Hybrid working is fast becoming the norm and workers are increasingly enjoying the autonomy of choosing when and where they work – combining a mix of in-office and WFH. With teams working from dispersed locations more and more, in-person meetings with entire teams are becoming a less common occurrence. Subsequently, bridging the gap between in-office and at home workers has become a top priority.
One of the most difficult activities to replicate in a fully virtual environment is collaboration. Ideation, brainstorming and design all require spontaneous back and forth, human interactions to combine individual ideas into a collective vision. In order for teams to achieve the same collaborative experience remotely as they do in brick-and-mortar office spaces, leaders must take the following factors into account:
1. Do Not Confuse Communication for Collaboration
Visual communication should not be mistaken for collaboration. Collaboration is about creation, not just communication. True collaboration requires people to come together to work on their ideas collectively in real time. Whilst video conferencing tools can be helpful for sharing content and improving knowledge, true collaboration requires specialist features that allow you to build, create and critique work effectively.
Acknowledging this fundamental difference is a critical component in getting the right hybrid work infrastructure in place.
2. Communicate and Collaborate all at Once
Having understood the crucial difference between communication and collaboration, it is vital to ensure your Hybrid Work Strategy encompasses both. There are many fantastic digital collaboration and whiteboard tools available, but unless colleagues can communicate thoughts about their ideas in real time while using them, their true potential will be stifled.
A digital whiteboard, combined with video conferencing software allows you to work in a more human way. Reading your peers’ facial expressions and body language as you collaborate, even if they are in a different location, is a crucial part of the collaboration process. Successful innovation requires ideas to be worked on with immediacy, in the here and now.
3. Give Teams Limitless Space to Work
A Study from Oxford Economics found that 49% of employees ranked having space to collaborate with co-workers easily and effectively as the most important feature for a productive work environment. In a Hybrid Work environment where much team collaboration moves online, an effective collaboration strategy must consider digital space in addition to physical space.
A common feature of application-based collaborative working is that colleagues become tied to small screen experiences. Big picture thinking demands big screen experiences. For optimal results, workers need to be able to draw, write and innovate on infinite screen real estate, or from multiple devices simultaneously.
This freedom of expression facilitates a culture of innovation and inspires individuals to capture their best ideas.
4. Ensure Equity of Voice for all Team Members
In a Hybrid Work environment, greater attention must be paid to inclusion to mitigate against the cost of the lost idea. Remote participants joining meetings with office-based colleagues can suffer from a lack of physical presence and struggle to get their point across. Organisations must nurture an environment where it is not the idea attached to the executive with the loudest voice and the most expensive suit that prevails, but simply the best idea.
To achieve this, levelling the playing field between office and remote participants is critical to ensure everyone in the meeting has equal opportunity to have their voice heard. All workers need the ability to share their ideas in real time, whilst others join in and add to a collective vision.
5. Invest in the Correct Portfolio of Technology
There is no single ‘silver bullet’ tool that will provide the answer to Hybrid working. Instead, leaders should look to assembling the most suitable portfolio of technology for their own individual needs.
It is critical that businesses do not pursue a ‘rip and replace’ strategy but look to build on existing investments to ensure that the resulting infrastructure is optimised to the company’s own specifications and working styles. The ideal solution will supercharge your already existing assets, knitting them into one secure digital workspace where you can bring all your most useful applications together.
Laduma is THE Digital Workspace for the Hybrid Workforce
At Laduma, we believe that the new breed of Hybrid Workforce needs a new breed of Hybrid Workspace. One singular platform where you can bring all your favourite applications and tools with you to do your best work together.
Teams need to work fast, efficiently and with freedom, having access to the tools they need in one place. With the help of Laduma, you can pull meetings, notes, reminders and specialist tools into one central platform for frictionless collaboration from any location.
To find out more about how we can help you supercharge collaboration between dispersed teams, take a read of our comprehensive hybrid workspace insight guide