Teamwork is the cornerstone of any business, big or small. Few organizations can succeed without collaborative effort. That’s why encouraging team collaboration should be a priority for any company. However, the current lockdown makes the situation an interesting one for most offices. How do you keep the team spirit alive when working from home?
Just because the office is empty doesn’t mean you should give on encouraging collaboration among employees. In fact, this is possibly the best time to start thinking of new and creative ways to promote teamwork. Collaboration is the reason that some companies are doing better than others when it comes to adapting to a new situation such as remote working. Keep reading for our top 6 ways to improve team collaboration.
Focus on your mission
What is your mission for the business as a whole? Team collaboration is all very well but it is difficult to achieve in the absence of a clear mission or cause. Your employees need a reason to show up to work and be passionate about what they do. Sure, a paycheck is important but it’s not the only factor that drives most people.
A mission fulfills that role. The company mission is even more crucial at times like this when everyone is working remotely and far away from teammates. There is no better time to reinforce and reiterate the company mission to all employees. Make sure everyone in the company knows the mission and long-term goals, not just team leaders or managers.
When all employees are invested in the same goals, they will strive to collaborate on their own. They will be motivated to find the best ways to get the job done. In the absence of a clear and compelling cause, employees will no doubt find reasons to avoid working together. Effective team collaboration needs a clear purpose and mission.
Communication is the lifeblood of any group activity, whether it is preparing a festive family meal at home or running a successful business with dozens or hundreds of employees. Without an effective communications system, you don’t have the means to spread awareness or work towards achieving business goals.
For the most part of the 20th century, business communication happened through separate channels. Businesses used phone calls for processes requiring instant communication and paper (letters, memos, etc) for the rest. The invention of email added another communication channel but still, there was not a lot of integration between the various communications systems.
This situation is untenable for businesses in 2020. The need of the hour is effective communication that cuts across systems, tools, and channels. A modern business phone system means VoIP for the most part. Don’t let the phone part fool you though. VoIP technology integrates most forms of business communication into one comprehensive package.
VoIP makes it possible for employees to communicate with each other, with customers, and with executive management easily. It makes it easier for teams to work together, regardless of where they are. In fact, the current work from home business model is successful thanks to VoIP phone systems and high-speed internet. Without these two essential infrastructures, few companies would be even able to function for long.
If you already have VoIP phone service, it’s time to use it for team collaboration. With free in-network calls and very inexpensive international calling rates, your workers should have no obstacle to collaborative work. Encourage teams to use whatever means they need – whether it is a phone call, video conference, or virtual meeting – to work together.
Highlight individual strengths
Highlighting individual strengths might seem like bad advice when we’re talking of collaboration. But it is highly crucial for teams to be successful. Not everyone can be a leader or speak well in a public setting. But those are not the only valuable skills in the workplace. Every team needs a different skillset from its members to deliver work on schedule. That is why highlighting individual strengths is so important.
People like to be appreciated and not just as part of a team or business unit. Building a good team is all about finding people with the right skills and who can work together. That means encouraging team collaboration starts from the moment you start recruiting for a job role. You need to hire people with the right attributes for their individual roles but who also have the skills needed by a particular team.
All this means you need to widen the talent pool when recruiting. VoIP can help you hire the best talent, no matter where they live. Why should you restrict your business hiring efforts to the local city limits? With flexible scheduling and remote working options, get the best person for the job and team from anywhere in the world!
Businesses can conduct virtual interviews through video conference calls to find the perfect talent. Then you can onboard the new hires with online training processes as well. It’s a great solution to keep hiring people especially when almost everyone is working from home anyway.
Socialize outside of work
Another easy way to improve team collaboration is to encourage teams to socialize together outside of work. This is important for many reasons. One is that shared social activities allow staff to connect with each other on a deeper level than everyday work. It opens up informal channels of communication and also allows employees to build trust with each other. Most businesses have team exercises or team building workshops but social activity outside the workspace can be much more effective.
Participating in social activities (book clubs, fitness classes, etc) or conquering a shared challenge allows workers to see others as real people, facing the same struggles as they are. It can help to create strong bonds between team members and break down mistrust due to stereotypes, prejudices, or plain miscommunication.
While socializing outside the workplace is a good idea, how can you put it into practice when working remotely? The solution is actually quite simple. You can plan and participate in social activities virtually when you have an effective communication system. Even when working from home, most employees have their phones and computers with webcams. Take advantage of this to organize activities like virtual book clubs or ‘get fit’ challenges. A virtual happy hour every Friday or the occasional virtual office party can also help in this endeavor.
Reward collaborative behavior
It’s not enough if you ask for better collaboration from your employees. You also need ways to actively encourage such behavior and reward it when teams demonstrate the desired outcomes. There are so many ways to share the process and results of great collaborative efforts. How often have teams reminisced about successful projects or big contracts when it all came together?
Immortalize these stories in some form or the others to inspire employees. You can share newsletters with photos highlighting a big project that came together thanks to teamwork. But you’re not limited to just text and photos either. Thanks to VoIP, you can use video, audio, text, and anything else you can come up with quite easily. Seminars, training sessions, workshops, the annual company report, and podcasts are all great ways to share the results of team collaboration.
Encourage innovation and creativity
Successful teams need room to grow and expand. They need to brainstorm and come up with creative ideas to leverage individual strengths within the team. The big reason why teams are important is that a team is much bigger than the sum of its individual members. So you need teams that have a ‘can-do’ attitude and can strive to exceed expectations. This is simply not possible if business leaders do not encourage creativity and innovation.
A cohesive team is able to work better than individual employees, as each team member plays to their strengths even as they move towards a common goal. Quite often, these efforts require out of the box thinking and innovative ideas for implementation. Unfortunately, many businesses ignore this aspect of collaboration until it’s too late.
Working as a team allows people to borrow new ideas from others with different skills, backgrounds, and experiences. A successful team has individuals with unique perspectives and can use them to create better products and services. Whether your business is a small one with a handful of workers or a large multi-national corporation, team collaboration is crucial to success.
The current pandemic is forcing businesses to explore new models of working and flexible schedules. It is also the perfect opportunity to cultivate and improve team collaboration within the company. Call VoIPstudio today and sign for a free 30-day trial. See how we can help you improve collaboration quickly and easily!
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