Have you felt a greater need for meaningful connection and a refocus on collaboration in 2021?
You’re not alone.
“Many people have felt isolated and lonely. We probably won’t be going back to the office like we did before, so companies will also need to reimagine the workplace as a place where people meet, brainstorm, have social gatherings, and build social identity,” says Professor Frederik Anseel at UNSW who is co-authoring a global study on the impacts of COVID-19 on workplaces.
The post-pandemic world has created a new outlook for the future of work. Collaboration and connection with colleagues is an important way for leaders to connect with their team. However, the future of work is challenging the traditional methods of how we connect with our audiences, teams and communities.
Collaboration across an organisation is essential to generate ideas and promote connection across a team. We must prioritise how we listen and share ideas to feel a part of a team and larger community. A Salesforce study found that, 86 percent of executives and employees cite lack of collaboration or ineffective communication for workplace failures—meaning collaboration, and communication, are the real keys to succeeding at work.
However, collaboration can be tough if you aren’t seeing your team face to face everyday. But, remote work isn’t going anywhere so businesses must adapt.
The future of work will empower businesses to rethink how we collaborate and foster meaningful connections.
1. Become a part of your workplace community
According to Forbes, clustering early startups together within a larger environment of coworking spaces facilitates networking and a relationship-building atmosphere that a young company needs to succeed.
Being surrounded by like minded individuals and business leaders allows cross collaboration and fostering deepr connections with a variety of industry leaders. It happens a lot faster when you’re in the same space using the same shared facilities. Seeing what others are doing, how their teams operate and function can bring added value to your business.
If you are a part of a startup or a small team, build your headquarters at a shared office workspace. You can be surrounded by a community of businesses that are rapidly scaling and growing. These shared office spaces offer valuable networking opportunities to connect with industry experts and leaders. It’s a great way to find partners, vendors and additional service providers who could complement your business.
For Rosie Plunton, “The move into Workit has made the transition to working on my business full-time so easy.” After 13 years in the advertising industry, Rosie Plunton took the plunge and went full-time on her jewellery business, Deja Marc in November 2020. “The space itself is so unique, and the upgrade has allowed us to professionalise our set up by having a large studio space with designated stations for our jewellery production. The team and I have a great community of other businesses to connect with and learn from at Workit Spaces.”
2. The future of work is flat
Companies are embracing the future of work with flat hierarchies. Flattening the traditional organisational structure has proven to increase creative collaboration and strengthen emotional connection across teams. Businesses can collaborate with any member of the organisation at any given time. A flat structure not only increases project efficiencies, it fosters deeper connections between employees and executives. Your team will feel empowered to voice their feedback to anyone in the organisation.
Schedule daily 15-minute stand-up meetings to debrief with your team to make sure everyone is on the same page. Teams can easily help each other eliminate roadblocks and collaborate on a solution. Stand up meetings reduce the amount of time spent on people management and instead, free up more time to focus on managing project outputs and builds a genuine connection with your team by fostering a support system to problem-solve on the spot. It also strengthens the emotional intelligence of your team because everyone understands what’s on eachother’s plate, how your colleagues are coping and where to provide support.
For Curtis Campion, Product Manager at SKUtopia, the daily stand-up is the most important meeting of the day. “It’s essential to have the morning stand up so I can meet with the developers directly. The team can discuss technical problems and resolve any blockers as they come up. It also gives us a chance to catch up and check-in with eachother beyond work. It helps us keep track of the progression of our work so that if things are slipping, we can identify it as soon as possible and support eachother. On the other hand, if things are moving faster than expected, we can make sure that the next most valuable project is ready for the team to begin.”
3. An open exchange of information leads to success
Fostering a workplace culture that encourages vulnerability, transparency and communication is the future of work. It’s changing how we collaborate by encouraging teams to work with peers outside of their direct reports. Teams learn what individuals across the organisation are working on and feel less siloed. Grab a coffee with the CEO or sit down with a Customer Support agent to dig deep into your customer data and learn more about the most frequently asked questions.
Promoting collaboration, transparency and dialogue across the entire ecosystem of an organisation allows for collective learning to take place. Being transparent with company-wide KPIs, wins and loses when onboarding new employees helps them learn from the wisdom of others. It’s an opportunity for new employees to identify inefficiencies and areas for improvement. The idea that an open exchange of information leads to success is also seen when teams participate in department showcases.
A monthly presentation to the entire organisation can be an opportunity to showcase what each team is working on and open the floor to company-wide feedback to achieve business outcomes faster. If the marketing department showcases what they achieved during any given month, it boosts transparency and encourages collective feedback to work towards a common goal. This kind of communication and collaboration leads to real learning and growth to support the professional and personal development of a team. This kind of relationship across departments prevents teams from operating in silos. With an open exchange of information, there is no fear of the unknown in terms of where the business is headed. The business world is competitive but by encouraging the exchange of information and knowledge, you can easily generate successful outcomes faster.
What will workplace culture look like as we adapt to the future of work? With the right tools and people, fostering deeper connections and creative collaboration is how businesses will evolve. The rise of shared workspaces and coworking spaces has facilitiated better networking opportunities, strategy sessions and better relationship-building enviornments. The future of work is pushing organisations to use productivity apps, digital tools and transformative solutions to modernize business operations.