Why Remote Collaboration is more than just Broken Communication

Remote Collaboration

Talk is cheap and often leads to broken communication in ones workflow and team.  Especially when chatter keeps getting in the way of productivity, as then it becomes rather wasteful broken communication.

The most common mistake when working remotely is to think that discussion is the same thing as collaboration, when in reality it’s only one component of it. Messaging to seek updates, understand progress, and coordinate efforts, becomes inefficient and rather exhausting, as the next Slack rattle could send you in a circle of uploading a document or giving an update that you just gave to someone else.

When used in this capacity, the value of messaging backslides into becoming simply instant email (without your fancy footer).

So how do you elevate your team’s coordination past the broken communication messaging barrier?

Here are some ways to approach remote collaboration as a greater function than broken communication:

Remote collaboration should facilitate planning

Aligning your team around goals and timelines is the jump point for meaningful collaboration as it adds context to every action that follows. A visual roadmapping tool such as Nifty allows you to effectively chart the path to success within each initiative your remote team is undertaking.

Nifty Milestones

Nifty Milestones

From here, these goals can be made attainable by creating actionable tasks that coordinate efforts and define clear accountability amongst your team.

Here’s a good test to consider: Can every member of your team give the big-picture reason behind their daily tasks? If not, try gathering your team around a planner to add clarity to what needs to be done moving forward.

Remote collaboration should grant autonomy

I know what I need to do today because my team members let me know, not by messaging me, but through assigning me tasks. A task manager allows me to come in on a daily basis, understand what I need to do in order of priority across all of the initiatives I’m a part of, and take action, all without sending a single message to someone else.

Nifty’s My Tasks

Of course, when I need to clarify a task, I can do so through communication, but that communication is broken and stored on the task instead of a single-stream conversation with another team member. And trust me, while forking your single stream chat conversations with clarifying threads helps, it’s simply not a scalable, organized solution, especially when there are more than two people working together.

An added benefit of pulling task-related discussions into your team’s shared collaborative space is that anyone else who needs to jump into that task for any reason is given the opportunity to catch up on how the current status came to be, whether that’s reviewing design iterations or seeing previous ideas troubleshooted and put aside. Avoiding duplication is key in maintaining a streamlined workflow, and ultimately leads to the last key benefit of collaboration.

Remote collaboration should create transparency and avoid broken communication threads

The end result of effective collaboration is transparency across team members and management. This transparency takes many forms:

Project statuses

Knowing where you’re going, what needs to be done to get there, and who’s doing (or done) it.

Team productivity

Being able to see who’s worked on what, and in some cases (especially if a time tracker is in place) how long it took them to do it.

Trust and respect

Every team works differently, but managers ultimately want to know what their team is working on and what needs to be done to move the organizational goals forward. Asking people “You there?” when the Slack status dot is green is a great way to foster anxiety and not results in the remote workplace.

Conclusion — a curious phenomena

You may find, as we did when we cancelled Slack and moved over to the built-in chat in Nifty, that direct messaging between team members becomes a little quieter. As we’ve learned, this shouldn’t be mistaken for a lack of productivity, rather a team working with empowered autonomy and fundamental trust in each other’s ability to execute their workloads.

Nifty Discussions + Team Chat

Nifty Discussions Fixing Broken Communication Habits

Don’t worry, we still message one another quite a bit, but I’d be a liar if I didn’t admit a healthy portion of it are sweet memes to liven up the day.

That’s why Nifty — which is built for true transparent remote collaboration and fixing the broken communication tactics— is the perfect tool for you!

It has everything you need, try Nifty for free today — thank us later! 🚀