Building a strong team of professionals who work efficiently towards a common goal is essential for the success of any business.
And as it says in Forbes magazine, “Collaboration among all your teams is essential to come together as one and bring about positive results. To generate leads, build relationships and increase revenue, your employees must work together to find solutions.”
However, with the challenges of COVID and the significant rise in remote working over the last two years, this can feel even more challenging than ever. How can you foster collaboration when your team members aren’t physically present in the office or working across multiple time zones?
In this article, we’ll explain how you can encourage your team to collaborate more effectively, despite the challenges.
Collaboration is the term used when several people or organisations work together to solve a problem or complete a project. This approach helps spark creativity, foster innovation and ensures that your business or organisation can provide the best solution to clients or customers.
By working together in this way, your team members will also feel a greater sense of belonging and empowerment – both social factors that drive employee engagement and help build a more inclusive work environment.
Soft skills such as active listening, emotional intelligence, conflict resolution and communication skills also improve when collaboration is a key focus for your business as ideas are shared between individuals.
From the outset, your work environment should foster open communication, trust, and a sense of community at every level. By using effective listening skills, understanding each other’s strengths and bouncing ideas off each other, the team will naturally start working together on projects. Building trust is a key element here and doesn’t happen overnight. But with the right mindset in place, your team members will slowly come together to deliver outstanding results for your business.
With the growth of technological tools and apps for communication, project management and collaboration such as Zoom, Flowdeck and Slack, it’s easier than ever for team members to stay on the same page, despite the challenges of remote working.
Having said that, if you’re using several of these tools, you must ensure that they are compatible to avoid increasing your workload, whatever industry you work in.“3D workflows are now an essential component of every industry”, says Creative ITC, “The rise of remote work, globally spread teams, an explosion in the number of often incompatible software tools, and the demand for compute-heavy technologies makes design collaboration exponentially harder.”
Consider your key needs and select the right tools to achieve the best results.
When using the tools mentioned above or other channels of communication, ensure that everyone understands your requirements and adheres to them. By doing so, you’ll conserve your investment of time and energy.
Ask yourself the following questions and make sure everyone knows your requirements:
- Should certain messages be sent through certain channels?
- Should tasks be defined and assigned according to certain best practices or rules?
- Are there any additional rules or guidelines that should be adhered to?
By making this clear from the outset, you will optimise efficiency and productivity as team members collaborate.
Meetings form an integral part of the collaboration process but they can drain your time if you don’t plan and execute them effectively. Here are some tips:
1. Prepare a detailed agenda with time scales and goals. This helps you to use your time wisely and ensure you get maximum results from the time invested.
2. Promote active listening. Listen and absorb without waiting to respond. This will help you absorb others’ ideas, be flexible and see how your goals align.
3. Provide meeting notes or feedback. Take notes throughout the meeting to provide you with a record of what has been discussed and ensure they help you deliver results.
By setting goals for your team, you will naturally bring them closer together and create a sense of accountability. Once the goal itself is achieved, your team will witness the power of collaboration with their own eyes and be more likely to work together in the future.
This is especially the case if you recognise the value of their input, highlight key challenges they may have met along the way, and discuss both how they were resolved and whether these skills can be used again in the future.
Whether your team members are working together in-person or online, you can create a sense of unity and foster collaboration that pushes your business towards greater success. Make full use of the technological tools available, create the right workplace mindset, set goals, make your meetings more efficient and give kudos to those team members who deserve it. Together, we can build stronger teams for a more profitable future.
Author: Hannah Walters – The Writers Guild