Having teams in multiple locations is now the norm for many AEC & M organizations, with many firms having offices scattered around the globe even before 2020 turned regular work life upside down. Today you might have a mix of people working from home, collaborating from different office locations, or even working remotely in other countries.
Distributed workforces have different needs. Try out these collaboration tips for teams in multiple locations to keep your whole operation running smoothly!
Let’s dig into the seven collaboration tips for teams in multiple locations below.
If you have employees living in different parts of the country or internationally, make sure you set expectations regarding time zones. For instance, if you’re traditionally a 9-5 company headquartered in New York, should you require employees to be available 9-5 EST regardless of where they’re located? Or do you allow flexible scheduling as long as the work gets done and they make time to attend meetings? Decide what will work best for your company and teams.
Managers always have to walk a fine line between “just checking in” and overdoing it. Instead of constantly emailing or calling to see how things are going, implement a regular team check-in meeting. This could be as simple as everyone sending a quick message in a dedicated chat channel describing what they’ll be working on that day. Or, schedule a weekly team call to cover bigger-picture topics.
Successful collaboration depends on everyone having access to the same information and training resources. This is easy when you use an e-learning and knowledge management platform like Pinnacle Series, which employees can access from anywhere. (Even on the go from their phones or when they’re offline!) Instead of spending valuable time debating a solution or process, they can look up on-demand tutorials and move forward.
Distributed teams are only as good as their tools. You can’t physically write notes and draw diagrams on a piece of paper—but you could use Bluebeam Revu to collaboratively markup PDFs in the cloud! You can’t have everyone talk in person in a meeting room, but you can set up instant messaging and video call tools. You can’t hand out physical folders full of project information, but you can use Pinnacle Series to house all relevant resources and discussions using the Work Groups feature (which supports subcontractor user roles as well).
Encourage everyone to keep their teams in the loop by simply notifying the relevant people when they’ll be working on a task or what their top priorities are for the day, week, or month. Ongoing communication can go a long way toward preventing frustrations and misunderstandings.
You wouldn’t call an employee back to the office after hours unless it was urgent, so try to maintain the same boundaries when workers are remote. It’s best to avoid even sending emails or chats once work hours have concluded, since it can make employees feel obligated to respond. Let them know it’s okay to disconnect once they’re off the clock.
Even though everyone’s behind their computer screens, it’s important to remember that we’re humans, not robots. Give your teams the space and time to connect as people, just like they would in the break room or by the water cooler. Create chatroom channels for fun/casual topics, try to get employees together for in-person gatherings or virtual team-building exercises, and ultimately do what you can do to facilitate connections. People work better together when they like each other!
Want to explore how Pinnacle Series can help you implement these collaboration tips for teams in multiple locations? If you’re a current subscriber, log in now to check out collaboration-boosting features like Work Groups and custom content.
If you aren’t a Pinnacle Series customer yet, schedule a demo or free trial with us today to learn how our e-learning and knowledge management system can help your teams work efficiently, no matter where they’re working from!