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Companies no longer operate only within the four walls of the office. Members of the same team can easily work in different countries and even in different time zones. Remote work and a flexible approach to working hours are becoming more and more popular and many companies are changing their internal policies in this area. One in five employees thinks they're more productive when they work remotely, according to research by totaljobs - one of the UK's leading job posting websites. Almost every third employee claims that they would prefer to change the company to one that offers the possibility of remote work.
But working remotely individually and in a team also poses some challenges. Collaboration between employees dispersed in different locations can be difficult. Even in a world ruled by the latest technology, where employees communicate via e-mail and instant messaging, we may feel disconnected.
If you use the tools and strategies discussed here, your team will collaborate better regardless of where its members are located.
Encourage spontaneous collaboration in the office
Even when working in the same office, you may rarely see colleagues working on different floors or departments. Digital telecommunications tools such as e-mail and video calling are so effective that there is no room for casual conversations. But it is during such conversations that cooperation is most effective.
Make employees more willing to leave their desks and work with others in collaborative spaces. People are increasingly working on laptops rather than desktops, which makes it easier to take work elsewhere. At most IT companies, employees have the opportunity to work in public places with comfortable sofas and coffee machines. Thanks to this, the atmosphere is more like home.
It is worth it to separate a space in the office, where the atmosphere will be looser and which will be a springboard. In such a place, employees will be more willing to talk and cooperate with each other. Think about using furniture designed for the living room instead of standard office desks and chairs. Sofas, comfortable armchairs and side tables allow you to change the operating mode. If you have remote employees or employees from other departments who work sporadically at the company's premises, this will be the perfect space for them as well.
Organize team meetings outside the office
If your employees are scattered or working remotely, it is especially important that they gather in one place from time to time and meet face to face. This will help prevent them from feeling isolated. Depending on your budget and team size, you can host quarterly, semi-annually, or annually in-person meetings or work sessions.
At such meetings, you can gather the main decision-makers who will brainstorm the most important goals. Also consider organizing meetings for all employees, during which you will share company news or organize team building activities to create an atmosphere conducive to fun and innovative office culture.
To make such an event more special, organize it outside the office. "It's important to go somewhere else where employees can take a break from their inbox," advises Jackson. Meetings in this form allow employees to physically and mentally break away from everyday duties and focus on building real interpersonal relationships.
Make the exchange of ideas more active
Meetings of dispersed employees to exchange ideas help build teamwork, but efforts to improve collaboration should not stop there. When the meeting is over and everyone has gone their own way, everyone should stay connected and continue what they started.
Notes taken during such meetings should be easily accessible to all. "After brainstorming, everyone wants to have notes right away," says Jackson. - Notes that you can easily share and download make your work easier.
Digital tools shape the working environment more and more. As a result, there are many possibilities for communication and collaboration between employees. A proactive approach to the interior design of the office, how to conduct meetings, and the selection of tools to share information will help keep employees in better contact, even when they are far away from each other.