Remote team collaboration
  • Jun 1, 2023
  • 13 min read

10 Techniques on How to Foster Effective Collaboration in Remote Teams

  • Staff Augmentation

CTO Vitalii Samofal's photo
Vitalii Samofal



The pandemic has had a profound impact on our generation. Among other things, it accelerated the world’s transition towards remote work. Thus, according to surveys, in 2022, 26% of US employees worked fully remotely. Before the pandemic, this was 6%. At the same time, 66% of people reported working online at least one day per week.

Similar numbers are seen in other parts of the world. For instance, across the EU, 30% of the working population benefits from fully-remote or hybrid work options.

The tendency for remote work is expected to continue since businesses and their employees have discovered the many benefits of online work. Thus, employees report an increase in work-life balance and a decrease in stress. For employers, proper remote work infrastructure allows hiring experts worldwide. This means a broader international talent pool and fewer resources to spend on office infrastructure and taxes. Remote hiring also tends to be faster and offers more flexibility. Read our article Staff Augmentation vs. Managed Services to learn more.

So, what exactly are remote teams? And is everything about remote work rosy? Remote teams (aka virtual or distributed teams) are groups of professionals working online and sharing information via digital means.

In this article, we will discuss how to make virtual communication effective. You will learn the best remote team collaboration tools and techniques.

Challenges of Remote Collaboration

Let us start by shedding light on the perils of online collaboration and remote team management.

Common Barriers in Virtual Communication

There are several key barriers when it comes to online communication:

– Information loss and misunderstandings

A lot can be lost in online communication. Thus, when messaging, conversationalists cannot perceive others’ paralanguage – visual and vocal cues, such as gestures, facial expressions, intonation, volume, etc. These cues can provide additional information and context or even completely change the meaning of words. Basic examples are jokes and sarcasm.

The danger of information loss is more significant when representatives of high and low-context cultures communicate with each other. In low-context cultures, people rely more on words to convey meaning, while in high-context cultures, paralanguage plays a key role.

– Lack of access and information vacuum

This barrier is common for companies with a core team working offline, where most employees rely on face-to-face discussions or on-site resources. In such an environment, remote employees might feel stranded – struggling to keep up with the latest company news and unable to access required information quickly.

Difficulty Building Trust in Remote Teams

Upon facing challenges, remote employees might start questioning the motives, values and competence of their colleagues and management. New employees are particularly susceptible to this issue. Keep reading for our tips on building trust in remote teams.

Managing Remote Team Dynamics

The notion of team dynamics often feels intangible. But when mismanaged, it has a palpable effect on team efficiency and morale.

Remote team dynamics are closely intertwined with company culture. It defines employee behavior and communication patterns. Managing and reinforcing desirable team dynamics in remote teams can be particularly challenging.

Tips for Effective Collaboration in Remote Teams

Tips for Effective Collaboration in Remote Teams

Effective Collaboration in Remote Teams: Techniques and Strategies

Softkit has gathered 13 techniques, strategies and best practices for remote team collaboration. For clarity, we grouped them into 4 categories.

Productive Communication in Virtual Teams

Successfully conveying ideas, motivation, priorities and context is crucial for remote teams. Therefore, managers should encourage proper communication. We recommend the following effective communication strategies for remote teams:

#1. Champion clear communication

Messages must be well-structured, easy to read and unambiguous. Moreover, when a message is directed to more than one person, the sender must ensure it contains enough context and background for every reserver to understand it correctly. If some of your employees struggle to implement those principles, offer them advice on improving their collaboration skills. Alternatively, you can organize a brief learning session or a webinar on remote team collaboration and communication strategies.

#2. Choose the best medium for each interaction

Teams can use one-on-one or group messaging, video/audio calls, emails, collaboration in shared online documents, etc. Possibilities for online interaction abound, but choosing the best for each situation is vital for productivity.

If you need the opinion of several employees on the subject, be sure to include all relevant parties in the discussion. But do not bother others with issues that do not concern them – you’d be wasting your colleagues’ time.

