Successful collaboration between various teams and its members is still the most important element on which the success of a company is built, as it can significantly improve the quality of work, communication and decision-making. And since the digital environment is currently the main location of work activities, with partially automated workflows and integrated apps, it is crucial to find some proven strategies that could bring the collaboration to the next (digital) level.
With so many tools and technologies available, it can be challenging to navigate the world of digital collaboration and find the best practices for your team. That’s why in this article we would like to share with you the most helpful ideas that could let your team work together better than before.
So let’s dive in! First, there are some steps that need to be taken to create a clear framework for the collaboration.
- Set clear goals and expectations: define the purpose, goals, and expectations of the collaboration effort upfront, including roles and responsibilities of team members, timelines, and deliverables. This ensures that everyone is on the same page and aligned towards a common objective.
- Choose the right tools: Select appropriate digital collaboration tools that suit your team's needs and workflows. Also make sure that team members are trained and proficient in using the selected tools so it doesn't become a fly in the ointment (for more tips, check our article on tools & methods for digital collaboration)
- Establish communication channels: create designated communication channels, such as team chats in business messengers, email, video conferencing, and project management tools, and create specific guidelines for their use. That will allow your team members to communicate way easier, as different channels are meant for different purposes, which will give the team access to the right information faster and keep everyone updated.
- Establish clear workflows: define and communicate clear workflows and processes for team collaboration, including task assignments, deadlines, and progress tracking. When everyone definitely knows their roles and responsibilities, the tasks are completed in a timely manner and there are less errors and double work done.
- Foster a collaborative mindset: it may be unevident, but it takes some effort to encourage a collaborative mindset among team members, where they actively seek input, feedback, and ideas from each other. This promotes innovation, creativity, and a culture of continuous improvement and collaboration becomes a continually advancing flow of interactions.
In addition to these fundamentals for digital collaboration, there are some less obvious tips that can also contribute towards better team work:
- Create a virtual "watercooler" space: set up a designated channel or area in your communication platform where team members can chat and share non-work related topics and interests. This fosters a sense of community among team members and creates deeper relationships.
- Use humor: injecting humor into your communications can help to break down barriers and create a more relaxed and enjoyable work environment. Share funny memes, jokes, or GIFs with your team to lighten the mood and reduce stress whether in the designated channel or try breaking the ice during the video-conferencing.
- Have virtual lunch or coffee breaks: schedule regular virtual breaks where team members can grab a coffee or lunch and chat about non-work topics for 10-15 minutes also when working remotely. This is a really great way to replace the social interactions that would normally occur in a physical office environment.
- Create virtual team-building exercises: there are a variety of online games and activities that can be used to build teamwork and collaboration skills. You can look for games that would develop communication skills, or for example would focus on knowledge of the area in which the team works (for example: the marketing team could unite in a game of "guess the brand")
- Encourage "do not disturb" hours: as well as proactive interaction, so the individual work and setting boundaries is also an important part of the collaboration. Support your team members to block off certain hours of the day where they can focus on work without interruption. This helps to promote productivity and reduce distractions.
Of course, it's impossible to include all the tips in a single article, but we've tried to choose the two most useful and practical ones that you could take advantage of directly. It's also worth mentioning that an effective digital collaboration can't exist without optimizing other parts of your workflow, for example, without integrating several applications that teams constantly use to retrieve data more easily. So beyond introducing strategies for digital collaboration, we also recommend looking at the problems more holistically and considering other solutions, such as collaborative workflows.