Remote Collaboration Training

As companies continue to navigate the challenges of hybrid and remote work, one crucial aspect that cannot be overlooked is remote work collaboration. Mural recently released its 2023 Collaboration Trends Report, based on a survey of 4,000 people working in remote, hybrid, and office environments, along with anonymized data from Mural and Microsoft Teams product usage, which highlights the current state of collaboration in the workplace.

The Importance of Remote Work Collaboration

It should come as no surprise that collaboration is essential to the success of any role. According to the report, 81% of respondents say collaborating with others is either very or extremely important. However, understanding the need for collaboration has led to an inflated demand for constant communication, resulting in what the report calls “collaboration overload.” This false sense of productivity, achieved by scheduling meeting after meeting, is only leading to dissatisfaction and burnout.

A case in point is a mid-size IT services company for which I recently consulted. The company’s management had implemented a strict policy of daily virtual meetings for all teams, believing that this would ensure productivity. However, the employees were feeling overwhelmed and disengaged, with many reporting symptoms of burnout. Upon further analysis, it was clear that the constant meetings were taking up valuable time that could have been spent on actual work, leading to a decline in overall productivity.

The Impact of Cognitive Biases on Remote Work Collaboration

Cognitive biases, or systematic patterns of deviation from norm or rationality, can have a significant impact on remote work collaboration. Two specific biases that are particularly relevant in this context are the anchoring bias and the halo effect.

Anchoring bias refers to the tendency to rely too heavily on the first piece of information encountered when making decisions. In the context of remote work collaboration, this can manifest in the form of managers relying too heavily on the first collaboration tool that was introduced, without considering if it is the best fit for the team’s specific needs. A large financial services company that I consulted for was struggling with remote collaboration, and upon further investigation, it was clear that the collaboration tool they had implemented was not suitable for their needs. The management had anchored themselves to this tool, without considering alternatives, resulting in poor collaboration among teams.

The halo effect, on the other hand, refers to the tendency to assume that a person or thing that is good at one thing is good at everything. In the context of remote work collaboration, this can lead to managers assuming that an employee who is good at one aspect of collaboration, such as virtual meetings, is also good at other aspects, such as asynchronous collaboration. This can result in poor team dynamics and a lack of effective collaboration.

The Solution to Effective Remote Work Collaboration

Simply investing in collaboration tools and mandating in-office days will not solve the collaboration problem. According to the Mural survey, nearly half (47%) of people who have five or more collaboration tools say they still run into obstacles to effective collaboration. Furthermore, 43% of people who work in the office full-time say they still face obstacles to effective collaboration at work.

The solution to effective remote work collaboration lies in investing in formal collaboration skills training. Per Mural’s survey, 62% of individual contributors have not learned any formal collaboration skills. Furthermore, 63% of individual contributors believe managers should help their teams learn collaboration skills. Formal training can help team members identify and overcome their own cognitive biases, as well as develop the skills necessary for effective collaboration, such as active listening and empathy.

Another way to improve collaboration is to foster a culture of psychological safety within the team. Psychological safety refers to the belief that one will not be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, or concerns. Teams with high levels of psychological safety are more likely to have open communication and take on riskier projects. Managers can foster psychological safety by encouraging open communication, valuing diverse perspectives, and creating opportunities for team members to share their ideas and feedback.

Additionally, it’s important for leaders to set clear expectations and goals for collaboration. This can include establishing regular team meetings, creating a shared team calendar, and implementing clear communication protocols. By setting these expectations, leaders can help their teams stay organized and on the same page, reducing the likelihood of collaboration overload and confusion.


In conclusion, remote and hybrid work environments present unique challenges for collaboration, but with the right strategies, leaders can help their teams overcome these obstacles and collaborate effectively. By understanding the impact of cognitive biases, investing in formal collaboration training, fostering a culture of psychological safety, and setting clear expectations and goals, leaders can ensure their teams are greater together than they are apart.

Key Take-Away

Effective remote work collaboration requires investing in formal training, fostering psychological safety, and overcoming cognitive biases to ensure teams thrive together… >Click to tweet

Image Credits: George Milton

Dr. Gleb Tsipursky was lauded as “Office Whisperer” and “Hybrid Expert” by The New York Times for helping leaders use hybrid work to improve retention and productivity while cutting costs. He serves as the CEO of the boutique future-of-work consultancy Disaster Avoidance Experts. Dr. Gleb wrote the first book on returning to the office and leading hybrid teams after the pandemic, his best-seller Returning to the Office and Leading Hybrid and Remote Teams: A Manual on Benchmarking to Best Practices for Competitive Advantage (Intentional Insights, 2021). He authored seven books in total, and is best know for his global bestseller, Never Go With Your Gut: How Pioneering Leaders Make the Best Decisions and Avoid Business Disasters (Career Press, 2019). His cutting-edge thought leadership was featured in over 650 articles and 550 interviews in Harvard Business Review, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, USA Today, CBS News, Fox News, Time, Business Insider, Fortune, and elsewhere. His writing was translated into Chinese, Korean, German, Russian, Polish, Spanish, French, and other languages. His expertise comes from over 20 years of consulting, coaching, and speaking and training for Fortune 500 companies from Aflac to Xerox. It also comes from over 15 years in academia as a behavioral scientist, with 8 years as a lecturer at UNC-Chapel Hill and 7 years as a professor at Ohio State. A proud Ukrainian American, Dr. Gleb lives in Columbus, Ohio. In his free time, he makes sure to spend abundant quality time with his wife to avoid his personal life turning into a disaster. Contact him at Gleb[at]DisasterAvoidanceExperts[dot]com, follow him on LinkedIn @dr-gleb-tsipursky, Twitter @gleb_tsipursky, Instagram @dr_gleb_tsipursky, Facebook @DrGlebTsipursky, Medium @dr_gleb_tsipursky, YouTube, and RSS, and get a free copy of the Assessment on Dangerous Judgment Errors in the Workplace by signing up for the free Wise Decision Maker Course at