Today, when our work is becoming more flexible (and remote), topics like workplace communication and collaboration are becoming more and more important.
As I wrote in my last post: workplace communication has different advantages starting from higher workers productivity, higher job satisfaction and lower absenteeism and turnover rates. The same applies to workplace collaboration. Employee collaboration equals happier and educated workforce.
A Stanford study from a few years ago found that even the mere perception of working collectively on a task can supercharge our performance. “The results showed that simply feeling like you’re part of a team of people working on a task makes people more motivated as they take on challenges,” the researchers say. A similar finding emerged from another study that found that companies that promoted collaborative working were 5 times as likely to be high performing.
One of the challenges that today’s employers are facing is low employee engagement. “Unfortunately, only 33% of employees in the US are engaged,” says Nick Sanchez, Chief People Officer at Namely. “Which means that if you’re not proactively working on employee engagement, your company could be at risk.” And one of the best ways to get workers to engage is to improve teamwork, which builds the spirit of camaraderie in your teams.
The number of people who are working remotely is on the rise. 10 years ago I, for instance, had only a few friends or colleagues that were working from home office or from Thailand. But today remote working (in some form) is getting more and more common. For instance, according to Gallup study, in the U.S. the percentage of employees who work remotely 100% of the time has risen from 15% to 20%. This percentage will likely continue to grow as more organizations adjust their policies to attract and keep talented employees — and as more employees require or demand this type of work arrangement.
The quite challenging situation for organizations, I would conclude. On one end you want to make your people happy and offer them what they want and need, which is remote work, for instance. But on the other end, you see that due to that the collaboration and teamwork are lacking and it influences your people happiness as well as their productivity and results of your organizations.
Luckily, there are a lot of different collaboration tools that organizations can use to support their people.
Collaboration tools can be either of non-technological nature (like regular meetings or get-togethers) or technological — like different corporate social media platforms (such as Yammer, Skype, Slack, Google Hangouts, or others). I am not gone go into details, since this is not the purpose of this post, about describing the nature and pros and cons of each platform, so in case you want to learn more about them, then have a look to this post from Creative Blog about 18 best tools for online collaboration.
Before choosing which platform is suitable for your organizations you should know what kind of communication your people need and prefer. Tech-savvy organizations or those where a majority of the workforce is made up of millennials should definitely consider focusing on different online tools. According to this PWC study, 41% of millennials say that they prefer to communicate electronically at work than face to face or even over the telephone.
Even if not all of your people are on one site together you can still plan to hold 360 meeting or all hands meeting like it is done in Zappos. The All Hands meeting, for instance, is a quarterly meeting where every Zappos employee gathers to get updates on things happening around the company. There is everything from informative and inspirational guest speakers to employee performances. But there are other ways how to make your meetings memorable and fun. Plum Organics (a well-known baby food manufacturer), for instance, holds every Thursday a one-hour meeting during what they take out their coloring books, color, and talk.
Your organization needs collaboration. So communicate with your people and get to know what they want and need for better collaboration.
Let me know what do you do in your organization! What kind of collaboration platforms do you use?
Sources used in this post: