In this blog, part of ‘The new normal’ series from Capgemini Invent, we look at how the concept of collaboration has been broadened and disrupted thanks to remote working. Effective collaboration is one of the critical enablers behind several business drivers for reinventing work, such as seeking to retain and motivate the right people and cutting real estate costs by reducing the need for physical office space.
Re-defining a sense of community
Employees are no longer limited to who they see in the office every day, rather they are exposed to many more internal and external networks. The technology-enabled remote working model has opened-up possibilities of cross-organizational and cross-geographical collaboration. It creates new opportunities for accelerated knowledge transfer and ideation. This acceleration of digital collaboration has re-defined a sense of community, where people are coming together to keep business and society moving.
What are the new challenges?
The dramatic shift to remote working brings a number of cultural challenges that must be addressed, including:
- Existing silos can be exacerbated, especially if employees are not given the appropriate support and tools to operate in a digital environment. Look out too for the emergence of new silos.
- Ripping away the incidental meetings found in the physical workplace can, according to the Harvard Business Review, have a negative impact on psychological health and performance.
- There is a new phenomenon of ‘Zoom fatigue’ where employees become overwhelmed by video call forums and disengage completely.
How can you accelerate digital collaboration?
To kick-start and accelerate digital collaboration, begin by focusing on boosting productivity in the following areas:
Virtual meetings and workshops:
- Ensure employees can drive and facilitate effective virtual meetings and workshops.
- Insist on a co-facilitator, ensuring a detailed agenda and planning breaks.
- Utilize tools such as Miro or Mural to replace physical materials, and enable non-verbal digital collaboration opportunities.
Virtual social arenas:
- Provide access to informal virtual spaces where employees can stay in touch and socialize.
- Plan a casual virtual coffee, breakfast, or lunch catchup.
- Make use of gaming platforms such as Kahoot to re-energize the team.
- Don’t forget your phone – encourage people to simply pick up their phones and call a colleague for a chat. No reason required!
- Drive collaboration and communication through one common platform.
- Using a single tool, such as Microsoft Teams, Trello or Monday.com, can bring together teams without having to navigate multiple tools.
Healthy and productive home office:
- Help your employees to stay efficient, healthy, and connected in their home working environment.
- Support them beyond the provision of equipment by giving them the flexibility to manage how they manage their work-life balance, whether that’s taking time out to drop the kids at school, or to work late (or early) in the day.
Compliance and security:
- Enable all relevant functionalities to stay secure and compliant across all devices.
- Cyber security is more important than ever, so make sure you involve your IT department in all discussions that may impact the security of your organization, with step 1 being that network access is not compromised.
How can you sustain a collaborative workforce?
Provide digital coaching
It is essential that employees are equipped with the right skills to collaborate and engage in a digital working environment. Targeted training on digital tools, as well as ongoing digital coaching, can support high performance.
Use empathy to redefine your collaboration model
- Redefine the way your organization works together in a formal sense and consider replacing ad hoc and informal forums with digital alternatives.
- Empowering teams to co-design this new collaboration model will ensure relevance and buy-in. For example, ask them for their preferences on timing of meetings, channels used, and how they would like to stay connected to each other.
- With the new working from home model breaking down the distance between work life and home life, it is more important than ever to raise awareness of cultural and personal differences to ensure that your ways of working embrace the diversity within the team – read more.
Foster data-driven decision making
Data-driven companies have foresight – they are able to leverage their platforms to capture, analyze and translate data into actions automatically and predict organizational outcomes. For example, the cloud-based Riff Platform is a video and text chat data insights web application that measures conversational dynamics, analyzes vocal activity, and uses AI-driven conversation models to track who is talking and collaborating. By fostering a culture of data-driven decision making you can ensure your organization is leveraging insights from the data generated by the tools and processes, and that core business decisions are governed by data and insights. Underpinning this is the level of open-mindedness that a company has with respect to the use of new technology.
Making your virtual workspace work
To effectively operate in a remote environment, your people need access to the right digital tools. However, this does not mean investing in every tool available, rather it is important to select the best digital collaboration tools for the needs of your organization (find out more) and your individual users (find out more). It’s how you make the digital workplace as customized as possible.
Succeeding in the new normal
Organizations that are open to new technology and excelling in digital collaboration will thrive in the COVID and post-COVID world.
At Capgemini Invent, we’re Reinventing Work for organizations across multiple sectors, ensuring they successfully transition to the new normal in which collaboration and digital capabilities prevail:
- We worked with a large Australian retailer to transform one of its most profitable supply chains. Key to the success of this change program was a culture transformation program, in which we used design thinking methodology to co-design the team’s future ways of working.
- We implemented a suite of enablers around innovation, collaboration, and customer centricity for an industrial agricultural manufacturer. An MS Teams platform is accelerating innovation with real-time engagement between key SMEs, and enabling people doing the same role to connect on a personal level.
Find out more
Curious about where your organization stands today in these dimensions of collaboration and digital capabilities? Try our free Digital Culture Assessment teaser version here.
Learn more about how Capgemini Invent is Reinventing Work here.
Senior Manager – People & Organisation