How to improve Remote Teams Collaboration

Remote teams were seen as a fad some time ago but it’s quickly becoming popular in businesses today.

Remote work is not only a trend in plucky startups and agile Silicon Valley businesses; the practice is picking up steam in enterprises and large organizations.


Earlier this year, Amazon announced plans to hire 3,000 remote workers for its customer service department (it had just hired 5,000 back in 2017).

GitHub’s workforce is 60% remote while some organizations take the extreme approach of going fully remote.

It’s clear that remote teams will soon be an essential part of many businesses’ operational strategy as organizations look to cut costs as efficiently as possible.

The Challenge of Collaboration in Remote Teams

Despite the glitz and glamour of remote teams, businesses face the challenge of ensuring their workers can actually work and collaborate with each other efficiently.

A study by Buffer concluded that 17% of remote workers cite collaboration as the biggest challenge in their work-life, with 8% saying different time zones are a concern.

Distance, varying time zones, and availability are just some of the factors businesses need to consider when managing remote teams.

For example, a product manager may need to discuss matters with a developer who is based in another continent. How can they find the right time to call with such a massive gap in time zones?

Not solving these problems leads to poor collaboration which negatively affects work performance, leading to revenue and profit loss in organizations.

That said, how can businesses improve productivity in remote teams by making collaboration easier and smoother?

Make Use of Cloud-based Collaboration Tools

In the office, team members can knock on the doors or desks of their colleagues to discuss work-related issues—the same cannot be said for remote teams.

Companies need to leverage technology to improve the productivity of remote teams. Tools like Google Docs and Skype get the basics right but businesses need more than just basic applications.

The easiest way to empower remote teams is to invest in a collaboration platform.

Collaboration platforms are designed to give employees the tools and processes they need to work with each other effectively, from providing communication channels to managing tasks between team members.

Instead of relying on everything through piles of emails and unread Skype chats, collaboration software puts all work-related info in one place to make it easier for remote workers to keep track of their tasks and connect with their colleagues.

Binfire’s live chat and message board features allow remote team members to communicate with each other effectively in real-time, thus boosting collaboration.

We also provide secure content management tools for team members to access work files and documents easily when they need them.

When shopping for collaboration software, be sure to check if it’s powered by the cloud.

Cloud-based software is ideal for remote teams as they can work anytime, anywhere and have their progress synced to the cloud for other employees to work on.

Aside from easing collaboration, cloud software provides security and transparency — two things lacking in remote teams — to businesses.

Cloud providers like Amazon spend a huge chunk of their budget on security to ensure the data and operations of their customers are kept safe.

So, businesses can be assured that cloud-based collaboration tools are more secure, suffer less downtime, and costs them less money, all while improving collaboration in remote teams.

Establish a Communication Standard

A common problem in remote teams is having little to no idea of how team members should communicate with one another.

Without a well-defined communication standard, they will never be able to collaborate effectively.

Imagine being a project manager in a team where every member has different preferences as to how he or she would like to communicate — it would be a nightmare to manage!

At the minimum, remote teams should ask themselves these questions:

  • What communication channels will we use?
    What chat platform will you be using? Are video calls necessary?
  • When is communication allowed to be established?
    Will team calls only happen every Tuesday morning? Are managers allowed to contact employees on weekends and holidays?
  • How should communication happen?
    How long in advance should team members be informed of calls? What is the stance on urgent calls?
  • What type of communication can happen for each channel?
    Can tasks and responsibilities be discussed through chats or is strictly call-only?

Bear in mind that every employee has their own style and inclination in virtual conversations. Some prefer to use chats only while others prefer voice or video calls. How each person communicates online also differs greatly.

With communication norms, you give remote teams a clear, consistent guideline on how they should interact with one another which goes a long way in cutting down the unpredictability and uncertainty of remote teams, thus easing collaboration.

Have a Clear Idea on How Tasks are Planned and Managed

Task planning and management is another crucial factor in maintaining productivity and facilitating collaboration.

While project managers can physically check in with team members in the office, it’s not as easy to keep track of task progress in remote teams. It’s nearly impossible to know if a team member is having too little or too much to do in a day.

The best way to plan tasks is to schedule a kickoff call with your remote employees. Kickoff calls give team members a breakdown of their responsibilities and other details that need to be ironed out before work starts.

More importantly, they allow you to plan tasks smoothly by asking team members about the level of workload they can handle.

For example, you may ask:

  • How many hours can you realistically work in a day?
  • Are you open to working at night?
  • Can you work on tasks in these two areas comfortably?

Gauging what your team members are comfortable before you plan tasks will ease collaboration and improve productivity immensely.

Make sure to check in with your employees from time to time to see where they stand in terms of working on their tasks. This allows you to lighten the workload of overworked employees or assign more tasks to team members eager to take on more work.

To further improve collaboration, you will need a dedicated platform to assign and manage tasks.

Relying on chats and email chains to coordinate work is not an option.

2 out of 3 project managers fail to coordinate remote teams due to a combination of poor communication and using the wrong channels.

Modern collaboration software like Binfire has task management features integrated so project managers don’t have to switch apps just to assign tasks and manage teams.

In Binfire, users can assign tasks in just a few clicks which notifies team members in real-time even if they’re on their smartphones.

managing tasks

An example of Binfire’s task management feature

The intuitive project dashboard also visualizes the status of ongoing projects so managers can have an easier time planning and managing tasks.

All of these benefits cumulate to boost collaboration in remote teams drastically which is great news for productivity.

Easing Collaboration in Remote Teams

Making collaboration easier in remote teams is a matter of using the right tools and management practices.

By using the tips shared in this post, your business can improve the productivity of your remote teams to perform just as well — if not better — than office teams.

Binfire improves collaboration in remote teams by providing an easy-to-use, all-in-one workspace for businesses to get work done efficiently.

From providing project management tools to improving productivity in employees, Binfire’s work management platform covers all the bases for businesses looking to take their remote teams to the next level.

Recently we published a guide to remote work which could come handy if your team works remotely. 

Request a free demo today to find out how Binfire eases collaboration in your remote team.

Read more posts like these and catch up with the latest industry updates in our Collaboration Corner.

Joe Peters is a Baltimore-based freelance writer and an ultimate techie. When he is not working his magic as a marketing consultant, this incurable tech junkie devours the news on the latest gadgets and binge-watches his favorite TV shows. Follow him on @bmorepeters


Is hiring remote workers cheaper?

Yes absolutely! You can find the best talent anywhere around the world and cut costs by as much as 72%.

How to collaborate effectively as a remote team?

To collaborate you need the right communication tools. Thankfully nowadays you can find the right tools to make your remote team collaborate as traditional teams. SaaS communication tools are essential for any remote team.

Are remote teams less effective than traditional teams?

Absolutely not! In fact, a 2-year study by Google found that there is no difference between remote teams and traditional teams when it comes to effectiveness and performance.

How to manage remote teams effectively?

Create rules and boundaries, treat remote workers like your local employees. Communicate often and give performance feedback as often as once a month.


Dan Smiljanić

Dan is a practitioner of project management and our resident geek. With a background in computer science, Dan is the lead product tester at Binfire. When Dan not writing code, you will probably find him cycling and hiking with friends.


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