How Small Businesses Can Get Better At Remote Team Collaboration In 2023

How Small Businesses Can Get Better At Remote Team Collaboration In 2023

5 Secret Tips To Achieve High Remote Team Collaboration

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7 min read

“In a world that is constantly changing, it is to our advantage to learn how to adapt and enjoy something better.”**― Kenneth H. Blanchard

The global pandemic threatened to bring operations of millions of businesses of every size and scale to a standstill in various parts of the world.

Unfortunately, it forced many of them to shut down their operations as strict lockdown restrictions were enforced to practice social distancing to prevent the spread of the pandemic.

Small businesses were the worst affected by the global pandemic. A closer look reveals that negligible use of technology in operations on the part of business owners was one of the primary reasons behind many such closures.

There are 30.7 million small businesses in the U.S., accounting for 99.9 percent of all U.S. businesses (SBA, 2019).

This figure shows that small businesses create millions of new jobs every year and are major global economic growth drivers.

Now, the thing is that while many small businesses struggled to stay afloat in the last couple of years, others quickly got their act together after the initial panic that set in the first quarter of 2020.

Remote work became a new normal, better known as WFH (work from home). Small businesses selling physical products or online services adopted the best ATS for small business to manage remote hiring efficiently and keep their sales and revenue momentum going.

Please make no mistake that remote work is no more a temporary, alternative work model that it used to be a few years ago. According to an Owl labs study, 16% of companies globally are fully remote! And the number will continue to increase as small business owners, and employees recognize the benefits that remote work brings to the table.

Remote Work – Challenges That Can Ruin Remote Team Collaboration

Yes, more and more people and organizations prefer remote work because it offers greater flexibility and convenience. So it is important for organizations to recruit remote employees who are a right fit. On the other hand, Who would want to get stuck in serpentine traffic jams while going to and returning from the office?

I’m sure most of you are nodding in agreement!

Now, it’s not that remote work is all sunshine and roses all the time. For small businesses implementing remote work for the first time, streamlining workflow and bringing all team members on the same page has proved to be a cumbersome task.

Additionally, lack of interpersonal communication among distributed team members and feelings of isolation can make remote employees feel left out from the rest of the team.

Let’s take a look at some noticeable obstacles to remote work collaboration, which have given strong reasons to worry many small business owners.

Big Obstacles To Remote Team Collaboration In 2023

  1. Weak communication

Alright, remote work takes in-person discussions out of the picture. As a result, remote employees of small businesses have to rely on phone calls, texts, and video calls to stay connected with each other. However, it’s more about using different communication channels smartly rather than making a random call to other team members. Unanswered phone calls, texts, and emails can weaken team communication, impacting the quality of work delivered.

A Buffer’s State of Remote Work report from 2018 found that 21% of respondents pointed to remote communicating as a crucial challenge.

  1. Role confusion

For the first time, small businesses implementing remote work also face a fair degree of task management challenges. Unclear job roles and responsibilities can add to remote employees’ confusion and even cause a rift among them. It can also lead to time wastage and loss of productivity with many people working simultaneously on the same tasks.

  1. Lack of employee engagement

A survey on employee engagement highlighted that businesses in the U.S. can lose upto $450-$550 billion in a fiscal year, thanks to disengagement in the workplace.

Businesses, both small and large, thrive on engaged employees. However, remote work can make some employees feel isolated due to a lack of connection with fellow employees. Some small businesses struggle to keep their WFH employees engaged, which leads to increased employee absenteeism, increased turnover, and loss of motivation and interest in one’s job.

  1. Time mismanagement

Remote work means there is no direct supervision of team members by managers or small business owners. Not using an accurate time tracking system can further result in some employees spending more than required time on low-priority, irrelevant tasks. Worse, some employees may not commit themselves fully to their work and indulge in other non-work-related activities, which can adversely impact the bottom line of small businesses.

  1. Irregular check-ins and updates

Ongoing communication is crucial for the success of most projects. Remote work can make it difficult for managers to seek updates and check in with other team members regularly. Check-in excessively, and this results in the dreaded micromanagement. Using a powerful project management system can be an efficient solution as project managers and team members stay updated on recent activities through real-time updates.

5 Proven Ways For Small Businesses To Excel In Remote Team Collaboration

  1. Use a powerful team collaboration tool

Remote work and collaboration tools have become synonymous. A Gartner survey reveals that nearly 80% of remote workers are using collaboration tools in 2021, a sharp increase from 36% usage before the pandemic.

A feature-rich and simple-to-use team collaboration tool can enable small businesses to bring all their remote employees, clients, and other stakeholders on a common platform for enhanced coordination of tasks and projects. Also, the tool makes it easy for small business owners and managers to monitor all tasks and projects from a centralized location without using 7-8 apps.

Be it effortless management of time, tasks, reports, or files; a good collaboration tool offers you all of these essential features and more.

  1. Smart Task Management

It’s essential for small business management teams to create, assign, and monitor tasks (and subtasks) effectively so that there’s no confusion/misunderstandings among team members regarding their respective job responsibilities. Again, an inbuilt task management tool in good project management software can help managers with smart task management by assigning tasks to the right people.

Team managers and remote employees can use a task management tool to view who’s supposed to work on what and deliver it by when. The tool also allows users to set time estimates for tasks and record the time spent on them through manual and automatic timers.

  1. Strengthen Your Small Business’s Online Presence

The pandemic made many small businesses switch their operations online as potential customers preferred purchasing the required goods or services via e-shopping. In this tech-savvy age, for any small business with its online presence, it’s crucial to build a strong presence on the web to draw in more visitors and engage with the target customer audience.

This cloud-based system of apps works on almost any website and brings you a unique suite of plugins designed to help your small business register a healthy boost in sales on the website. You can get started for free, get more conversions, improve engagement with visitors, have more followers, gather information, and provide top-notch customer support.

  1. Emphasize Real-Time Communication

On days of remote work, it's impossible to have regular, frequent in-person meetings and discussions. Communication is as much about non-verbal clues as it's about verbal use. Phone calls, emails, and texts can be misinterpreted as they lack the vital element that adds substance to communication - expression and emotion.

Video conferencing is considered a more effective mode of communication than other modes as it helps make remote workers feel good and connected through clear visuals. Also, facial expressions, gestures, and body language offer more insight to managers about employees' general well-being and mood. Video chats ensure there are lesser misunderstandings and more effective discussions.

  1. Set Clear Work/Life Boundaries

When you do not have to travel back home after a long, grueling day at work, it’s easy to cross the line and work beyond scheduled working hours. However, it’s the responsibility of small business owners and team leaders to let their remote employees know clearly that such unhealthy practice is not acceptable in any case.

Working for longer hours can make you feel you’re working around the clock, and it will make you less productive and may lead to potential burnout. Another risk of diminishing work-life boundaries is that it gets harder to focus during prime working hours. No matter how efficient an individual is, working longer consistently is likely to affect all aspects of their lives adversely.

Remember, it’s happy and engaged people who are the most productive and not necessarily the ones who work for prolonged hours.

The Final Thought
Remote work will continue to be a primary mode of operations (along with in-office work) for many small businesses. Therefore, the onus is on entrepreneurs and managers to keep their remote teams united on a single platform for seamless collaboration.
Using a powerful team collaboration solution can help you achieve this goal without a steep learning curve. So, what are you waiting for? Use the right tools to grow your small business by making it more efficient without stressing your team.

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