapping Up

Every business leader has a unique set of challenges. However, when you oversee a remote team, these issues can amplify. The good news is that with the right tools and strategies, you can prevent issues before they happen and keep your team safe, happy, and productive.

Create a plan to address the most pressing issues with these tools as your guide. The end result is less stress, more productivity, and greater clarity around your business operations as a whole.

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