How to optimize productivity of distributed teams

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Work from home has become the current norm in work culture. More and more companies hire remote and distributed teams along with in-office ones. They setup virtual offices and do their best to organize efficient collaboration. However, lack of proper communication can negatively impact team productivity. Thus, managers face various challenges in organizing efficient workflow and collaboration of distributed teams. There are lots of ways to increase productivity and trust. Still, effective communication remains number one concern. In this blog post we will discuss the main communication challenges and will help to optimize productivity of distributed teams.

Why poor communication negatively impacts productivity of distributed teams

Communication greatly impacts productivity and performance of distributed teams. Poorly organized communication will cause not only security breaches but also data losses and delays in tasks processing. Email communication within the organization is behind the times today. It only creates more obstacles and delays in urgent issues resolution. Normally email is used to send official requests that require time for processing, e.g.CV or a letter of resignation. Other than that, it is faster and more convenient to talk by phone or send a message.

On the other side, when employees use different messengers for communication, this also creates a lot of mess, because information is not stored properly, chat groups are not organized and it is difficult to monitor employee performance. So, what are the main effects of poor communication in the workplace?

  • Poor customer service. It always happens when there is no proper communication between departments. Customers get forwarded multiple times or agents go down the rabbit hole without any chances to quickly get a piece of advice from more experienced co-workers. With limited access to the resources and right people, customer service agents will never go extra mile to provide excellent experience. Instead, they will waste their time on research and attempts to reach someone who can give them a hand.
  • Increased employee turnover. The lack of proper communication makes it hard to monitor tasks, progress and quality of teams' work. Employees start feeling fatigue from work at home and without proper motivation and communication they often make a decision to quit.
  • Lower productivity. When people don't have access to the resources and knowledgebase or cannot quickly get in touch with the right people, it significantly decreases the overall productivity of the team.

The tools which can help improve employee communication

The right communication tools can solve real problems employees face on a daily basis. However, it is important to choose the right ones for your team. Let's see what kind of tools can really help your distributed team:

  • Corporate communication platform allows keeping all internal information in one place, sharing documents and organizing audio and video meetings. Such platforms can be either self-hosted or cloud-based. For security reasons it is better to use self-hosted solutions. However, cloud-cased messengers have also strong security measures to protect customers' data.
  • Intranets, forums and knowledgebases. Intranet is a closed community where only employees of the organization have access. It is very convenient to share educational materials, corporate documentation and other useful resources through intranet. Forms and knowledgebases can be also used for sharing project related or corporate information which employees need to keep at their fingertips to assist customers and do other tasks.
  • Collaboration tools allow sharing projects, assigning tasks, adding feedback and monitoring progress. Without such tools it is impossible to create productive collaboration and scrum environment
  • File storage gives an ability to access shared files of any size, look for files, download them and upload new ones. For effective collaboration it is necessary to keep all files accessible for employees.
  • Video conferencing tools became integral part of any workflow. Video and audio meetings help to improve collaboration, share ideas and discuss projects related details in real time without wasting time on chatting and emails sending.
  • Screen sharing and remote control tools help to troubleshoot issues and provide training to new employees.

Why communication security matters

Security is the main concern of businesses today. Data protection and privacy this is what companies should take care of. Thus, while opting for a communication platform it is important to take into account the security measures vendors take to protect your corporate data. The best option is on-premises software. However, if you do not have hardware for this, it is important to choose a secure communication platform with could-based subscriptions or a secure cloud where you can install a self-hosted version of the corporate messenger.

The main requirements to corporate communication platform

Before you start looking for a corporate communication platform try to answer the following questions:

  • Who will use the platform?
  • How will your employees use it?
  • What are the expectations of the communication platform?
  • What kind of devices will employees use the corporate messenger on?

Why Virola is the best communication platform for businesses

Virola is a corporate collaboration platform developed with security in mind. It was initially designed as a collaboration tool in a scrum environment. All project related communication and documentation is kept in one place. Communication is organized with help of topic-based and private chat rooms, where audio and video meetings can be started with a couple of clicks. For task management and tracking a Task board tool is offered.

Besides chatting and task management, Virola has screen sharing and remote control features which allow troubleshooting technical issues and training new employees.

With help of live avatars feature it is easy to create friendly atmosphere with live presence effect. This is very important for remote and distributed teams and solves such important problem as "work from home fatigue".

Virola communication platform can be installed on Linux, Windows and macOS servers. Client versions are available for macOS, Windows and Linus as well as for iOS and Android. With Virola your team will have all conversations, files and tasks in one place. There is no need to use additional tools as everything needed for effective collaboration is available with Virola corporate messenger.