For brief information exchange, use messaging. For in-depth discussions, video/audio calls are more efficient. If you need data from different departments/employees in one place, you can create a shared online document.

#3. Avoid needless meetings

Be sure to avoid all unnecessary meetings, particularly if they are lengthy or involve a lot of people. Such meetings strain company resources – each participant contributes time to prepare for the conference, participate, and then regain focus on their tasks. Thus, a one-hour meeting for 10 people can take around 15 to 20 hours of working time (1.5-2 hours per person multiplied by 10). This equals one person losing 2 to 3 business days!

#4. Create a communication and engagement strategy

A corporate communications strategy is a document detailing how employees should provide, receive and interact with information. It can include:

– Introduction and context, like a brief overview of the company background, its corporate identity, values, goals, etc.;

– The objectives of the document;

– An overview of existing and proposed communication channels and activities;

– Recommendations regarding internal communications, including the most efficient ways of using various communication tools;

– Brand voice description and guidelines for employees on how to interact with external stakeholders, like clients and investors;

– The description of who is responsible for communicating which aspect to what people;

– Evaluation criteria and metrics for successful communication;

– Conclusion.

Below you can find several communication strategy examples created by various institutions and organizations:

Communications and Engagement Strategy for Conwy County Borough (Wales, UK);

Communications and Engagement Strategy for the University of Cambridge Sustainability Team;

Communication and Engagement Strategy 2021-2026 for Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL).

Pro tip: Do not rely on everyone just reading the document. Create a presentation and organize a brief webinar.

Distance collaboration tools

Today, with PCs, high-speed internet and collaboration software, office workers located thousands of kilometers apart can efficiently solve business challenges, collaborating in real time.

#5. Research the collaboration software market

The global collaboration software market has been growing steadily over the past years. In 2016, it reached 8.9 billion USD. In 2022 it was 13.7 billion USD. The trend is expected to continue and exceed 18 billion by 2027. Most companies consider investing in virtual team collaboration solutions beneficial.

Popular software for collaboration in a remote work environment includes Microsoft products (23.7% market share), Zoom (19%), Google apps (11.3%), Cisco offerings (7.4%) and Slack (5.1%).

At the same time, many companies use bespoke collaboration and business management software to streamline workflows and virtual teamwork.

Another effective strategy for improving remote work collaboration is custom software integration. Most businesses use several types of cooperation, management and intelligence software to power their operations. Thus, you can synchronize nearly any CRM with a digital analytics dashboard, a billing app, asset management software and more. The data changes in one system would transcend to others, seamlessly updating information in real-time.

Providing everyone easy access to the latest updates is vital for building a strong remote team through collaboration. It also saves time on manual updates.

#6. Consider the following types of essential tools for remote team collaboration:

1) Instant messengers

Arguably, the most helpful technology in the toolbox of a remote worker is an instant messenger. Exchanging information with one or several colleagues in real time can resolve many challenges. Moreover, messaging apps leave an easily-searchable record of communication – if you forgot something, there is no need to ask again.

Popular messengers for internal business communications include Slack, Microsoft Teams and Google Hangouts. To communicate with clients, companies often use LinkedIn, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Telegram.

2) Video & audio online meetings

Online conferencing is essential for improving remote team collaboration. It allows employees to discuss in detail various issues, ideas and strategies. Online meetings are also necessary to ensure that the stakeholders are on the same page. But as mentioned, avoid unnecessary, lengthy meetings – they are distracting and annoying.

Popular software solutions for online meetings include Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts, Skype and Cisco Webex.

3) Online collaboration solutions

Online documents and spaces introduce some of the best practices for remote team management and collaboration.

Thus, employees can use online spreadsheets, presentations, word processors and other documents to fill in relevant information, with each department or person contributing their data. Similarly, online whiteboards can help visualize ideas and concepts. Digital whiteboards can be particularly effective when combined with audio/video conferencing.

Examples of online office suits include Google Workspace, Microsoft 365, Zoho Office Suite and iWork. Popular digital whiteboards are Microsoft Whiteboard, Google Jamboard, Mural and Crayon. Many companies also use a collaborative web app for creating designs called Figma.

