Our final video in the ‘Remote Working Considerations for Business Owners’ series concentrates on the slightly softer side of remote working where collaboration is key. Below we’ve summarised the main points that will help to maintain a harmonious and happy workforce.

There is the fear that remote working removes the collaboration that takes place in the office. However, with the right measures in place you can create a great balance between productive individual working and teamwork. 

Firstly, make sure each team member has equipment that allows clear communication such as a good quality headset with microphone and a webcam. Consider software such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Slack for smooth exchanges.  

Video conferencing and beyond 

Microsoft Teams is used by 90% of our customers so we’ve concentrated on the functionality within it, but you can explore options to suit your business. We’ve seen Microsoft bring new features to Teams at pace, allowing collaboration to improve. 

Video conferencing software has become so much more than simply a meeting tool. Microsoft Teams also provides facilities to have online chats, ask questions and upload files. Files functionality within Teams also allows documents to be shared and edited – no need to use other software. Collaboration can take place in real time – everyone can see documents and edit as they go, and files are stored in the background within Microsoft SharePoint.  

Microsoft Teams also allows screen sharing – useful for presentations but also for support. If colleagues need help to learn show them on screen, allowing a similar learning experience to that which traditionally takes place in the office. 

Cloud-based applications 

Software that resides on the cloud is ideal for hybrid working. Many of us will be familiar with certain cloud-based applications such as Office 365, Mailchimp, Xero, to name but a few. Most businesses will also use ‘line of business’ applications – those pieces of software that help us perform our core business; is yours cloud-based? You may also want to consider a Professional Services Automation (PSA) utility to manage jobs, time and billing; monitor productivity and ensure nothing is slipping through the gaps. 

Health and wellness 

Allowing time to check in with team members is essential. Ensuring the health and wellbeing of your team is still a key element of management, whether in the office or at home. If you’ve always held weekly meetings, continue with them. And make sure that everyone who wants it gets air time, and, where appropriate, have some fun – just because we’re meeting online doesn’t mean we can’t add some personality. 

You’ll also want to make additional time for those team members that aren’t so keen on technology, and those quieter members of the team. If it means picking up the phone, then do it! 

How can you improve collaboration? 

Accept that hybrid working is here to stay and introduce measures to encourage collaboration. Make sure everyone has the right tools for the job and encourage feedback and suggestions from your team; they could well have some great ideas to help make home working even better.