Remote Collaboration in Large Organizations

 

Author: Gizem ÖZTÜRK, Group Manager – Embedded Systems

As globalization is in progress, companies tend to be more virtual on their set up. Organizations prefer distributed structure more and more. Hiring talented people, increasing productivity, costs, providing flexibility is known reasons. But this brings up new issues to form collaboration across several teams. Setting collaboration between collocated teams is an issue itself and now we are talking about teams across the world. Seems a little bit complicated. However, companies can overcome this by focusing on main issues that might arise during remote collaboration; communication, coordination and culture.

Communication

When it is called “global company” yes people are dealing with communication. Companies that have distributed sites should provide necessary communication tools for their employees. In collocated offices, people talk to each other to do their daily work activities so this should be simulated by the help of online seamless communication tools.

– Sending tens of e-mails each day to connect remote colleagues.

– Really?

No, not today. Obviously, you may still be mailing. Thanks to technology, there are great tools available which are providing satisfactory user experience: chat, voice, video calls, conference, screen share, file share, video share, photo share. Point is to select the suitable communication solution considering project needs.

Even though tools simplify remote collaboration, the truth is nothing replaces face to face communication. People feel more comfortable when they meet colleagues personally. All employees from various sites can meet annually or workshops can be organized in groups. Keep in mind that human interactions improve team soul.

Coordination

Large organizations generally suffer from working teams with different time-zones. This limits the time shared among colleagues. Set meetings within the joint time intervals. Provide everyday coordination to make sure all people can reach up-to-date information.

An organizational chart helps people to understand who is who and they can connect people individually. Daily meetings play an important role providing coordination. Team leaders may also meet to share important status updates and take actions across teams.

It is also important that people come together even virtually and talk to each other to see their progress as a team. Online demo sessions or review meetings might be the appropriate hours to share the experience.

Culture

If there is a need to change process to work remotely, some people may not be comfortable with that. It is a progress and will take time to adopt change. Be open, explain necessities and clarify uncertainty. When people see the roadmap, they contribute more.

Building collaboration is not magic. Give time to colleagues. Provide necessary tools and processes. Monitor the progress and TRUST your team. They will also trust each other in time and improve remote working skills. When colleagues share daily activities remotely, they will perform as part of a whole.

Collaboration is the ability to work together to reach a common goal. This can only be achieved with people. Do not forget the simplest thing to keep in mind:

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller

 

References:
[1] Harward Business Review: Why Remote Work Thrives in Some Companies and Fails in Others https://hbr.org/2015/03/why-remote-work-thrives-in-some-companies-and-fails-in-others
[2] Ware, J. & Grantham, C, 2011. Managing a Remote Workforce: Proven Practices from Successful Leaders, The Work Design Collaborative, https://thefutureofwork.net/assets/Managing_Remote_Workforce_Proven_Practices.pdf

 

 

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