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Teamwork and collaboration best practices: Building trust while working from home

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As we all continue to navigate the uncertain business atmosphere and impacts from COVID-19, organizations need to build trust and improve teamwork in a remote working environment. With schools closed, families staying in and everyone juggling multiple roles, it’s a tough time to work from home—especially for those who have never worked remotely before. Following collaboration best practices as an organization can provide structure and support for your remote workforce during a time like this.    

While the idea of keeping dispersed employees engaged might seem daunting, if done with purpose and well-defined policies, your remote team can operate as cohesively and productively as if they were in the office.

Corporate collaboration best practices

At the heart of all communication is the basic human need to connect. This is still true in a remote work environment, and it’s a need that can be met by taking deliberate actions with collaboration and communication tools. Having the right tools and support in place are only one step toward building trust among employees. Backing up a collaboration platform with a strong company culture focused on communication is crucial. Here are steps you can take to help ensure that employees feel empowered to pitch in and strengthen the company culture.

Communication and collaboration can happen anytime, anywhere. For remote situations where managers are scheduling one-on-one check-ins and full team meetings, reliable collaboration services like Cisco Webex® help reinforce the focus on transparency and connection among employees.

  • Video – Being able to see colleagues during video conferencing reinforces a sense of belonging. Employees can gauge facial expressions, see reactions to comments and know that everyone is fully participating in meetings. Determine when it’s best to switch on or off video as needed.    Live audio and video conferencing also helps foster transparency and ensure everyone has a chance to be heard. Some tips for conducting remote meetings:
    • Identify someone before the call who can be mindful of participants being interrupted. This secret facilitator can diplomatically make sure those people have a chance to finish their thoughts.
    • The people who tend to be quiet in office meetings will tend to stay quiet on remote calls, too. Actively seek their feedback so they know they’re an important part of the group.
    • Ask people to be mindful of their behavior. Are they cutting off other speakers? Do they tend to do it more frequently in different groups? Often people aren’t even aware they’re cutting off other speakers until someone shares that feedback with them.
    • Beyond work needs, employees still want to connect with their coworkers the way they could in the office. Visually connect employees through video calls so they can host meetings anytime. Happy hours, lunches, parties—all of these are still possible with video conferencing and collaboration tools.
  • File sharing – Through platforms like Webex® and Teams, teams can work on the same projects, instantly see work accomplished by teammates and offer feedback. Having that presence also helps employees see who is available for quick conversations if needed.
  • Messaging – Where employees might have been used to dropping by a colleague’s cubicle or catching up on small talk in the break room, they can be thoughtful and meaningful in reaching out to them in chat functions instead. This helps everyone still feel as if they’re part of a community.

Collaboration tech support

It’s critical to reliably support the collaboration tools you ask your remote workforce to use.

  • Ensure that your network capacity can meet demand, as employees will be working from a range of devices, from laptops to smartphones to tablets.
  • Offer software training for communication and collaboration tools and put documentation in easily accessible locations so employees can reference help as needed.
  • Now more than ever businesses are dependent on mobile networks and devices.  Verizon’s Total Mobile Protection Multi-Device for Business provides device protection for select damaged, lost or stolen business devices.
  • Getting your employees set up in their remote offices and making sure their tech works is no easy feat. Offer 24/7 on-demand IT support from U.S.-based experts to your employees with services such as TechTeam.  Our experts can help employees set up mobile devices and printers and even connect to your wireless network, and get started on business applications and manage cloud issues. It’s one less thing for you to worry about.

Companies that promote open and transparent interactions through the right tools will empower their employees to feel as if they are contributing to the well-being of the organizational culture, as well as to the work, in challenging times and beyond.

Remember that remote working is an emerging and evolving situation for everyone. One size won’t fit all, but reliable collaboration tools and best practices focused on a communication culture can help meet employee and company needs for connection, empowerment and productivity.


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