Even the best communicators needed to adapt during the pandemic. Face-to-face meetings were replaced by online alternatives, and whilst they were useful, many of us missed the real-life interaction with our colleagues.
Hybrid and remote working is here to stay. Online channels have become a standard part of our working lives.
Innovation, creativity, and even organisational culture are dependent upon us all being communicative and collaborative. Post-pandemic working requires us to all step up a gear, embrace the digital, and adapt to hybrid working styles.
Here are some tips to help you become the best collaborator you can be, wherever you are!
Communication is the foundation to collaboration. Misunderstandings and vague instructions can easily swerve a project off course, leaving everyone unsure of their responsibilities.
Great communicators are aware of the dangers of ambiguity which is why they aim to be accurate and clear in all their messaging. Of course, this includes task setting, but they also know they must establish their expectations of the work.
- Be clear about expectations from the beginning.
- Recap at the end of the meeting to underline the delegation of tasks.
- Set clear and realistic time scales for deadlines.
- Practice active listening through asking open ended questions
Go beyond your comfort zone.
Projects outside your comfort zone develop your collaboration as you are forced to take a step back and learn from others. Stretch projects require you to pick up new ideas and knowledge.
If there is a lack of opportunity to do this at work, then volunteering on a committee can be an excellent way to gain more experience working with diverse teams.
Team Building opportunities.
Time spent working together on non–work activities can be a great way to improve collaboration. It fosters a spirit and a culture of belonging leading to happier and more productive teams. You’ll also find that your colleagues surprise you…it could be that the quietest of the group at work shows natural leadership abilities elsewhere.
Not all businesses offer team-building opportunities. The good news is that these don’t have to be ambitious. Bringing the team together for a collaborative sharing lunch once a month will open the channels of communication. While the shared outcome helps foster collaboration.
Advice and guidance from an experienced co-worker help to foster collaboration through the sharing of knowledge. It helps to break down the barriers of communication and cement relationships between colleagues with different levels of responsibility.
Being a mentor is just as valuable as having a mentor! If your organisation doesn’t offer a formal mentorship scheme perhaps you may like to start one or ask a more senior colleague if they would be willing to become a mentor to you.
Read more about the value of being a mentor here.
Choose the right digital tool for the right task.
Not all digital tools are created equal! Some are more suited to certain tasks than others and using them all too often can create digital fatigue.
Assess each task case by case and assign the most appropriate collaboration platform to the task.
You may like to consider file sharing, cloud platforms, screen-sharing, and project management software. You’ll probably need to try a few before you find one that works best for your team and project.
Remote and hybrid working has many benefits. If you are one of those colleagues who loves the hustle and bustle of office life, you probably miss the dynamic vibrancy of the shared space and experience.
Collaboration is still possible it just requires a slight change in your skill set and the way you work. We hope these tips help you and your team become the best collaborators in the business!