6 Ways to Foster Employee Collaboration without Physical Meetings

11 min read
Bitrix24 Team
May 7, 2024
Last updated: May 7, 2024
6 Ways to Foster Employee Collaboration without Physical Meetings

Effective employee collaboration is a key contributor to success and innovation in modern businesses as it promotes seamless teamwork without relying on time-consuming meetings. 

In the past, managers used to call team meetings to address hiccups in company collaboration, a practice that raised a wide range of issues. Many individuals never needed to attend these meetings, and they caused a serious interruption to daily routines. 

Nowadays, teams aim to work in a more agile way, leveraging employee collaboration tools to cut down on meeting time and increase productivity. The shift to remote and hybrid systems has led to a surge in employee collaboration software, and companies who know how to leverage it are thriving. 

In this article, we’ll address the key question of “What is employee collaboration?” before covering six actionable strategies that both remote and in-office teams can use to increase productivity without physical meetings. From the basics of defining roles and responsibilities to the tech-focused solutions of automation and analytics, you’ll be able to drive productivity without spending large chunks of your day in meetings. 

What is employee collaboration?

In essence, employee collaboration is a state whereby each individual in an organization works together towards a common goal. It involves clear communication, transparency, and effective use of tools to keep everybody aligned, engaged, and motivated. The result is a productive, agile, and creative environment that leads to high job satisfaction and improved performance. 

With that definition in mind, let’s turn our attention to the six methods you can adopt to achieve employee collaboration. 

1. Communicate clear expectations about roles and responsibilities

One of the cornerstones of effective employee collaboration is being clear about everybody’s roles and responsibilities. To avoid unnecessary meetings, each team member should know perfectly well how each of their colleagues fits into the bigger picture so it is obvious who takes control of each task. 

Project management software allows teams to collaboratively work together by assigning a responsible person for each task. Rather than beginning with no clear guidance, each employee receives a list of responsibilities, deadlines, and related resources to help them complete their work. The main advantage of using employee collaboration software is the reduction in confusion and overlapping efforts. However, specific expectations and instructions also add another level of accountability, which increases motivation and productivity. 

6 Ways to Foster Employee Collaboration without Physical Meetings

As a manager, you can get a bird’s-eye view of everybody’s tasks on a central dashboard. Set notifications to ping when tasks are nearing their deadline and get alerts when help is needed rather than scheduling a meeting. When each team member completes one task, you can review the work and assign them the next one, complete with full instructions and resources. Then, you can launch the following job, or even automate task assignments using dependencies, which we’ll explore in more detail later in this article. 

At the same time, your team gets full visibility of what everybody else is working on, what is pending, and how much progress has been made. This transparency gives a clear picture of how each individual’s efforts contribute to the success of your projects. 

Setting clear expectations improves employee collaboration by eliminating guesswork and streamlining workflows, which significantly reduces the need for physical meetings. 

2. Implement guidelines for communication outside of meetings

It’s a sentiment that is growing rapidly: Not everything needs to be a meeting. 

Excessive meetings lead to fatigue and reduce the time that could be used for productive deep work. On the contrary, cloud-based workspaces offer excellent employee collaboration tools that achieve the same goals while maintaining streamlined workflows. 

Nevertheless, you can’t simply introduce new technology without explaining the collaboration methods you hope to use.

Unless you’re launching novel projects that explore unchartered territory, you can replace project launch meetings with task management tools. All instructions should be included within each task card, and participants can write any clarifying questions on the same card. 

Most forward-thinking companies have also shifted away from convoluted emails full of change requests in favor of collaborative documents. By restricting all comments, suggestions, and changes to the document itself, you make employee collaboration far more immediate and focused. 

On a more strategic level, setting standards for time management improves company collaboration through transparency and predictability. Limits on response times, regular task time tracking, and up-to-date absence charts are a form of non-verbal communication that allow leaders to plan tasks with more confidence, while employees can restructure their schedules around expected feedback times. 

As well as improving employee collaboration across the board, guidelines for communication set the stage for a happier team. With everybody kept up-to-date through effective interactions, you avoid misunderstandings and unclear instructions that lead to blocks on productivity. 

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3. Encourage your team to socialize outside of the office

More than a modern “nice-to-have”, building strong relationships between your team outside of work is a surefire way of promoting seamless collaboration in the workplace. Especially useful for remote teams with no natural space for informal communication, making time to socialize breaks the ice between individuals and departments, building a foundation of trust and respect that are essential for employee collaboration. 

Typical social events like virtual coffee breaks, remote team-building activities, or instant messenger channels based on common interests are both effective and easy to implement. Scheduling occasional Friday afternoon video calls for team building can be a smart use of company time. Incorporating activities into work hours guarantees attendance, while the improved bonds between employees make up for any time lost from your primary goals.

You could even encourage cross-team collaboration in the decision-making process. Select a social committee representing different departments to choose activities and you’ll give employees a sense of autonomy and leadership. 

If possible, organizing company trips as a treat to your staff makes them feel valued while providing an even better opportunity to get to know each other. Team-building events such as orienteering, quizzes, and fun challenges are a great morale booster and set the scene for better work-related communication

The stronger the social bonds between your team members, the bigger the reduction in siloing — a detrimental trend where individuals isolate themselves and their workloads, hindering smooth employee collaboration. 

4. Create a supportive environment when you’re at work

It is almost impossible to achieve true collaboration in the workplace without a supportive environment — especially in a remote or hybrid situation where face-to-face interactions are limited. The advantages are clear. When team members feel valued, understood, and supported, they tend to produce better work and offer help to their colleagues in return. 

