By Batoul Khalifeh, Operations Manager, Best practices for nurturing healthy collaboration and communication for remote teams
Work from home (WFH) folks report higher preference for this way of working than working from an office, but it also comes with challenges. In the first part of a three-part series, we listed some of the ways we’ve been managing the challenges of unplugging after work hours. In this second part, we’ll discuss our experience in cultivating collaboration and communication within a remote team. Stay tuned for part three, loneliness, in a future issue.
At Kerning Cultures Network, we try to design our communication channels with the intention of aligning them with our collaboration values:
- To build trust and confidence rather than fear and intimidation
- To create and maintain alignment top-to-bottom
- To have clear and efficient work processes
- To grow and learn through effective and constructive feedback
- To create and nurture a sense of community within
Collaborating on setting objectives and measurable performance results
Allowing team members to contribute to strategic conversations within the organization can be a tremendous motivator. It makes them feel heard and seen, and their input valued. This is particularly rewarding when it’s related to setting their own performance drivers.
“Keep in touch”, we say that sometimes when we bump into someone unexpectedly but how often do we actually follow through despite the best of intentions? A good practice is to pencil a time into the calendar. Depending on the team members and their status as full-time or part-time, we set up biweekly or monthly check-ins between each team member and their team lead. We focus on questions ranging from a simple “how are you?”, to “what are some challenges or opportunities of growth or support have you identified recently?”. Not every meeting will reveal epiphanies, but having this regular check-in nurtures a human connection, offers a safe space for constructive feedback, and helps everyone to stay on track.
Agendas, agendas, agendas
We’ve been getting more and more into the habit of setting agendas ahead of calls or meetings. On the one hand, it helps the people conducting the meeting focus their thoughts and communicate clearly the purpose of the call and resolve any pain points. On the other hand, it allows all attendees the opportunity to prepare in advance and make the call fairly efficient and effective.
Recaps & next steps
This is one of the most effective yet underused practices within organizations. After the call is done, it’s highly recommended to share a brief recap and next steps to all stakeholders. Those who weren’t able to attend will benefit from being brought up to speed, and those who own parts of what needs to be done to push things forward are clear on their next steps.
It might be a slow roll-out at first, but when it becomes standard practice within your organization there will be no turning back.
With these values and best practices in mind, we seek out the tools that best meet our needs. There are many, many, many tools out there and it can be quite daunting to sift through them and find the right fit for your organization. It might involve some trial and error, but it’s always worth the time; it’s an investment.
Here are some of the tools we recommend that are agile, user-friendly, and get the job done:
|Collaborative documents (i.e. Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, etc)|
|Slack for ongoing communications|
|Trello & Unito, Notion, Asana for project management|
|Culture Amp for team performance and development, regular feedbacks, and soft skills growth|