No matter the size, businesses rise and fall based on their collaboration skills. Nothing gets done without clear communication, prioritization and effective meetings.

With many industries relying on work-from-home policies, collaborating effectively is more important than ever. Here are seven tips that will improve your team’s collaboration and help you get the tough stuff done efficiently.

1. Schedule and prioritize your emails

According to the Harvard Business Review, the average full-time worker in the US spends 2.6 hours reading and responding to up to 120 messages every day. With that volume of workplace communication going on, it’s hard to say how much of it is actually being absorbed and put to use.

Get together with your team leads and make a schedule. Spread out emails so employees aren’t inundated with information all at one time. Instead of sending multiple one-line emails, gather information into one. Increase productivity by not drowning your team in information.

While scheduling, prioritize your information. Your shipping department doesn’t need every note from the design team. To keep everyone updated, have team members report directly to team leads so they can disperse information as needed.

2.Organize your meetings

What’s been said about emails mostly applies to meetings, as well. Keep your meetings brief and informational. Maintain a consistent schedule, but don’t feel forced to have a meeting if you’re not prepared. Vague meetings waste time. If you think about calling a meeting to share information instead of seeking collaboration, consider sending an email instead.

With video calls, always make sure your device and software is working properly. Get confirmation from everyone that they can hear you and each other. To avoid communication problems, invest in business software made specifically for business communication. Some combine multiple communication tools into one app so team members won’t have to look up old emails for reference.

3. Foster honest professional relationships

The best collaboration happens between strongly-bonded teams that communicate honestly. Unfortunately, good and bad performances both go more unnoticed in this age of video meetings.

Always take time to review your team’s performance. For higher-functioning employees, a little recognition goes a long way. Without proper feedback, even stellar employees question if they’re on the right track. You never know if someone’s feeling burnt out if you don’t check in.

For employees that could use some help, privately and honestly reach out to them. Let them do more of the talking to see if they understand where they need to improve. If not, it may be due to a lack of training. Develop them. Let a rock star employee help them, help them yourself or consider where their talents would be better spent. Be an example of fair, constructive criticism.

4. Define objectives clearly

Never assume your team knows exactly what’s going through your or your superiors’ heads. Are you hoping for 30% year-over-year growth but would be happy with 15%? Tell your team. Give them a realistic goal and a reach goal.

Then, break that down into smaller goals. What does a team member need to do every day or every week to make the goal possible? What metrics are you using to define success? Let those questions be the threads that tie every meeting and every piece of workplace communication together.

5. Don’t micromanage

In a study of more than 2,000 employees, 39% said that micromanaging is the worst trait a boss could have. As a team leader or business owner, you’re a director, not a dictator. Even the best employees feel inadequate when micromanaged. It creates resentment. Employees are more likely to tell you what you want to hear instead of coming to you for guidance.

When those conversations don’t happen, collaboration is impossible. Trust professionals to make professional decisions. If you find yourself micromanaging certain employees, especially if it’s not in your nature, communicate that with them and your superiors.

6. Assign duties and roles clearly

Making sure everything gets done is difficult for any size business. Small business and startup business employees often wear a number of hats. Housekeeping and day-to-day responsibilities can fall through the cracks. Maybe customer follow-up is falling through the cracks or orders aren’t being placed on time.

As a leader, you might assume that certain people should naturally take care of those responsibilities. However, your team might assume you or other coworkers are taking care of those tasks. Like objectives, delegate roles clearly. Identify holes in your business organization plan, share it with your team and change your collaboration strategy accordingly.

7. Give your team User-Friendly tools

Seamless teamwork when you rely on remote work has unique challenges. Every home office is a little different — team members might use slightly different software or have different hardware. Streamlining emails, meeting schedules and collaboration is only possible with the right tools.

Search for tools that wrap your needs into one piece of software. Make sure it’s easy to use across different devices and operating systems. Don’t let work from home policies become a hurdle. Let them work for you. With the right software, your team can work from home more efficiently than they do at the office.

Let Cynoia streamline your business’s collaboration

Cynoia can help you enact your collaboration strategy. With file sharing, communication app integration, instant messaging and more in one app, Cynoia puts all of your business collaboration tools in one place. Pin important messages to the top of your team’s page so they don’t waste time looking for information. Flexible pricing plans let you get the right services for your team. Try Cynoia for free today and see how much time and money your business saves with proper information sharing.

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