Due to Covid-19, workplaces are now exploring remote options more than ever before, with some of them choosing working from home as the new status quo. Most remote employees are navigating uncharted territory. From finding a balance between work and home life to maintaining the same level of productivity as before, working from home has many challenges associated with it. Between handling all this, live interaction between coworkers decreases and collaboration takes a back seat. In fact, according to a recent survey carried out by Buffer, around 20% of remote employees around the world find loneliness as their biggest challenge. Moreover, for those who are working from the office, it isn’t the same as usual either. Social distancing restrictions promote distance and introduction of physical barriers, such as desk screens and partitions. These changes can be isolating for your workforce, both remote and in-office, and can bring down collaboration. It is important to take efforts to improve collaboration and promote a positive, team-oriented workspace. To help you with that, we have curated a few suggestions below:
#1 Facilitate Interaction
When people are working remotely, they tend to miss out on interaction with their colleagues. We simply don’t have the ability to quickly pop by a coworker’s desk for a quick chat. While nothing can replace face-to-face interaction, technology can be used to foster communication and connection between your staff. There is an abundance of virtual tools available like Slack, Zoom, Skype, Google Meet and so on to keep the conversation going. Facilitate discussion in group channels and encourage people to reach out to each other for work or just for a friendly chat. You can also introduce weekly 1:1 virtual meetups where two colleagues are randomly paired for quick virtual coffee or lunch. It will not only boost morale but also help your team feel connected.
#2 Handle Communication Effectively
Communication is paramount in a professional environment. Without clear and concise information, it becomes challenging to accomplish projects. Remote working heavily relies on text communication which can lead to misinterpretation especially when someone uses short, quick messages. You might think that it saves time but instead, can cause misunderstandings. Therefore, it is advisable to rely on detailed responses and be as clear as possible. Another factor to consider is the mode of communication. As you may know, email is not always the best way; an inbox backlog is surely overwhelming for anyone. We suggest using a mix of methods for different types of conversations. For quick back and forth conversations or urgent queries, chats are best-suited. Whereas, video calls are more appropriate for complex feedback and explaining something that would take too long via text.
#3 Leadership Support and Feedback
As we transition to working from home, our needs change. A change in the working environment is associated with new challenges; your team can feel isolated and thereby reluctant to participate in collaborative efforts. In this case, it would be reassuring to remote workers if leadership understands and supports their evolving needs. Set up systems for one-on-one constructive feedback sessions to acknowledge employees’ positive results and to highlight areas of improvement. Regular check-ins from managers not only creates greater transparency but also help your employees feel supported. Another advantage is helping managers stay in the loop about their teams’ activities and progress.
#4 Make Virtual Meetings Efficient
Virtual meetings go hand-in-hand with working from home. It is a cost-effective and convenient method to connect your staff operating from different locations. Although, when it comes to video conferencing, there are a different set of techniques and etiquettes to follow as compared to in-person meetings. The first things to consider are the kind of software needed, the participants and the type of information to be shared. This will assist the presenter to be prepared for the meeting. In addition, it helps to have a designated leader who manages the meeting and carries it forward; this is especially important with a large group of people where cross-talking can take the focus from the agenda. Lastly, virtual meetings should have a specified time limit to avoid any distractions and to make sure the conversation stays on track.
#5 Establish New Traditions
Remote working can be secluding since we miss out on casual office friendships that come with working from the office. As work communication is getting digital so should our celebrations. Establish ways to celebrate milestones and socialise virtually. An example is to set up virtual clubs like book or movie clubs where your team can bond over hobbies. In addition, create new team-building traditions for your office like monthly virtual trivia contests, quizzes and other games. It can foster competition, creativity and lay the foundation for future collaborations. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter how you try to increase communication, what is important is to give your team a space to interact about non-work related things.
As we adjust to the new state of affairs, we need to ensure that our team stays motivated and get the support they require. It is the key to build a strong community and strengthen your company culture. At Radius Office, our goal is to provide you with the tools to adapt to the new way of working. Whether it is furniture for a productive home office or protective equipment for social distancing in the workplace you need, we have it all!