Although a post-pandemic world is on the horizon, the likelihood of employees rushing back to the office full-time is not a reality for many workplaces. At the beginning of 2021, 32% of Canadian employees between the ages of 15 and 69 were working from home. This nearly universal move has contributed significantly to flattening the curve of the virus, however, working from a remote setting is uncharted territory for most people. Without the convenience of leaning over your computer to ask a quick question, grabbing a coffee with a friend at work, or having in-person meetings with other employees and clients – how does one continue to collaborate with others?
Remote collaboration tends to be frustrating, but thanks to advancements in technology, it can be just as effective and maybe even more productive than working in an office setting.
If you’re looking for ways to engage your employees and increase collaboration at work in a COVID-19 world, continue reading!
The first and most important step in tackling remote collaboration is setting your expectations as realistic as possible. Working from home may be more comfortable than working in a traditional office, but that doesn’t mean that it’s easier. The workload remains the same and whatever stress that was present at work now includes pandemic-related strain.
Everyone is struggling with their mental health to a certain degree, especially with the massively demanding lifestyle changes that we’re all grappling with. Therefore, it is highly essential that you monitor your team’s performance and determine whether you have set your expectations too high or too low.
Ask yourself: “Are the deadlines too tight?”, “Am I communicating enough?”, “Am I monitoring enough?”, and “Is everyone on the same page?”. As a leader, it’s your duty to ensure that work gets done with quality and in a timely manner; but it’s also your duty to make sure that you and your colleagues are able to cope with the workload and pace.
This new work environment is a learning process for many, so it’s completely normal to encounter some trial and error along the way.
For now, we have shelved the days wherein we could just walk over to our co-worker’s office to say hello, collaborate, or brainstorm. In turn, tools like Trello, Zoom, Hangouts, and Slack have become the new office space. Before jumping on the remote collaboration train, it’s best to be geared with one or two of these remote working tools for quick and effective two-way communication.
These tools are perfect for accommodating a global team and are reliable platforms for meetings, projects, and document-sharing. Having the right project management tools for remote teams can truly be the difference between successful collaboration at work and the opposite.
Now that you have the tools to communicate, another facet of collaboration is setting regular meetings. Whether it’s once a week or once a month, it’s important to show your employees that there’s still a sense of normal routine in this temporary COVID-19 world. By doing this, you can collectively give announcements, share and receive updates, and see everyone’s faces!
All work and no play could really demotivate a team. At a time where staying indoors could save your life, everyone is feeling the stress of isolation to a certain extent. So, give yourself and your colleagues time to break away from work-related responsibilities.
Something as simple as a virtual workout video call, a virtual team-building event, or a birthday greeting through email could truly help reduce feelings of isolation. It may not be a cure for pandemic sadness, but social interaction (even the virtual kind) helps strengthen a team’s bond.
Scheduling meetings is slightly more challenging when everyone is working from a different time zone. This is where you need to take everyone’s schedules into account. With a little compromise and flexibility from all parties, you can hold meetings at varying times that suit everyone’s respective time zones or agree on one specific time that caters to everyone.
Respecting the different time zones is a key factor in remote collaboration at work.
Remote collaboration at work sounds intimidating to those who haven’t done it before, but it’s a highly effective tool that promotes productivity and reduces certain stress levels. All you have to do is be there for your team as a leader and as a friend.
Remote collaboration sometimes requires a larger team versus collaboration in a traditional office space. When looking for new talent to help grow your company, AdCulture can show you the way. We specialize in connecting businesses with great candidates that want to grow with you. Give us a call to learn more about our recruitment services!
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