4) File-sharing solutions

Efficient file sharing is integral to all effective remote collaboration strategies. It is also closely intertwined with messaging and online collaboration since both support file-sharing features. However, companies often require solutions that go beyond that. Businesses generate a lot of documentation and effective team collaboration in the digital age requires capacities for instant access to any relevant data.

Prominent cloud storage services include Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive, Apple iCloud Drive, Dropbox and Box.

Hands down, one of the best strategies for fostering collaboration in remote teams is creating a corporate library with valuable guidelines and educational materials. Make this database keyword searchable and easy to read – use diagrams, schemes, tables and other visuals. You can also include audio files or integrate text-to-speech software to increase the accessibility of your database.

5) Project & task management tools

Managing remote team members successfully also requires dedicated software. Such solutions are often comprehensive and can include the following:

– Task management and allocation features, like digital Gantt charts, Scrum boards, kanban boards, etc.;

– Budgeting capabilities;

– Resource management features;

– Progress tracking tools, like automated burndown charts and statistics dashboards.

Popular project management software includes Asana, Monday, Trello and Confluence.

6) Online calendars

Shared group calendars are fundamental for enhancing collaboration in remote teams. They allow management to keep everyone updated on company events and meetings. Some group calendars can sync with employees’ personal calendars. Many calendars also let teammates see each other’s schedules and book meetings.

Widely used calendar apps are Google Calendar, Outlook Calendar, Apple Calendar, ClickUp and Calendly.

#7. Compare the benefits of each collaboration tool to your team’s needs

Overall, collaboration software is hugely beneficial. Thus, effective collaboration tools are reported to increase talent retention rate 4.5 times! At the same time, productivity tends to increase by 20 to 30%. Proper software also helps to save time and resources.

However, with multiple options available, choosing the best one can be a challenge. We recommend you to list all your needs and requirements and compare them to market offerings. Consider what third-party integrations you need, what operating system you have, how many people might need to access it simultaneously, etc. Also, pay attention to pricing and plans. These differ depending on the size of your team, features available, subscription period and more.

Remote Team Building

In successful remote teams, employees feel like their colleagues are their close friends. They know they can rely on each other and their management. Here are 3 ways how to facilitate such a relationship:

#8. Build trust and cohesion in remote teams

The key to building trust is transparency. Be open and sincere about your business goals, values and practices. Whether your company is trying to save the world or earn money for its investors, be straightforward about it. Set clear expectations for your employees and be open to questions and suggestions.

Preventing toxic behavior is equally important – do not tolerate workplace cyberbullying in any shape or form.

#9. Introduce remote team-building activities and exercises

Team building is integral to improving collaboration and teamwork in remote teams. Here is our selection of top virtual team-building activities:

– Creating a space for casual talk

Create a chat or a virtual break room where employees can share memes, jokes, observations and thoughts on non-work-related topics.

– Hosting virtual educational events

Most companies host various online workshops and learning sessions. It brings teammates together, promotes knowledge-sharing and deepens employee expertise.

– Sharing company news

Keep your employees up to date by sharing important company news in group chats. This will drive engagement and enhance the sense of belonging.

– Playing online games together

If there are gamers on your team, they can play together. This can increase trust and capacity for cooperation.

– Engaging in live remote coworking

Teammates working simultaneously on the same task can try live remote coworking – using video/audio conferencing for extended periods while editing code/texts/documents online.

– Celebrating holidays and issuing holiday contests

Other effective strategies for remote team-building include various holiday celebrations. Thus, you can host an offline event, send your employees holiday gifts, or organize a contest. For example, offer employees to submit photos of their Christmas trees and then vote on which one is the prettiest. The winner gets a prize.

#10 Improve remote team motivation

Building a successful remote team through collaboration requires regular encouragement and motivation boosts. Here are some methods how to achieve it:

– Using survey tools

You can monitor the morale of your team with regular surveys. This will help you swiftly identify emerging issues to deal with.

– Providing feedback

Good or bad – feedback will help your employees understand whether their results are satisfactory or what they need to change.

