5 ways to keep your teams collaborating through lockdown

Most of us probably feel like remote working veterans by this point. We’ve got our home offices set up just so, our daily routines are second nature.

But there are still a few headaches for managers and IT departments supporting their workforce remotely. Those staff who avoided video conferences in the office are suddenly being forced to use video and collaboration tools daily.

So what can the business do to ensure their teams keep collaborating effectively while stuck at home?

Protect User Workflows

Protecting user workflows is crucial for maintaining effective collaboration between team members. Shadow IT is huge problem now staff are “out in the wild” and often using their own devices. Firstly, do not rush to throw multiple new tools at staff. Keep your collaboration environment simple, streamlined, and familiar.

While a particular communication tool may be demonstrably better than another, teams will not see the benefit if they opt to use different more familiar tools. Keeping everyone on the same platform is the priority here.

But that’s not to say that new tools cannot be rolled out. Infact the lockdown has suddenly highlighted deficiencies in many organisation’s collaboration tools and cloud technology means platforms and tools can be rolled out remotely. 

And with that in mind, our next tip can help if you are required to roll out a new platform or toolset..

 

Keep up Staff Training

Sounds like a no-brainer but this is often overlooked and is not easy to tackle during lockdown. If lockdown has forced the IT department to accelerate their plans to move to a unified collaboration platform such as Microsoft Teams, staff training, and guidance should be factored into the deployment plan.

Take the time to help staff familiarise themselves with the new tools and make sure they feel supported and have sufficient guidance materials to help them acclimatise. One email with some hastily cobbled together instructions will not cut it here.

Run a some training sessions for those staff who feel unsure. Make sure all staff are aware of where to find help and guidance and that team leaders particularly understand the reasons why the business has moved to a platform and why it is important for all teams to embrace that platform.

Head Space and Rewards

It is imperative to ensure your teams feel recognised for their work and are in regular contact. Protecting mental health and helping motivation is more important than ever.

Everyone worldwide is under more stress than usual right now. Stress and depression are all to real issues for many people and just as in the office, a lot of motivation comes from staff feeling that their work matters and that they have the support of their team.

Regularly communicate across the business and encourage team leaders to do the same. Ensure all staff are being recognised for their efforts.

 

Recognising New Routines

The 9-5 paradigm has been antiquated for some time now with staff working, communicating and staying online around the clock, but now more than ever we need to say goodbye to the ‘bums in seats’ mentality.

It is of course still important to measure productivity, identify where staff are struggling to help them, but productivity cannot be effectively measured by how long staff spends at the desk. It must now be measured by output and come with the understanding that some people’s working days are broken up, some like to start earlier, some prefer to work in the quieter evenings.

Many remote workers are juggling limited space at home, with a partner who also needs to work. Parents are having to fit childcare between meetings and while stuck at home. Ask yourself this, do you do your best work in the 6th straight hour, late in the afternoon? Or do you find a walk and sandwich helps clear your head and lets you concentrate better?

Its crucial for both physical and mental well being that staff take some time during the day to exercise, get out of the house and away from that screen and to ensure they do this, they must feel like the company culture supports and encourages them to fulfil this need.

Stay Secure

Lastly a technical recommendation. Teams share a lot of sensitive data via their communication tools and it is crucial to ensure that any tools used protect and secure this data effectively.

This seems like a very obvious point but we see a lot of businesses assume that big brand names all carry the same levels of encryption when this is not the case. We’ve seen some of the most popular video platform’s security called into question by experts in recent times.

Double check your chosen platform’s encryption, both of data at rest and in transit. Take a moment to read through the security and data privacy policy. Ensure there are no hidden clauses that allow data to go out to a third party and that they have a robust disaster recovery plan.

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