Some things just work better when they’re a team effort. Collaborating with your colleagues lets you experience other ideas and visions, taking you to greater heights in your own creativity and empowering you to make a valuable contribution to the team effort. It’s the creative process at work!

Working remotely can be challenging, especially when you’re part of a team. Taking the time to develop a virtual toolkit of protocols and practices can help you collaborate with colleagues effectively from a distance and stay on the same page as a team. 

Here are 4 tips to help you collaborate remotely, stay on task and be productive.

#1  Good communication is key

Connecting with team members is always important, but it’s got to be the #1 priority when working remotely. Virtual teams are most effective when everyone sees the big picture and knows their respective roles in the project. Communications protocols need to be clearly identified at the get-go. Picking the best communication platform, (video call? email? online messaging?) and being clear and succinct is critical. 

Keep things simple and short, but don’t skimp on the details. Stick to the point and say what you need to say. Everyone will thank you for it!

#2  Stick to your process 

Working remotely doesn’t mean cutting corners. Completing all the steps in your design process may take more time, but it’s a must in order for designers to deliver their best.

To us, process means Informed Design. Working remotely means that an extra step often has to be taken to ensure that we are able to complete our process to the best of our abilities. True discovery and validation means getting in-front of end users. With working virtually, along with covid-19 safety measures, we must have the right procedures in place to gather the right feedback and validate project assumptions.

#3  Maintain work-life balance

Group productivity and meeting deadlines happen best when everyone is on the same page. But WFH also means being sensitive to different work-life demands, accommodating different work routines, and helping people to be productive when it suits them best. 

Flexibility is key. Accommodating individual schedules when setting times for team meetings has always been necessary, but it’s critical when managing conflicts for a remote team. Being organized and focused on the team agenda is important. Achieving that means knowing how to balance everyone’s time and routines, so meetings can be set up well in advance.  This gives the team notice of what’s coming and what they need to do to be prepared. It also allows you to make the most of a team building opportunity and for everyone to get everyone together virtually as a team.

#4  Don’t forget to have fun!

While it’s great to be in your own uninterrupted creative zone, you also need to remember to take breaks. Working remotely makes it easy to forget where the time goes. When you’re in the studio, there’s always time for watercooler chats that can build rapport and encourage collaboration.  The same thing must happen somehow in the virtual space. 

Set some time aside, when everyone can kick back, relax and celebrate with each other. Create a “watercooler channel” on your portal dedicated to chat, personal stories, pets and hobbies that you can all share.  This gives everyone a much-needed break.

Collaborating remotely may have started out as a daunting task, but we know now that it can work. It takes work, application, patience and flexibility. It’s about going beyond individual routines and aligning with an underlying organizational process so that we continue to create a more immersive and rewarding experience for all team members. This ultimately results in better project results through better collaboration.

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