Collaboration is always an uphill battle for dispersed teams. Divergent schedules, the absence of in-person communication, and conflicting timezones can get in the way of effective collaboration. But today, nearly every team is a dispersed team, with so many companies adopting WFH at scale. Managers must figure out the best-fit formula for remote team collaboration if they are to sustain productivity during these times.
Collaboration processes look very different for remote teams and in-office workforces. In a physical office, we use in-person communication, watercooler chats, informal notes, and messages to get every team member on the same page. A shared lunch can be critical to how your team collaborates – but this is impossible to achieve in a WFH world.
That’s why employees prefer short conversations via digital channels, scheduled social meetings, and a lot of instant messaging when they are compelled to go digital. A recent Microsoft report found:
While employee needs remain the same (engagement, reassurance, and clarity), they are choosing different channels for addressing them. It is vital that managers and team leaders adapt to this new form of collaboration to accelerate problem-solving and encourage employees to innovate, even in these complex circumstances.
There are five ways for team leaders and managers to keep up strong lines of communication among the workforce. They can:
The tools and processes come much later – it is a shared purpose that urges team members to collaborate, no matter the situation. The best leaders will ensure that every team member has visibility into the why behind the collaboration. Clear goal setting, ownership, and an understanding of their work’s impact will help dispersed teams stay motivated, despite the odds, and continue to collaborate.