In an effort to recruit remote workers, many firms are now taking advantage of remote and hybrid work opportunities. However, such work environments bring significant changes, the most obvious of which is how teams collaborate.
From leaving sticky notes with client updates on an associate's desk to sharing information across an open office, staying connected virtually is a significant shift, especially for traditional firms. But the truth is, collaborating in a virtual atmosphere is easier than you might think.
When the right systems are in place, coupled with a culture of transparency, respect, and trust, building a highly collaborative and successful remote firm is 100% possible. Here are 4 strategies for building a collaborative culture at your remote, or hybrid, firm:
1. Ensure Your Firm's Goals Are Clearly Defined
Teams that strive toward the same goal - regardless of their geographical location - become more cohesive as they work together. As a result, collaboration is easy.
Consider this statistic from Small Business Trends: "Almost 65% of small business owners met more than half of their objectives during the last 12 months. Only 5% achieved all their goals." Collaborating will be easier if you develop a clear goal for your firm and put it in front of everyone. Everyone in your remote firm will remain productive and efficient if you have a clear goal and direction.
Identify your goal(s), share them with your team, and get them on board.
2. Build a Culture of Trust
Developing a culture of trust at your firm directly affects team productivity and engagement, ultimately impacting your company's success.
The hardest part of moving from running an in-person firm to a virtual one is trusting your team to do their work when you can't see them. But how can you build trust in your remote or hybrid team? Communication!
Any firm that wants to succeed needs effective team communication, but remote firms need it even more. Without it, misunderstandings can occur, resulting in a harmful work environment, unorganized workflows, and inefficient processes.
Here are a few more ways you can build trust within your team:
Try to be transparent
Meet with team members individually
Conduct team-building activities
Just know, it doesn't matter whether people work from a beach house in Mexico or the corner of their living room, when there is trust, everyone can focus on delivering their best work.
3. Have a Clear Workflow Process
You may have intermediate employees, newbies, and skilled experts on your team. Newbies are prone to making mistakes, intermediate employees know what they're doing and are not interested in learning new things, and expert employees have probably been doing monthly bookkeeping the same way for 30 years and are not eager to learn anything new. As a result, there may be friction rather than collaboration between your staff, which can lead to an inability to work together and an inability to have consistent work levels.
To ensure your firm's survival, you cannot afford to have friction or inconsistency in your workflow process. Below are 4 ways to overcome these challenges:
Make use of workflow checklists
Assign work to a team member as well as a project owner
Ensure that client notes and updates are documented efficiently
Establish realistic expectations for the project and its timeline
4. Meet Regularly
Ever heard of the saying "Out of sight, is out of mind"? The quote is especially relevant in remote firms where workers may not see each other for weeks or even months at a time. That's why meeting regularly, virtually or in person, is essential.
Having weekly standup meetings can be a great way to discuss last week's work and what's planned for the week ahead. It's also a great way to learn what everyone did over the weekend so you can build conversations and relationships from it.
In addition to weekly meetings, monthly and quarterly gatherings are great opportunities to discuss client work, firm goals, challenges, and solutions. These meetings are necessary for remote teams to thrive.
Team retreats are another great way to connect with your team! Many remote organizations get together at least once or twice a year to foster a sense of oneness and community.
Besides all of these, your team leaders can also schedule individual check-in sessions with members. Check-ins are an excellent way for employees to discuss issues they don't feel comfortable discussing during team meetings. To ensure these calls don't disrupt employees in the middle of working hours, plan them in advance.
There are many ways to make your firm collaborative, and the key is how prepared you are to establish processes and systems that support it. We hope this article has shed some light on how you can make it happen.
Interested in learning more about team collaboration and how to build a thriving organization? Contact Nifty today!