Achieving long-term success with remote collaboration

A year on from the first lockdown and only now can we start to understand the long-term effects that remote collaboration and productivity at scale have introduced. Now, we must reflect on the lessons that we have learnt so far, build best practices and find ways to work effectively from home or in a hybrid setting.

Businesses have an integral role to play in ensuring collaboration in all necessary forms works to the benefit of staff well-being, job fulfilment and company culture both today and into the future. The critical first step now lies in listening to employees to understand their perspective to chart the best course forward.

So much time away from the office environment has certainly changed the way we communicate with our colleagues and customers. It has also changed perspectives in terms of people finding a much better work/life balance without the tiresome daily commute or cost of travel. Whilst we expected that the office distraction would shrink, other demands such as childcare, medical appointments or running errands have come into play. For some businesses, remote working has brought teams closer together through more online collaboration opportunities. For other professionals, remote working is not as appealing as people once thought it would be and we must remember that it demands a level of continued self-discipline and motivation.

Now is the time to rewrite old collaboration models and deliver a more flexible environment beyond the office walls and set working hours – and that is where dynamic remote collaboration comes in.

 

Putting employees first

 Getting to the heart of what makes dynamic remote collaboration simple and effective must start with the employees themselves. Involving all staff with discussions about the future of their workplace from the very beginning will be vital if you want to truly understand and factor in new needs, challenges and expectations that will shape their working world in the near and distant future.

Employee engagement and satisfaction is just as important for a successful business today as income and revenue, if not more as the two factors go hand-in-hand. In an environment where they feel trusted and valued, employees are more likely to be motivated to go ‘above and beyond’ for their company, which works towards customer retention and essentially helping to build a stable, growing organisation.

By fully understanding this concept, businesses can make a conscious effort to implement the best practices that can be applied remotely, to ensure employees both feel appreciated and fulfilled in their work by being able to participate in dynamic collaborative growth.

 

Overcoming challenges to drive success

 Businesses have, without a doubt, faced all kinds of new challenges since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and for some, the mass transition to remote working has been more difficult than they could have imagined. However, the benefits are not to be overlooked. According to a recent study, remote workers were shown to be slightly more engaged than office workers, with an engagement rate of 32% in comparison to 28%.

One of the biggest challenges faced was the change in the working environment, with many having to re-organise their homes to make a usable work space to manage their tasks productively. In fact, it’s now clear that people have begun to adapt and even thrive after acclimatising to their new home offices.

Achieving long-term success is a marathon, not a sprint, and the same can be said for building a remote working environment that works for everyone. As life regains a sense of normality, it seems that those businesses willing to offer a hybrid working environment are best placed for well-rounded employee satisfaction post-pandemic and beyond resulting in higher retention rates which is going to be pivotal as the skills gap increases.

Three of the main benefits of remote working include more flexible schedules, a stronger work/life balance and productivity improvements, all of which will – and are – increasing employee wellbeing and job satisfaction. Remote working is here to stay, but businesses now need to match words with action to build an environment that is safe, productive and works for the collaboration of everyone.

 

Building for the future

 Remote collaborations have seen a renaissance this past year and a half, with some of the most popular names in the industry Zoom and Microsoft Teams now household names in the same realm as tech giants of Amazon and Google. Although these were used intermittently before the coronavirus pandemic, companies were given no choice but to rapidly learn the ‘features and benefits’ of these software platforms to ensure work could continue smoothly and productively.

Just over one year on and these collaboration tools are firmly ingrained in the working culture of many organisations, through the universal realisation of their ability to improve communication, reduce costs and enhance international capabilities. Now is the time for leaders to decide whether they will revert to a full in-office workforce or to implement hybrid working long-term. Yet, while the future is uncertain for many businesses, one thing that has remained a firm constant throughout a turbulent year is the proven value and importance of employees and their wellbeing.

It is imperative to highly consider employee feedback at this time, as taking this onboard puts your business in the best position to grow and succeed. Listening to employee ideas on how best to build the workplace of the future will enable smarter purchasing decisions, not only when it comes to cloud-based tools, but also the IT hardware that they will need to match the new standard of digital collaboration that looks set to shape the future of commerce for years to come.

 

 

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