From a strategic point of view, it’s important to encourage open communication in your company culture. This involves setting a good example from the top down, outlining clear pathways for support, recognizing achievements, and sharing personal milestones. Company intranets are a perfect place to celebrate people’s high performance, so post a shout-out and watch the likes come in. Public praise is ideal for counteracting the isolation that often comes with remote work and helps cross-team collaboration by highlighting your most effective employees.

For sensitive questions regarding performance or work-life balance, set up a one-to-one video meeting to show people that you’re willing to fully focus on their concerns. Next, put a clear plan in place to resolve any issues, such as an internal mentor to help a struggling employee or a more flexible working schedule. Being open to change is excellent for employee collaboration as it settles teams and makes them feel heard.

Organizations that provide support and guidance quickly see how collaboration improves employee retention too. Offering an open-door policy gives workers a sense of belonging and direction which replaces tired frustration with energized motivation. 

6 Ways to Foster Employee Collaboration without Physical Meetings

5. Use automation to clear unnecessary roadblocks

One of the core principles when learning how to improve employee collaboration is to remove any unnecessary protocols and mundane tasks that hinder your efficiency. Luckily, in the past few years, automation has emerged as a secret weapon for removing repetitive processes and encouraging employee collaboration. 

Teams that effectively implement automation enjoy more of that invaluable resource — time. Automation frees your team up to focus on more strategic and collaborative efforts that need creative human input. 

So what kind of automation can you incorporate in your workflow?

Among the most popular methods is to set up automated reminders for deadlines and follow-ups. This allows managers to stay on top of tasks and offer a helping hand without the effort of scanning a project timeline manually.

However, automation isn’t just a handy time-saver — it improves accuracy too. Rather than one worker concentrating on data entry tasks such as populating a customer relationship management (CRM) database, algorithms can automatically link data from the source to your CRM, removing the possibility of human error. As a result, those working with the data can get to work more quickly and with more confidence in the information at hand. 

As a final example, task dependencies combine time-saving collaboration methods with accurate task assignments. Dependencies are logical relationships between tasks that dictate the sequence. As a simple example, once a primary task is completed, a dependent task is automatically assigned. 

Automations, like dependencies, are now an essential tool for teams to efficiently and collaboratively work. They remove the need for time-consuming meetings and administration and instead allow your team to focus more attention on productive tasks.

6. Track your performance to identify triggers for poor communication

The most effective efforts to boost your bottom line involve performance tracking — and employee collaboration is no different. While most performance metrics look outward at numbers regarding sales revenue and marketing return on investment, it may be initially confusing to discover how to improve employee collaboration using the same tools. 

To track team collaboration, you need to concentrate on different key performance indicators. Task completion rates, time taken on tasks, and the amount of revisions needed are key factors to gauge how effective your collaboration is. Using the results, you can implement an iterative system of monitoring, evaluating, and improving your processes. 

Data analysis is so effective because it is unbiased. When configured correctly, it tells the truth. This makes it excellent for uncovering inefficiencies that go undetected in fast-paced organizations. Therefore, even if nobody on your team is aware of the causes behind poor collaboration, the best reporting software will highlight areas for concern and offer pathways on how to modify your approach. 

This doesn’t mean you should rely solely on performance data to improve employee collaboration. It’s essential to request feedback from your teams on the ground who can offer more qualitative insights into what is causing blockages and how you can adapt to overcome them.

A combination of analytical tools and data-first thinking streamlines decision-making processes, which reduces discussion time so teams can channel their efforts in a more productive and collaborative way.

6 Ways to Foster Employee Collaboration without Physical Meetings

Bitrix24: Making physical meetings a thing of the past

Whether you’re a remote team that needs an alternative to physical meetings or an in-office company looking to implement efficiencies, we’re sure this article has taught you some secrets about how collaboration improves employee retention, morale, and performance. 

Yes, strategy and mindset play their part, but you can seriously turbocharge your journey to employee collaboration by equipping yourself with the best collaborative tools on the market. 

Bitrix24 does what most software doesn’t: It offers a fully integrated series of collaborative apps that work in perfect harmony with each other, such as:

  • Video conferencing to replace physical meetings

  • Collaborative docs to condense the editing process

  • Task management tools to offer instructions with ease

  • Automation to streamline each and every app

  • Data analysis and real-time reporting to monitor your progress

So if you want to prepare yourself for life with far fewer physical meetings, sign up for Bitrix24 today.

Employee Management Software To Motivate Your Team

Bitrix24 is a place where everyone can communicate, collaborate, and manage daily activities. Encourage teamwork now.

Get Started

FAQs

What are the most effective tools for remote employee collaboration?

The most effective tools for remote employee collaboration include: 

  • Project management platforms

  • Instant messaging apps 

  • Video conferencing software 

  • Shared digital workspaces

  • Automation capabilities

All of these tools combine to remove blockers to collaboration, improving productivity.

How can a company maintain team spirit without physical meetings?

A company can maintain team spirit without physical meetings by organizing virtual social events, celebrating milestones and achievements online, and encouraging casual conversations through digital channels. Cloud-based communication tools are essential in facilitating the communication and interaction that forms the bedrock of good team spirit.

What strategies can improve online communication among employees?

The strategies that improve online communication among employees involve: 

  • Setting clear communication guidelines

  • Choosing effective employee collaboration tools

  • Encouraging open and transparent dialogue

  • Analyzing your communication performance

  • Providing regular feedback

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What is employee collaboration? 1. Communicate clear expectations about roles and responsibilities 2. Implement guidelines for communication outside of meetings 3. Encourage your team to socialize outside of the office 4. Create a supportive environment when you’re at work 5. Use automation to clear unnecessary roadblocks 6. Track your performance to identify triggers for poor communication Bitrix24: Making physical meetings a thing of the past FAQs
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