Melbourne-based Alok Kulkarni, CEO and Co-founder, Cyara, tells us why good communication and collaboration with dispersed, remote teams are key to an organization’s success.
Workplaces around the globe have changed dramatically with the onset of the pandemic.
Organizations have pivoted to remote working while adopting a variety of technologies such as Zoom and Slack to better engage with teams. For some, this hasn’t been a difficult transition, while for others, it remains an on-going struggle.
Nonetheless, remote workforces are here to stay as we navigate the long road out of COVID. According to research from Telstra, businesses with hybrid working have 6% higher income, are 22% more likely to see higher productivity and are 28% more likely to be innovative than those without hybrid working policies. They also have improved customer service and more engaged employees.
As Australia’s talent shortage further exacerbates COVID challenges, dispersed remote workforces (i.e.employees working from various offices or homes around the world) are a viable option for companies that want to secure top-tier talent, regardless of location.
The evolution of such a workforce has shone a spotlight on the importance of building and maintaining company culture – especially as many organizations scrambled to establish remote collaboration and enable Business Continuity.
However, whether companies are only just expanding to remote employment or have already established offices in various regions, unifying teams remains a challenge despite the unprecedented levels of technology and connectivity available today.
Benefits of a dispersed remote workforce
Dispersed workforces offer best-in-class talent, without geographical boundaries. This became a primary benefit for organizations during lockdown when employees worked from home and organizations in large cities realized they no longer needed to pay a premium for office space.
Often, it is not financially feasible for small start-ups to establish themselves in expensive regions such as Sydney, Silicon Valley or London. By setting up operations in areas that offer more for less, growing organizations can afford to employ talented remote workers in in-demand markets.
A dispersed workforce also provides more opportunities to diversify services and offerings. Creating a diverse team that can guide local operations by bringing unique backgrounds, experiences and opinions to the table is key to success on a global scale.
Creating a collaborative team with a dispersed workforce
Trust is critical to the success of remote workforces. To build trust it’s important to have one-on-one or face-to-face interactions, which is more challenging when employees are apart for long periods of time.
A mistake some organizations make when putting together a dispersed workforce is prioritizing global coverage over collaborative coverage. While it’s great to have remote workers or offices in regions around the world, the success of a remote, dispersed team hinges on employees’ ability to work well together.
Establishing some sort of overlap during business hours across time zones allow teams to meet with one another regularly without scheduling meetings at unsociable hours and compromising work-life balance.
How to establish a culture of communication across continents
A great way to build trust and establish relationships between team members across cities, countries and continents is to provide them with ample opportunities to communicate with each other.
Regular meetings between managers and employees are essential and should not solely address work-related topics but also personal and non-work-related subjects which helps establish trust through communication.
It also helps to have regular team and company-wide meetings. These keep the entire workforce up-to-date on the company’s status, current objectives and the progress being made toward achieving goals.
Utilizing cloud-based messaging and video platforms allows organizations to set up non-work activity and interest chat groups for employees to discuss shared passions such as cooking and music, as well as holding virtual social events that can help in the team building process across regions.
Use video conferencing for meetings where possible as eye contact and facial expressions are key to establishing trust between people. Voice-only interactions are not as effective at building relationships as face-to-face communication.
The remote and hybrid workplaces we have come to know during the pandemic are here to stay. And the benefits of dispersed remote workers are too many for businesses to ignore.
However, unless organizations are strategic in how they build and communicate with their dispersed workforces, trust will begin to erode and success will be harder to achieve.
Organizations that establish a strong culture of collaboration and a diverse team of top-tier talent will be best placed to succeed in the hybrid work style of the future.Click below to share this article