With the reducing rates of COVID, we all can hear the soft, collective sigh of relief. Life is beginning to return to the good old days. We are reminded, though, that it is the new normal.
Having to learn to work from office or home or do a hybrid, we have had to learn to adjust.
What has changed?
In the new normal, after the initial hiccups, you have mastered the art of supervising your team remotely. Several companies have produced Work from Home policies to support remote working. Companies have digitalized work processes to facilitate remote work.
But then, nobody seems to claim that the pandemic has improved efficiency. It has not. And you know, something is missing in the midst.
Collaborating Working is an Orphan of the New Normal
Companies, big or small, want their employees back to the office fully or partly(hybrid) as soon as possible. Why?
The remote work mechanism put together in a flurry in the wake of a pandemic did not replicate the original work ecosystem. It created several orphans. Collaborative working is one of them.
Remote work systems do not support collaborative working. It promotes task orientation and does not support informal work relationships.
Collaborative working benefits the companies tremendously. It improves communication, problem-solving, employee learning and innovation.
Promoting Collaboration in Remote Work Environment
Step one in promoting collaboration is to diagnose. Technically, you can do an organizational network analysis to assess the work collaboration in your company by network size, strength, density, centrality etc.
You can promote collaborative working in several ways.
1. Use collaborative tools such as Slack, Trello, Kanban etc.
2. Create linkages – beyond the groupings in the organizational structure, e.g., Inter- departmental committees.
3. Include collaboration as a performance measure.
4. Create policies and practices that encourage a sense of community. Informal activities of celebrating employee birthdays and staff outings are just some examples.
5. Promote relationship orientation instead of task orientation is another example.