According to Aircall, virtual collaboration is the act of using digital communication tools to generate ideas, critique, or complete a project with colleagues despite working in different locations or at different times. In this article, we’ll be considering the benefits of virtual collaboration by highlighting some of the top reasons why it is important for professional teams to thrive in 2021. As a result of the pandemic, businesses have realized the benefits of remote working, developing ideas to improve virtual collaboration has become important. Virtual collaboration is good for business, however, it comes with its own challenges. Managers need to do what is necessary to increase the productivity and happiness of employees. To achieve this, organizations must adopt virtual collaboration best practices.
Challenges of virtual collaboration
Virtual team collaboration can only be achieved if the right tools are put to use. Some examples of virtual collaboration tools include Slack, Asana, Trello, Basecamp, Dropbox, and Remo.
When workers are trained on the use of virtual collaboration tools, their virtual collaboration skills are also enhanced. But learning these collaboration tools takes time to fully integrate into a worker’s routine.
Remote teams are most productive when work processes, communication channels, and workflows are clearly established.
Remote work may not be a favorable option for managers and team leaders due to the preconceived notion that accountability is reduced when employees are not present in the same space. This is quite true because, in an office setting, supervisors can see how workers are working, how many breaks they are taking, how they are communicating amongst themselves, etc.
The challenge with this idea is that the working style of workers is not acknowledged: employees work best when they are in line with their own personal preferences. Workers mostly don’t put in their best when they feel they’re being “watched.” With the right virtual collaboration strategy, managers can give workers the right amount of time and space they need to be productive to the maximum.
Teams are at their best when communication and collaboration are effective and regular. In a professional environment where a lot of administration going on, communication has to be regular for team members to stay aware of projects. Visibility is the crux of virtual collaboration, when the workload is well distributed and workers are aware of each other’s roles, they respect each other’s time and efforts.
However, there are certain factors that make virtual teams not collaborate effectively. some are as a result of issues present in all office environments while some challenges are unique to a given team.
Benefits of virtual collaboration
Now, let’s consider some top reasons virtual collaboration is important for professional teams in 2021. According to a study by Queen’s University of Charlotte, 75% of employees regard teamwork and collaboration as important. There are higher chances of success when teams collaborate effectively.
Effective collaboration results in:
1. Promotion of problem-solving
Collaboration allows team members to put their best foot forward, share their knowledge, and solve problems in a creative way. All while making sure that all gaps are well-covered. Employees are encouraged to be innovative by finding new and creative ways to solve existing issues and anticipating new challenges while being rewarded for their efforts.
2. Learning and sharing of skills
Collaboration allows team members across the board to share knowledge, add different perspectives to issues, and provide unbias feedback on projects. When knowledge is shared, the capacity of colleagues is enhanced and they can advance together at the same pace.
3. Increase in employee satisfaction
When employees feel more connected to an organization, they feel more satisfied. Workplace culture is improved and workers are more motivated. When employees know that their opinion is taken into consideration in the decision-making process, they become more enthusiastic to put in their best at work.
4. Alignment of goals
Collaboration allows team members to bear the future in mind. This is done by helping workers to understand the vision of the organization and aligning their skill set to it. This way, workers know that are contributing to the organization beyond their daily routines. Nothing motivates workers better than knowing their work is highly valued.
5. Efficiency in workflow processes
When teams collaborate, employees understand the workflow process. They are able to provide support to one another when the need arises. Supporting one another builds a healthy relationship among colleagues and this means higher job satisfaction within a healthy work environment. When workers feel supported, they have the courage to work without fear.
In conclusion, the coronavirus pandemic has revolutionized how work is done. However, the lifestyle of working from home has been a long way coming. There are many benefits of remote working. And after the pandemic, it’s not likely that remote working would stop in the shortest possible time. It is thus safe to say it is here to stay. Organizations must begin to leverage these benefits by adopting virtual offices and creating a comfortable environment both remote and onsite.