More and more businesses are embracing remote and hybrid work. It’s no wonder – the option is great for your team, and lockdown showed us it can work.
But one of the most common doubts is about collaboration. Teamwork allows you to benefit from everyone’s talents. The question is this: can you keep up standards of collaboration between people who aren’t in the same place?
The short answer is yes! You absolutely can – it just takes the right combination of technology and best practice. We’ll be sharing our top five tips on improving remote collaboration. But first, let’s focus on the technology that makes it possible: unified communications.
Unified communications (UC) could well be the most important concept in modern business telecoms. It simply means putting all business communication channels on one platform. So that’s voice, video and instant messaging in one place, with additional options including email integration. It’s a big upgrade on the traditional phone system, because it allows multi-channel communication.
Better still, you can use it from anywhere. It’s a cloud-hosted service, which means you simply need to log in and you’re away. At RHM, we offer a unified communications app that you can download to any device. And why’s it so good for remote collaboration? Because it gives everyone the same rich communications features, wherever they are.
At RHM, we offer a UC app that you can download to any device. You could have people in the office, people at home on their laptops, and people on the road with business mobiles. It’s just as easy for them to share a project as if they were all in the office. They can keep up to date on instant messenger or present using video, without flicking between different apps and screens.
UC is an essential communications tool for the modern hybrid workplace. But of course, it’s a combination of the right tech and best practice that gets you ahead. So with that in mind, here are our top five tips on remote collaboration using UC!
It doesn’t take much effort to keep office-based workers in the loop. It pretty much happens naturally. They’re present for all those little chats about projects you’re working on. With remote workers, you need to make a conscious effort to keep them involved. If they’re not part of the conversation, they’ll start to feel excluded. Their morale will suffer, and so will the quality of their work.
Luckily, our unified communications platform makes it a breeze to keep everyone involved. Let’s say a few people are involved in a big project, and two of them work remotely. First, you can set up an instant messenger group for all of them. They can then use this to keep in regular contact. If it’s time for a big meeting, simply set up a videoconference. You can do this spontaneously with a single click from your messaging group. Or you can book it in. It’s synched with your Outlook calendar, so it couldn’t be easier.
We’ve talked about the range of communication tools our UC service offers. Now let’s focus on an under-appreciated one: instant messenger, or IM for short. How do you make it work for remote collaboration?
We’d recommend using it for shorter chats. If you’ve got a couple of quick points to double-check, IM is perfect. It’s also great for sharing files quickly. Another great feature of IM is that you can actually see if someone’s read your message. It’s also quicker than email, and much easier to read through past exchanges, through a global search feature. As with SMS or WhatsApp messages on a smartphone, you see the chat and nothing else. This means that for quick chats with a bit of to-and-fro.
We all saw the value of video calls during lockdown, both in our work and personal lives. It offers face-to-face chat from anywhere, which makes us feel that little bit more connected than a phone call.
For collaboration, one good practice is to have regular, short video meetings. Some businesses will do a daily, 15-minute departmental catchup. Everyone says what they’re doing that day, and whether anything is standing in their way. It keeps everyone up to date, without dragging on too long. And with our UC solution, setting up recurring meetings takes a few clicks!
It’s great to have so many communication channels on one app, and it’s so much more efficient. But of course, you have to figure out which method is the most suited (and the least suited) for the moment.
We’ve explained where instant messaging is good – short, snappy chats in small bursts. For a more in-depth chat, you’re probably better off with a voice or video call. Or if you need to send a long, important message, email may be more suitable. It’s just a slightly more formal, long-form medium.
As your team gets used to UC, you’ll figure this out over time. What’s great is that it’s so easy to switch from one channel to another. Let’s say you’re in an IM chat about something complex, and there’s a lot of to-and-fro. You can escalate this to a voice or video call from a single click.
In addition, our UC platform has what’s called a user presence setting. This shows you people’s availability in real time, so you instantly know whether you can call them or not. These features shave a little bit of time off every interaction. That time really adds up over the months and years, making you much more efficient.
Our final point is a simple one that relates back to what we said about instant messaging. Our UC app allows you to quickly set up different chat groups. You can do this however you need, but it makes sense to set up separate groups for each department and project.
This allows you to compartmentalise your work. Everyone involved can keep up to speed, in one place. And if you need a quick video call with everyone, it’s just a click away.
We’ve been providing unified communications services for years, providing dedicated, expert guidance to businesses of all sizes. Remote work can work brilliantly if you take the right approach. And we can help you every step of the way, from consultation to installation and ongoing support.
If you think your business could benefit from RHM’s help and advice for remote working, then feel free to get in touch!
Phone 0345 136 60 60
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