When remote teams can easily collaborate and share ideas, it's a dream. You reap the benefits of distributed work, such as higher efficiency and morale. But when the communication on a remote team isn't excellent, it's challenging to stay productive.
You struggle to connect with a team member working in a different time zone. You can't find the most recent round of feedback in Google Docs. Your questions go unanswered in Slack. Timelines extend and projects go through revision after revision. Every disadvantage of remote work is magnified. Over time, your productivity erodes.
To help improve team productivity, a lot of companies look to a virtual collaboration space or virtual HQ. The idea is to have one central place where your entire team can talk and work together. But how much will a virtual collaboration space improve productivity, and what do teams need to implement to get it done?
How A Virtual Collaboration Space Will Improve Your Remote Team's Productivity
With a virtual collaboration space, teams have one central location to operate from. However, technology alone won't improve productivity. Another critical part is your systems. When you have the right tool and the right processes in place, your virtual collaboration space can improve your remote team's productivity because it will:
1. Get Everyone In The Same Space
For in-house teams, having a lot of different platforms isn't a big deal. If you have a question, you can just tap someone on the shoulder and ask. You can walk into your boss's office or lean over to your co-worker's desk. With a remote team, you don't have that base of operations. You can message someone and wait hours for a response. It can be disorienting to find updates and files.
With one platform acting as a virtual HQ, everything happens in the same place. It's the best alternative to having an office, as you know exactly where to find who and what you're looking for.
2. Provide Opportunities For Water Cooler Magic
One of the significant advantages of working in an office? The serendipitous water cooler moments. You hear your co-workers talking about a favorite book or film, and you join in. You overhear your boss asking a question about a project you're involved in, and you can quickly answer. But with remote work, everything is much more siloed.
A lot of modern collaboration tools make it easier to chat with audio and video calls, but they're not perfect solutions. With a lot of emerging technology, you can achieve the kind of communication that happens naturally in an office. Advanced audio and virtual reality capabilities make you feel like you're in the same place. There are designated remote rooms for meetings and brainstorming. You can virtually sit in a lounge and banter with your team.
Essentially, you can have water cooler moments that with existing remote tools, have been impossible to recreate.
3. Set The Standard of Internal Communication
Even with the right platform, a team that doesn't have any set standards around communication will struggle. To get the most from a virtual HQ, your team needs to understand how to use the tool effectively. With established systems and standards, you can teach your team to communicate and consistently share information.
You can set expectations for response time, delivering updates, and change requests. Together, the right structure and tool can help set the pace of internal communication and keep things flowing.
4. Build Team Rapport
A significant challenge for distributed teams is connecting with peers. And even with some of the better tools, this can be difficult to achieve. It's not easy to build a relationship with someone over one-line text or video call. With new technology, you can access features that make it more natural conversations.
Virtual platforms help you reduce affinity distance and provide better audio features. These types of virtual collaboration spaces simulate the experience of talking face-to-face, instead of messaging over chat. These environments also make brainstorming sessions, games, lessons, and other interactive activities much more fun and engaging.
5. Improve Focus
One major advantage to a virtual collaboration space is improved focus. With everything in one place, it's easier to find the files and conversations you're looking for. You can mute notifications and chats and zero in on the work that you're doing. It cuts down on the friction and time spent digging through your inbox or searching from tool to tool.
There's also some science associated with focus and remote tools. For instance, tools that have 3D audio spatialization help you communicate more effectively. Tools that have this feature also create a "cocktail party effect" which helps brains focus more. Your team will become more productive simply because they're in a space specifically designed to improve focus.