As workers start making their way back into the workplace on a part-time basis, they may find themselves struggling to maintain proper collaboration with their hybrid teams. With employees split across homes and offices, approaching the hybrid working model with the same tools we used while co-locating could potentially hurt overall business productivity and employee morale.
While the need for collaboration tools has increased significantly since the pandemic, it’s far from a new challenge. Team fragmentation across time zones has plagued businesses for years, with late night or early morning calls particularly bad for teams communicating between APAC and Europe. With teams spread further apart than ever before, leaders must provide the best tools available to ensure that all essential communication takes place on platforms specifically for distributed teams, rather than primarily favouring in-person or synchronous communication.
The importance of a standard whole of business tools
With a new report revealing that 72 per cent of office workers are reportedly frustrated with ‘traditional’ communication tools, management must prioritise tools that remove barriers and promote collaboration. Communication platforms should work seamlessly across different platforms, removing obstacles like unnecessary––and often overwhelming––emails, replacing them with channels that champion collaboration across teams.
In a hybrid environment, data silos and fragmentation of applications make it extremely difficult for teams to collaborate. A central communication platform can remove these barriers and accelerate projects.
When choosing a communication program or tool, businesses should consider platforms that allow for transparency and accountability, with a central location of all project information and clear ownership of any activity imperative for better insights and learnings. With 91 per cent of office workers admitting they have had digital messages misunderstood or misinterpreted at work, providing tools that reduce miscommunication will help team members collaborate effectively and efficiently.
Synchronous vs. asynchronous
Hybrid working is often seen as the best of both worlds. Team members can come together in an office space, collaborate and then be at home when best suits their own schedules. However, with teams distributed further apart than before and some team members choosing to WFH exclusively, businesses must prioritise tools that specifically help bridge the gap between employees no matter where they work.
Not every meeting or discussion in the workplace needs to be scheduled at a specific time or in a particular time zone. With asynchronous meetings, employees can prioritise deep work and their own activities rather than be pulled into constant calls and have their current work derailed. Tools like Loom, an asynchronous video platform, provide the best of both worlds, enabling teams to pre-record their insights conveniently while the team can digest when it works best in their day. It becomes a powerful tool for efficiency, collaboration, flexibility, and overall connection.
By building a foundation of asynchronous communication where employees can get all the information needed to be empowered in their work, teams will find they collaborate on deeper questions rather than basic information or projects. They can set up synchronous meetings when everyone has already been briefed rather than waste time re-hashing information that everyone should already know.
Working with scattered teams
Asynchronous communication becomes even more critical when working with teams scattered globally and working in several different time zones. Tools that support this kind of communication allow for full transparency, helping to foster a more inclusive and welcoming environment. When a team has access to what’s going on in other parts of the business, it fights against the feelings of isolation that can come with hybrid work.
There are so many communication tools on the market it can be overwhelming. As workplaces shift back to a hybrid model, businesses that invest in the right tools will thrive. Supporting team members and prioritising collaboration will always pay off in the long run.