This is part one in a series on remote team collaboration.
Your remote team may be separated by thousands of miles, but modern technology can bring them together in a collaborative environment. The staff can improve their productivity and play off each other’s strengths with this configuration. Choosing the necessary solutions for your remote team requires an in-depth understanding of the work they accomplish, the devices they rely on and the average technical aptitude of your staff.
Start With the Problem
Too many businesses start by looking at collaboration software and going through the feature lists and pricing. This approach fails to focus on how the applications benefit your remote workers, or whether the team actually needs any of the functions offered by a vendor.
Find out what barriers get in the way of remote collaboration. Your employees and contractors may lack centralized file storage that leads to duplicated work, or important discussions may get lost in old email inboxes. Your technology choices should support the way your remote team works rather than getting in their way.
Get Buy-in From Your Remote Team
Involve your remote team in the procurement process and build their excitement for the new solution. When you keep them in the loop, you gain their valuable perspective to find out what’s most important to them. Those must-have features turn out to not be a big deal for your staff, but they often bring up considerations that you overlook.
Thoroughly Evaluate the Applications
Don’t rush through the evaluation process when you find potential solutions. Take your time and put them through the paces, so you know that they’re capable of holding up to the collaboration needs of your typical project. A short demo typically doesn’t give you enough time to determine whether you have a good long-term solution. A poor technology choice costs you in productivity, time, revenue and other resources, so this is one of the most important parts of the process.
Gradually Roll Out New Technology
Refrain from replacing all of your existing processes overnight. You introduce too much instability and make it difficult to collaborate. Start with the areas that need the help the most. As your staff gets used to the new system, you can steadily deploy other solutions.
The right technology is key to remote team collaboration. Use this process to get your staff working as smoothly as though they were in the same room.