The Future of Work: How We Can Collaborate More Efficiently Online

Keca Ward

One thing is certain: businesses, and how we work, are likely to change even after social distancing guidelines loosen.


For example, the healthcare industry in the U.S. has already seen a significant increase in patients using telemedicine technology, which means workers can cut down on their in-office appointments. Additionally, the current travel ban might have a long-term impact on the way we utilize our sales teams in the future, as they now see economic returns using videoconferencing instead of in-person meetings. 

As we unearth new efficiencies, now is the time to begin planning how we hire talent and collaborate virtually in the future.

One thing we’ve learned? As humans, we need to be social. Whether it’s through Zoom or GoToMeeting, we need to stay connected and work together. In order to get through uncertainty, we need to collaborate more, not less. If we keep the concept of “physical distancing” in place for the next several months, but remain social and collaborative, we are sure to come out on top.
 

Here are a few ways to keep virtual collaboration at the forefront of your organization:
 

1. Build trust by meeting regularly and setting communication guidelines.  

Building trust is not a new concept for successful managers. For most, establishing trust with new employees is part of their orientation, and they continue to build on that trust throughout the employee’s career. 
 

However, organizations now face the challenge of building trust virtually. One way to establish trust is to meet regularly. Set up new office hours and stick to them. More importantly, set new communication guidelines on how you are going to collaborate virtually. Establishing new guidelines on communication will bring clarity to the teams, which is another method for establishing trust.
 

2. Use video to elevate your communication

Think about it: what is missing most often with voice calls is body language. Body language, facial expressions, and gestures are how humans communicate effectively. For workers in the western world, the handshake is often the first (and last) impression a candidate faces during a first in-person interview. That’s why there are countless online videos on mastering the first handshake during a job interview to make a good first impression. 
 

We might not be able to use the handshake for the next several months, however, organizations can still utilize video as much as possible. Video allows you to see and feel each other’s communication style. A video meeting format is a much stronger option to build rapport and feel empathy among your teams.    
 

3. Create opportunities for people to meet and celebrate moments that matter

Every human being is different, and celebrating moments that matter at work is essential. Encouraging celebrations and milestones for your employees is a great way to foster collaboration. Don't forgo your co-worker’s baby shower or 5-year anniversary milestone of employment. Make these moments matter and celebrate as many successes as you can while working remotely.
 

Focus on your culture and build virtual events such as virtual water cooler talks, coffee breaks, trivia nights, online cooking classes, journaling, yoga, and mediation. Organizations should provide as many outlets for fun and light-hearted collaboration outside the normal workday. 


Remember, it often is not what you do that is important, it is that you just do it!  

 


Interested in the future of work and finding A+ talent?
Register for our webinar, Looking Ahead: The Future of Finding & Retaining A+ Talent.