Pro Tips on How to Collaborate with Remote Design Teams
Web design teams: The massive transition to remote work was a shock to millions of people in early 2020. However, the remote employment trend had been there before COVID-19. So, millions of people are used to freelance or part-time work from their homes or remote offices.
Remote collaboration definitely poses some challenges for extroverted, communicative employees, but overall, it is a flexible and appealing option for many. Besides, it’s getting more popular among businesses unable to afford an in-house dev or design team. Outsourcing a piece of project work to UI/UX design agency is the new norm today, and businesses need to learn to make the most out of such a collaborative model.
So, if you are one of those who love remote work but need to address minor drawbacks of such an arrangement, read on. Here is our handy guide on remote design collaboration that can help you save time, resources, and nerves on the way to a stellar web product.
#1 Invest in Effective Communication
Setting up strong, effective communication within the remote team is the first thing you can do to make things work. People who communicate with each other regularly and trust their team members are more likely to help each other, complete tasks on time, and work productively in the team no matter the format.
Thus, you need to invest time and effort in creating shared values in the team, teaching everyone respectful, efficient interactions, and monitoring the team climate. The project work gets immediately stuck if there is an internal conflict or disconnection within the team.
#2 Establish a Collaborative Culture
Every business understands a collaborative culture differently. Still, in a nutshell, it is an intangible artifact of a distributed team that allows it to work together as one, even if everyone works on their separate tasks. A team with a strong collaborative culture can function as an autonomous unit and make vital decisions even if some employees are absent. Such teams work well without direct supervision and serve the company’s mission, each in its own way.
Building such a culture is a lengthy process that requires much effort. First, you need to hire staff with a collaborative mindset, able to integrate with the existing teams and contribute to the broader business mission. Second, you need to clearly communicate the company’s vision, values, and mission so that team members can adopt them and direct their efforts toward making those plans a reality. Third, it is vital to reserve time for team building and communication, staff onboarding, and communicative training to keep all team members equally competent in remote communication standards.
Credit: The Official Microsoft Blog
#3 Hire a Team Lead with Remote Work Experience
Who should step in if a problem or discord arises in a distributed team? How can a remote team self-organize and self-direct its efforts? Obviously, arranging such a team’s work is very challenging. Thus, you need to hire or appoint a Team Lead who will work in that team on the development or design tasks and will at the same time coordinate other team members’ efforts. It’s vital to engage a person with an experience in distributed team management for this role. Otherwise, the leader’s actions may seem confusing, bringing a greater discord to the team’s collaboration.
#4 Make Every Team Member’s Contribution Visible
Working in physical isolation from each other often creates a sense of psychological isolation and loneliness in remote workers. This reverse side of the remote work medal is a very significant bummer for choosing the distributed team model. Once employees feel disconnected and lonely, their productivity falls exponentially. As a result, you can receive a dysfunctional team.
Solving this problem is easy if you make every team member’s contribution visible. Set the expectations for every person, use individual tracking methods within project or task management software, and reward employees for their performance at meetups and conferences. You’ll see the gains of this approach very quickly.
#5 Be Available 24/7
A good team coordinator is always available for inquiries, discussions, and suggestions. Such universal availability is especially significant in remote work conditions, as employees often have no other point of contact for a quick clarification. Your task is to create an efficient system of communication channels via which the team can reach out to you. Set the expected timeframes for answering and be visible across all channels.
#6 Prioritize Informal Communication
One of the major drawbacks of remote work is the distance at which all team members operate. Unlike an office where a quick chat with your neighbor is enough to clarify a point, remote communication and collaboration often get too cumbersome and time-consuming.
To manage this problem, you can take the following measures:
- Minimize the virtual distance between team members. Organize team-building activities and add more informal communication into the working routines. This will help employees get to know each other better, build trust, and bond together as a team.
- Organize offline-like working sessions. It’s common for distributed teams to set up a virtual working room for everyone, which creates a sense of office presence. For instance, you can initiate a Skype or Zoom conference with everyone working from their homes and unmuting their microphones if they need to ask a question or give a brief comment. Everyone is listening and can also unmute the microphone to respond to that inquiry. This way, a common virtual space for work is set up, giving workers an illusion of presence and an effective tool for communication in real-time.
- Keep employee characters in mind. Many team leads go the extra mile to organize as much communication for remote team members as possible. But the reality check shows that up to one-half of the remote workforce are introverts that don’t need that much interaction with teammates. Thus, you need to carefully assess your staff’s communication needs, setting up the right channels for everyone.
Remote Work Can Be Rewarding
As you can see, remote work is a very flexible and appealing option for modern businesses. It allows hiring the best talent across the globe and progressing through your business projects every with limited budgets. Still, successful remote teamwork is an outcome of careful planning and organization. Use our tips to do that for your employees, and their productivity will be impressive.