Using Team Collaboration for Remote Work
by Jim Lundy
With all the focus on meetings for remote work, enterprises also need to look at secure team collaboration. I have managed global teams who were all working from home, and over the years, one of the best ways I have found to keep people engaged is team collaboration. Given the coronavirus outbreak, we can expect that many employees who have never worked from home before will likely be asked to work from home soon. In this blog, we consider some of the team collaboration techniques and new digital work hub tools that can ensure this remote work gets done efficiently.
The Importance of Clear Work Objectives
While we are seeing a temporary spike in remote work due to the COVID-19 outbreak right now, the general trend will continue to grow. As technologies enable productivity and connectivity at a distance, more and more enterprises will turn to remote workforces. This week, Aragon published a set of tips for people working from home during coronavirus. For the managers of these employees, though, it is crucial to understand how to effectively leverage team collaboration to make workers feel connected at a distance. When working remotely, everybody needs to be on the same page about projects, long-term objectives, and short-term deliverables.
One of the challenges of working remotely is making sure that associates have clear deliverables that they can work on. This is a vital way to ensure that working from home is effective.
This means checking in at the beginning of the week and during the week on how objectives are coming along. Associates should have agreed-upon times and mutually accessible schedules that help them keep up with meetings and hold one another accountable.
Team Collaboration Is About Feeling Connected
The key element of team collaboration is feeling connected to workers. It is not enough to provide associates with channels of communication and collaborative platforms; these devices must support a work experience that feels as natural as in-person collaboration. If workers feel genuinely connected to one another, they will take their responsibilities more seriously, work harder, and keep one another accountable.
It is also important to foster consistent communication if remote work is to be effective. One best practice for managers is to make sure that team members are engaging with each other. The idea of a “work buddy” who you chat with frequently throughout the day can help keep associates more engaged and make them feel like they are connected to one another.
Similarly, manager check-ins are key to keep a pulse on the work. Chatting with employees more than once a day to maintain a sense of where everybody is at in the project will help people feel like they are part of a team and prevent errors or miscommunications from causing project delays.
One valuable tool to improve the feeling of connectedness between remote workers is group chat. Group chats can help foster a sense of community and can bring associates together through company contests, celebrations, and by giving them a space to share their feelings about the company.
Using a Digital Work Hub
One of the new technologies that might help with this is a digital work hub. A digital work hub provides functions that are traditionally offered by several applications in a single interface. From messaging to content management, a digital work hub aims to provide a centralized online space where associates can collaborate on projects. This kind of team collaboration software can help employees keep track of their deliverables.
One of the ways to keep track of work objectives is to have defined projects that everyone can check on the status of via the digital work hub. This way, employees can determine their responsibilities, project deadlines, and the status of their coworkers’ deliverables without having to switch between separate applications or message associates for clarification.
Meetings Are Key
Besides a work hub and team collaboration skills, having regular team meetings also helps keep people connected. Often teams have a beginning of the week call and an operational call during the week. There are many meeting platforms to pick from, and a number of them have made compelling offers to get access to their tools in this time of need.
Working From Home During the Coronavirus
No enterprise can be completely prepared for an unexpected disease outbreak like the coronavirus. However, one of the key measures for disease response that this situation has revealed is the importance of having a strong remote work plan. Many companies such as Google, Salesforce, and Twitter have now asked employees to work remotely to minimize the spread of the virus. If the virus continues to spread, we can expect that more companies will join this list. While the tech giants likely have effective remote work plans already, the same cannot be said for many other companies that have grown used to working in physical offices.
Having the strategy and technology to support remote work is a critical part of emergency preparedness for the enterprise. In the near future, as the number of remote workers rapidly increases, we can expect a greater demand for team collaboration technology that will be able to support the enterprise.
Effectively transitioning to a remote workforce will depend on how well this workforce can collaborate and feel connected at a distance. Now more than ever, as companies increasingly insist on remote work because of the coronavirus, it will be important for managers to develop techniques that facilitate engagement and collaboration. Team collaboration, digital work hubs, work buddies, and clear deliverables are all important pieces of the puzzle. However, the core of team collaboration is about feeling connected to one another. Any transition to remote work will need to make employees feel like they are working as a team in real-time, no matter their geographic distance.
Editor’s Note: check out the Aragon Research Globe for Digital Work Hubs, 2020 to learn more about digital work hubs.
See our brand-new Globe for Web and Video Conferencing as well.