01 Dec Collaboration is key!
The pandemic we are living through is unprecedented in the modern world. We were not prepared for a change of this magnitude to our daily lives. Lack of preparation has forced some employers to make fundamental changes at the core of their businesses just to continue trading. Covid-19 has forced almost 50% of the UK workforce to work from home remotely.
A concern business owners’ have voiced with the transition to remote working, is “can it guarantee the continuation of collaboration and communication amongst employee outside the office ?” The answer simply is yes, and we will explore this in more detail as the blog continues.
What most do not realise is remote working is capable of not only maintaining your current levels of collaboration but improving them too, if the right tools are used correctly the sky is the limit. Productivity and collaboration can be difficult to maintain when out of the regimented environment the workplace offers, technology can bridge that gap and fill in existing holes left from the workplace.
Introducing Microsoft ‘Teams’
Microsoft Teams offers a chat-based collaboration platform combined with document sharing, online meetings, and other useful business communication tools. Teams has been described as a “digital translation of an open office space”. Teams is a feature of the Microsoft 365 ecosystem and is the world’s go-to tool for achieving the most from their remote working, with over 115 million daily users!
Teams collaboration tools explained
- Chat- Chat enables remote workers to keep in contact with their colleagues from anywhere. Staff can talk as freely when working remotely as they can in the workplace. This will not only keep your employees in contact with each other but will also allow them to have a laugh and some jokes with fellow employees. Working from home, especially within the stressful world of today, can be draining and leave you feeling isolated if not kept in the loop.
- Co-authoring – A particularly good collaborative feature of Teams is the ability to co-author documents, it enables people to work on the same one at the same time – meaning fewer duplicates.
- Video conferencing – The video conferencing feature allows you to video call colleagues and clients for a formal or informal conversation. An important feature for conversing about work and for a good chat.
- File sharing – File sharing makes it possible to share documents through Teams, all are saved within the Cloud and are secure.
- Fewer emails – In the workplace, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the sheer quantity of emails you receive on the average workday, as conversations are now held and structured in Teams, there are no more email-upon-email staggered responses.
Teams offers a platform that allows your colleague to send you a joke, ask you a work-related question, and send you important sensitive documents securely all in the same place!
As good as Teams is to assist you in ensuring you get the most from remote working, there are other things to consider about your practices to assist in collaboration. Here are some examples:
Try to see the positives to remote working for all team members, I agree that remote working may have a derogatory effect on certain employees or business functions at the beginning of your transition, but it will create new opportunities for others that are happier behind the safety of a computer screen. Many staff members are less inclined to speak out in a group setting but can be quite vocal when talking through technology. A keyboard can be a powerful tool to an individual that struggles with interpersonal skills, which then leaves no hierarchy based on body language and physical appearance which can be quite apparent in an office setting.
Choose your digital volume wisely when working remotely. Avoid following up on a task by email, text, and phone, this form of digital dominance can create an anxiety-ridden workspace and can be quite uncomfortable. Creating demands based on the platform you are using as a reminder can create the urgency required in an employee without the stress to go with it.
Using correct grammar and full-length sentences with punctuation is very important, efficiency has become so important to businesses in the modern world that when working remotely some use fewer words to communicate. Sometimes such a message (designed to be easier to read) wastes team time whilst trying to decipher its meaning, and it is misinterpreted anyway. Do not assume your team understands your shorthand, communicate as concise and clear as possible, you can never be too clear, but it is easy to be misinterpreted.
These tools and tips both interactive and not can assist you in collaboration when working remotely and will put you in good stead to create a productive interactive environment for you and your employees to communicate seamlessly.
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