– Explaining the bigger picture

Make sure your employees understand their ultimate goals. This will enable them to make better forecasts and suggestions.

– Offering health & learning benefits

Health and learning benefits will show your team that you care about their well-being and professional development. Health benefits can include healthcare insurance, gym reimbursement and various wellness programs. Learning benefits can include language classes, professional courses, certifications and conference participation.

– Encouraging new ideas and innovation

Employees feel inspired and motivated when they know they can contribute to the company’s success.

Moreover, the mentioned strategies for effective remote team collaboration, like trust development and choosing the right communication tools, are also critical for increasing team motivation.

Productivity Tips for Remote Teams

Productivity in remote teams is one of the top concerns for many managers. Here is our pick of best practices and tips on how to improve collaboration in virtual teams via productivity:

#11. Think ahead and prepare for challenges

You can increase remote work productivity by:

– Setting clear priorities and expectations

Setting clear expectations is critical not only for trust building but also for ensuring productivity. Establishing task priorities will help avoid confusion and productivity losses.

– Creating an effective documentation strategy

Document your processes and keep documentation well-organized. This will save your employees time, making them more productive.

– Being prepared for technical issues

Issues inevitably arise at some point. Back up your data and ensure that your projects and processes do not have a single point of failure.

#12. Use best practices for remote work

Improve company workflows and enhance team efficiency with these remote collaboration best practices:

– Creating a high-value archive

We briefly mentioned it when discussing file-sharing solutions. You can create a corporate library or an archive for your team. Remember that it must be keyword searchable to be effective. If you add videos, it is best to transcribe them.

– Giving employees a voice

Encourage your employees to share their experience and knowledge with colleagues. For instance, they can host workshops or contribute articles and instructions to the corporate library.

– Maximizing the value of your online meetings

Several things can make your meetings more productive. First, consider sending participants relevant documents (including the agenda) beforehand. Having perused the paperwork, people can prepare their talking points and contribute more during the discussion.

At the end of the meeting, you can give colleagues a short recap. If your discussion had a lot of issues on the agenda, send a quick email to the participants on the decisions reached. You can also record meetings for future reference.

#13. Attract top talent by emphasizing the benefits of remote working

Offering remote work options makes your company more competitive in the job market. The overwhelming majority of professionals would prefer to work fully remotely. Hence, when looking for new top talent to join your team, emphasize the main benefits of remote work in the job description. These are:

– Less time and money to spend on commute

Less time communing means more free time and a better work-life balance.

– Greater freedom and flexibility

One can choose whether to work from home, a coworking, a local cafe or another space. Full-time remote workers can even move to another city or country. And moving further from metropolitan areas can mean a decrease in living costs.


Remote workers have greater control over their working environment. Hence, they can make it more conducive to work.

– More opportunities

With remote working, professionals are not limited as much by their geographic location. Neither do they need to move for a new career opportunity.

– Lower environmental impact

A decrease in commute improves the environment in employees’ communities. This, in turn, leads to better health and quality of life.


Remote work is changing the world. One can fight the trend and fall behind or embrace it to get ahead.

Organizing an effective remote workforce, however, requires specific knowledge and skills. Thus, team managers must choose suitable collaboration tools, promote clear and efficient communication, conduct team-building activities as well as monitor and improve team confidence, morale and productivity.


1. What is a remote and virtual team?

A remote team (aka a distributed or a virtual team) is a group of specialists working online and sharing information via digital means.

Some argue that there are differences between remote, distributed and virtual teams, but there is no universal agreement on what those differences are.

2. What is the most effective way to collaborate remotely?

Effective remote collaboration requires proper tools, clear communication and trust-building. Read the “Effective collaboration in remote teams: techniques and strategies” section for more information.

3. What is the importance of communication & collaboration in a software project?

Clear communication and regular collaboration are critical for the success of a software project. Without them, the developers can end up creating a product that doesn’t solve business challenges.

4. How can a team collaborate remotely?

Teams can collaborate remotely using dedicated software. Read the Distance Collaboration Tools section for insights on different types of collaboration software (not sponsored).