Another Pandemic Lesson: Cooperation Is Crucial

The COVID-19 pandemic of 2023 prompted numerous businesses to implement remote working arrangements in order to ensure the health of their employees. At first, uncertainty surrounded the issue of whether teams could operate productively in a remote setting. However, over time, it became clear that ongoing collaboration was an essential factor in maintaining productivity.

According to a recent TechRepublic article, numerous organisations have stated that their corporate culture has shown improvement since the pandemic began. The increased focus on collaborative working has played a vital role in this. However, the success of this approach depends on several factors such as efficient leadership, team building efforts, established protocols, and trustworthy collaboration tools.

In this post, we will explore each of these essential factors and elaborate on their potential to enhance remote teams’ capacity to collaborate effectively.

Collaboration Efforts

As per a recent report published by Gartner, teams who are not situated in the same physical location may miss out on the benefits of informal collaboration. The report suggests that ’employees lose the chance of having spontaneous interactions that frequently crop up in the office.’ It can be challenging to initiate impromptu conversations with co-workers in this setup.

The report advises teams not to restrict themselves to their immediate physical settings and instead recognize the impact of different time zones. This could facilitate smoother collaboration between individuals located in distinct parts of the world. Consequently, teams with team members situated in different time zones can leverage this to extend their working hours for 24 hours, thereby becoming more productive.

Effective Management

Managers of teams situated in diverse or remote locations need to adapt to the fresh challenges and dynamics of their position. It is crucial for these managers to take note of the following aspects:

  • Establishing objectives.

    It is possible that a remote or hybrid team’s objectives will remain unchanged from those of a traditional team if its members were already pursuing them before the pandemic. However, it may be more challenging for individuals to stay on course without the physical presence of their colleagues. Therefore, managers of these teams should devise specific and measurable objectives and make them accessible through a shared platform, such as a project management software.
  • Establishing Clear Measures for Success and Failure.

    It is crucial that team members are cognizant of not just the ultimate objectives but also the standards against which their performance would be assessed. For instance, certain teams might mandate that all members switch their camera on during video conferences to facilitate bonding not only through audio but also visual cues. However, some individuals may find it strenuous to spend long hours looking at a screen and may instead advocate for a policy where cameras can be turned off.
  • Communication.

    Managers of these teams should prioritize effective and consistent communication to attain their objectives. Scheduling regular check-ins and utilizing technology to facilitate expedient exchange of information and ideas should be of utmost importance.
  • Attending to the Needs of the Team.

    Irrespective of their location, managers have a responsibility to support their team members and ensure that they can access essential resources such as appropriate tools, benefits and leave, when needed.
  • Setting an Example.

    Managers leading remote or hybrid teams need to exhibit behaviors that foster excellence. These behaviors include being able to adjust readily to evolving situations, think innovatively when faced with a problem and stay composed in stressful situations.

Consistent Teamwork

Individuals within a remote or hybrid team can remain productive without necessarily forming deep personal bonds, akin to in-person teams. While friendship may not be the primary objective, it can be beneficial for employees to gain a better understanding of their co-workers.

When there is a change in a team’s roster, they must discover new ways to bond and progress as a unit. Here are a few recommendations:

  • Future Planning.

    At the start or end of meetings, it would be beneficial to allocate five minutes to enable team members to get to know one another better. Although this approach may seem less spontaneous than the natural connections that emerge when people work together, it can be equally effective and significant. To cultivate this familiarity, we may ask an uncomplicated question such as “What is your preferred dish to eat during this season?”
  • Role-playing entails simulating real-life interactions.

    By demonstrating punctuality and timeliness for meetings, employees may have the chance to interact with each other. Additionally, following a meeting, breakout rooms can be utilized for individuals who desire to delve deeper into the subject matter discussed during the conference.
  • Create a channel that’s solely for entertainment purposes.

    On your company’s collaboration platform, where team members can share memes or personal stories that are unrelated to work.
  • Allocate time for in-person meetings.

    It is recommended that we try to arrange a get-together every three months for colleagues residing in the same geographic location. For those located farther away, it may be helpful to bear the cost of travel expenses, enabling them to participate in these meetups twice a year.

As managers of dispersed teams, we must guarantee that all team members feel valued and receive equal treatment. If some employees are physically present in the office with the manager while others are taking part remotely via teleconference, it is vital to ensure that every participant can hear the meeting clearly.

Reliable Tools

The online collaboration software creates a digital workspace for mobile and remote teams, providing a range of functions including video conferencing, email, message boards, instant messaging, document storage, and file sharing.

Companies should choose a system that allows for optimal productivity and works with the unique processes employed within the organization. To achieve objectives and long-term aspirations, staff members should integrate these tools with suitable procedures.

The Developing Collaboration

Collaboration may appear distinct since teams are no longer working together in the same physical location, but it should still be focused on achieving the same goals. In summary, the triumph of teams and projects should be influenced by each team member’s capability to merge their abilities for the common good.

However, effective teamwork does not happen automatically. Managers must re-evaluate their approach and devise creative methods to assist their team members in achieving their full potential. Additionally, leaders should remember that remote and hybrid work is still in its nascent stages and open to exploration. If a strategy implementation fails to produce the intended outcomes, it is necessary to reassess and formulate an alternative plan.

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