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7 Ways to Boost Virtual Team Communication and Collaboration

February 17th, 2021 by admin

A man working from home using a laptop and headset

With the majority of people today still working remotely, the 40-hour workweek has been digitized. That has its own challenges. How can you ensure quality communication virtually? Here are some ideas to improve communication during this period of remote work.

1. Create a virtual water cooler with Microsoft Teams

Communication can be enhanced when there are multiple ways to communicate, such as video, instant messaging, and team channels for each small group you may work in. These channels should allow for structured team meetings and updates with each member reporting out and unstructured meetings, which create that virtual "water cooler" moment and allows each member to share on various non-business-related topics appropriately. Microsoft Teams allows for:

  • Communication is driven by instant messaging and audio/video chat
  • Live meetings and on-demand recordings
  • Integrations with Office 365 apps such as Planner as well as third-party services
  • Mobile app for on-the-go teamwork

2. Utilize All the Features of Microsoft Office 365

For many businesses, being able to collaborate with in-house departments and employees, and third-party or remote individuals is an essential factor. Office 365's Co-Authoring tool allows multiple users to collaborate on a piece of work at the same time. Employees can engage with each other on the same project, and no duplicate copies will be created because the updates are seen in real-time, you can see who has made what change at what time. The multi-collaboration feature also helps to save time as you do not have to wait for other people to finish working on the piece before you can make your edits.

3. Embrace morning meetings

As remote work has become the norm for my organization and countless others, ensuring that we are communicating clearly with one another is a top priority. Understandably, the structure of your typical day in the office cannot translate perfectly to the virtual office setting. In other words, there has been a need for adaptation as the organization has shifted into this new environment. A prime example of this is daily morning meetings. In the office, we would simply turn to one another and share our wins and priorities for the day. Now, we gather around our virtual office in Zoom and do the same. It sets the tone for the day and allows us to communicate in ways that work with our shifting surroundings.

4. Ask clarifying questions

Remote teams can get in trouble when assumptions happen. Always encourage your team members to ask clarifying questions. As a leader, you should always be excited when your team is looking to communicate more and ask questions.

5. Be mindful of video calls

Many businesses are using technology like Zoom or Microsoft Teams for both "in-person" meetings and social time. With so many of us are experiencing 'video call overload', it helps to be very intentional about finding the right cadence and structure for the calls, as well as encouraging breaks throughout the day. You may also schedule some phone calls offline to break up the day.

6. Utilize AI

Another option for virtual collaboration could be creating community spaces using digital tools and AI to contribute equally with high-performing autonomous teams, built on trust. This eliminates the need for middle management.

7. Try team-building activities online

Many organizations have taken team-building events and converted them for the virtual space. Once a week you could have a team meeting where the whole corporate team all comes together on your remote work platform. Employees take this time to recognize each other for their hard work. Leadership communicates what is going on with the company, as well as sharing any birthdays or anniversaries.

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