2020 put remote work and productivity head-on. Many companies were obliged to reformat the workflow due to the lockdown. All were intrigued – “How tenacious the remote model would be and how to scale it?”.
The answers were not long in coming. According to a McKinsey survey, workforces can spend 28-30% of their time remotely – without losing productivity. The percent varies between countries, industries, and activities.
“The extent to which the productivity varies between different activities when working remotely”, source
Nevertheless, both employers and employees claim it is sometimes hard or even impossible to produce the same outcomes as those achieved in person. That is especially true for activities that require not separate tasks completion, but collaboration – teaching, coaching, and consultancy. In other words – tasks that combine routine and creativity.
What is remote collaboration?
Let’s clear that collaboration is not just teamwork. Although both terms presume joint efforts from people, they differ in the depth of communication. Consider 2 tasks that require team involvement:
- A team of programmers receives a task to produce some code. The Software Architect gave instructions about what object classes and methods will be there. Each programmer can, hence, separately work over the piece of code. A version controlling system, like Git, will enable compelling the final program from that separate code blocks.
- A business development team works with the client, who is willing to order a customized software to solve his business needs. He or she has outlined expectations and is now waiting for details of the future deal. The team, hence, has to conduct consecutive sessions of negotiations with both production and the stakeholders on the client-side – to finally come up with the scope, time, and price of the project.
The second task looks far more complex: it implies sequential negotiations between both internal and external parties. Now, think of all team members working from home. Teammates need to figure the progress and continuously agree upon each other’s steps. In other words, they need to collaborate.
Issues that you can face with your team
To start working remotely henceforth and forever, you shall overcome 3 groups of obstacles – operational, organizational, and motivational.
The truth is that some work requires not only professionals or back-office but nothing less than machines. Remember a movie scene from the “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” – the Shia LaBeouf’s character sits in front of 2 or 3 screens and monitors stock shares? Imagine he should have done that work on a single screen sitting in the bedroom instead of a well-equipped office. Could that influence his productivity badly? Without a doubt.
“Capture from the ‘Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps’ movie”, source
Delivering and maintaining equipment across employees’ houses takes time and money. And, in some cases, the effect of a full-fledged office still cannot be achieved.
Remote work is a headache for management. If your company is ethical enough not to take screenshots of employees’ laptops during the working day, you need to figure out a way to keep the pace of work and communication at the right level. Zoom, Skype, Google Meet, Confluence, and Slack – it all helps, but, unfortunately, takes more time than face-to-face dialogue.
Lack of interpersonal communication and feedback negatively affects in-work involvement and loyalty. A recent study from Microsoft has shown a terrific figure – 40% of employees worldwide considered changing their current company within a year. This problem falls on managers’ shoulders – how to maintain team spirit and keep employees from changing jobs?
How to stay effective with Weje?
To facilitate remote work, prevent employees from feeling that their collaboration became far more complicated and less effective. Enhance colleagues or subordinates to move routine tasks into an online collaborative environment, for example, Weje. You can organize workflow within boards and share access rights between participants. Use built-in tools for information grouping: mind map maker, note cards, checklists, online whiteboard, etc.
“Weje allows organizing the whole work within a single board”, source
These are cool for either self-employed or corporate workers to:
- Deliver projects faster
If you work as a freelance web designer, use Weje as an environment for co-working and reporting. Create a dashboard and share it with the client. Negotiate on the project pipeline and delivery milestones.
Then start working out the concept: surf the Web for stock images or vector graphics – save these onto the dashboard with a simple drag & dropping. Add your sketches and notes, so that all participants can see what was changed.
When the layout is finally ready, add billing. Upload an expense file from the computer or create a card with costs distribution.
Copy and share the link to the dashboard, through email or social media, so that other people can see the final result. You don’t need to spend extra time to compile separate pieces of a project – they were put in order from the very beginning.
- Make joint reports
Weje is helpful for simultaneous works. Let’s say your team has conducted market research of consumer preferences. You have numbers on hands, and a “little” remains to be done – to write a report and make insightful conclusions.
Again, start with the New Project and schedule several calls to work out the list of chapters. Create boards for each chapter and one – for the final report copy. Spread access rights between team members, so they can browse chapters’ prototypes, add comments, draw data or inspiration.
As soon as content and visuals are ready, move them to the final copy, that contains a pre-designed layout. You can further send a draft report for approval. Just email the link to whom responsible and get feedback or comments.
- Communicate vision
Producing a detailed strategy is great, but if you need to present it remotely, choose a neat and concise format to say it. Once you have worked out numbers and a project plan, share a simple and straightforward mind map with peers or management.
“Use mind maps to communicate vision”, source
Focus on a key idea or value, then – enrich the scheme with tactics and resources. Show how these interrelate with one another and what outcomes you forecast – use arrows to set up connections between separate blocks. If you seek advice or want to put on a kind of performance, turn on-screen demonstration and draw a mind map in real-time mode.
Be flexible, open-minded, and a little creative – to deliver routine tasks faster. Try programs or individual tools to bring your team collaboration to the very next level of effectiveness.