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4 min read

Collaboration In the Workplace Has Changed - It's Time to Adapt

virtual collaboration

“Two minds are greater than one.”

“There’s no ‘I’ in team.”

We’ve all heard these quotes and they exist for a reason: true collaboration is hard, so we all need some motivation to make sure we’re doing it right.

Collaborating successfully during normal times is challenging enough, so if you and your team are struggling during these unsettling times, don’t worry, you’re not alone.

With coronavirus sweeping the world, it’s hard to say what the workforce will look like weeks, months, or even years from now, but what we do know is that it has changed and we need to adapt.

Why Collaboration is Essential Right Now

Companies and individuals are facing a lot of uncertainty right now, and everybody needs to come together to help overcome the challenges they’re facing.

Successful collaboration allows teams to:

  • Problem solve
  • Foster a learning environment
  • Highlight strengths of each employee
  • Set the stage for innovation
  • Be accountable for their work and challenges individuals to step up 

Now is the time to step up.

Attend The Next Solopreneur Success Sessions. Learn more now.

Many businesses are having a hard time moving to a remote workforce, and understandably so. This new dynamic is a big adjustment, especially if you’ve never had any experience with it. Our team is working remotely as well, so I thought I’d put some tips together to help you navigate this new reality.

Why Company Culture Needs to Be a Top Priority

In times like these, it is essential that your team trusts each other. Without the visual of seeing people at their desks and actively getting work done, it may be easy for each of you to spend time wondering what people are actually doing: Are they doing laundry? Are they watching Netflix? Or, are they actually getting work done.

You need to assume the latter and trust that your team is fulfilling their responsibilities. The more people trust each other, the more people will feel accountable for their own actions and work, and the more productive your team will be.

Especially now, you must facilitate some sort of team building and morale-boosting activities. Some of your team members may be working from home alone and may be experiencing loneliness during this time of isolation. Others heads may be spinning because they’re balancing work, homeschooling, and taking care of the family simultaneously, and they may just need a quick break to have a laugh with co-workers. Whatever the circumstance, focus on your company culture to motivate your co-workers to keep going and get their jobs done.

Ideas to do this include:

  • Team book club
  • Monday status meetings with cameras on
  • Friday happy hours
  • Fun team challenges (whoever has the craziest pajamas on wins!)

These not only help to boost morale, but they also help everybody get to know their coworkers on a personal level, which in turn, could actually help productivity.

For example, prior to her time at LifeStarr, a woman on our team was hired for her first job out of college, not because of the internships she had, but because she did stand-up comedy on the side, and that showed she had confidence and presentation skills that she could bring to client meetings.Get to know your team’s strengths outside of what they would normally show you while working and see how they may help to get work-related tasks done.

What to Avoid While Working Remotely

Excuse my language, but a Cover Your Ass (CYA) culture is just plain toxic, no matter what environment you’re working in. If your team is more prone to playing the blame game and making sure they don’t get accused of doing anything wrong rather than focusing on reaching the team’s goals, you have a big problem on your hands. For teams to collaborate remotely, individuals have to own up to their responsibilities and failures. Leave your egos at the door.

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

I’ll say it again, “communicate!”

While communication is always important for a team to be efficient, it needs to be perfected in a remote environment. Set clear expectations with your team so there isn’t any room for ambiguity as it relates to who’s doing what. If that means having a daily status with your team, then do it.

It is not only helpful, but essential to document systems, training, and processes that are essential to your business operations. Type them in shareable files that your team can easily access. While the time you spend up front may seem significant, it will save you loads of time in the long run since you won’t have to continue training people or answering questions that can be found in the documentation. If it’s helpful, record the processes using an app like Loom so that people can watch a video to see how things should get done.

When it comes to communicating with your team, a lack of body language can leave a lot of room for misinterpretation, and tone can easily get misconstrued in an email or chat message. While communicating remotely, err on the side of caution and over explain things if you need to. If you’re a sarcastic person, read your emails as if somebody who doesn’t pick up on sarcasm as easily was reading it. Think of ways your messaging could be misinterpreted and try to prevent them from happening.

Lastly, avoid platform hopping and sending the same message across multiple platforms...things will get lost! Find a tool, like LifeStarr, where all of your files and messaging can live in one place to help you streamline communication.

Setting Your Team Up for Virtual Success

There’s nothing worse than getting all of your ducks in a row for remote collaboration success, only to have technology fail you.

Before you decide what technology you’re going to use, strategize on how you’re going to use it. Even if it’s the shiniest and most popular product out there, does it make sense for you and your team? Do your research and see if: 

  • It’s within your budget
  • It has the capabilities you’re looking for
  • It has a reasonably short learning curve
  • It will help you get things done rather than distract you from it
  • The platform has solid support - there isn’t an office IT person when you’re working from home

From a technology standpoint, there’s never been a better time for a remote workforce to collaborate...and we’ve made that technology even better.

The majority of organizational apps and platforms for teams are expensive... ours is free (and always will be). 

Many organizational apps only help to organize your work life...LifeStarr helps to organize your personal life as well (which is very helpful right now considering the lines are blurred for the work-from-home crew right now).

With the adjustment of working remotely and getting used to a new work environment, you don’t need to be wasting time figuring out a tool and bouncing back and forth between platforms. LifeStarr actually saves you time. It’s easy to use. And you can start using it right now.

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