The rise of remote work changing the way co-workers communicate and collaborate
The workplace has evolved immensely over the past couple decades in the wake of technological advancements and changing attitudes toward what is considered a “normal” workday.
As technologies emerged like email, followed by team messaging tools and video conferencing capabilities, professionals gained greater abilities to communicate with others quickly and seamlessly without ever being in the same room.
At the same time, the rise of remote work has changed the way co-workers collaborate. As increasing numbers of professionals work remotely rather than commute into a shared office space, colleagues have to learn how to utilize technologies to keep connected. Let’s take a look at how video, project management, and team collaboration tools can change the structure of your workday.
Bringing the workplace to employees, wherever they are
About one-fifth of remote workers say collaboration and communication are the biggest struggles that result from their remote work arrangements, according to The 2020 State of Remote Work report from Buffer. Software that brings the workplace to employees, no matter where they’re located, can help people communicate about their projects.*
As more people join the remote workforce, from all corners of the globe, the “workday” has evolved from the set of hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Instead, people in various time zones and on differing preferred work schedules log in on their own time, complete their work and utilize asynchronous communication to collaborate.
Email continues to be the primary means of sharing information between colleagues; 95% of workers say this is their main mode of internal communications, according to a survey by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and theEMPLOYEEapp by APPrise Mobile.**
Email is a top choice for teams with dispersed team members, as the receipt of an email does not require an immediate response. Communication can take place over the course of hours or days to relay information needed for a project.
Meanwhile, other methods of communication have risen in popularity. Workplace messaging programs allow people to quickly send messages, which can either be responded to promptly or whenever is most convenient for the recipient.
Collaboration software that allows people to review documents and files, then make comments for their colleagues to see later on, also enable everyone to share their knowledge and thoughts on a specific item. Other team members can then respond and contribute their piece on their own time, too. Even better, it’s all stored in one place.
Additionally, video conferencing calls are important. While having everyone on a video call at the same time is the best case scenario, people who have overlapping meetings or time zone constraints can listen to recording functionalities allow those who missed to listen to recordings of the call.
But at the heart of the workplace, some things haven’t changed too much
It’s undeniable that the workplace has changed quite a lot thanks to evolving technology and changing trends in how people communicate at work. But, in many ways, the workplace has remained the same – and advanced technology allows people to maintain certain normalcies, even though the definitions of “workplace” and “work day” have changed. Three specific ways the workplace has not changed despite the many advancements include:
- The need for real-time communication.
- The value of workplace friendships.
- The risk of burnout.
For example, though varied work schedules are becoming more normalized, there is still great value in real-time, face-to-face communication. Live video conferencing allows people to connect and communicate in a similar way as they would in-person in the same room. Read How video improves communication during any conference call
Even when recorded meetings can suffice in most cases, there’s still immense value to meeting in real-time to answer questions and bring up challenges pertaining to a work task.
Workplace camaraderie matters
Another aspect of the workplace that has not changed is the importance of camaraderie among team members.
Humans are social beings, and when team members view one another as friends as well as colleagues, it benefits the whole company; data from Gallup’s State of the American Workplace report shows this.*** Organizations that have a high number of workers who agree with the statement “I have a best friend at work” have fewer safety incidents, higher profit overall, and more engaged customers.
Workers who work remotely say loneliness is one of their biggest challenges, according to The 2020 State of Remote Work report from Buffer. Video can help out with this, as team leaders can create virtual happy hours, conversations over coffee, or other events that bring remote workers together socially.
Finally, the risk of burnout is still a concern to workers, even when they’re logging in from their home, favorite café, or somewhere else. Because employees can access their work emails, check and send messages to colleagues and conduct other activities anytime, it becomes even more difficult to unplug and relax.
In fact, according to Buffer’s report, 18% of respondents said not being able to unplug from work is among their biggest challenges in the remote work lifestyle. Taking breaks is critical for staying mentally healthy, productive and engaged when it is time to get work done. Employees who work non-traditional schedules should keep in mind that they must also take breaks from their workloads.
Remote work schedules can be a big perk for employees. However, it’s essential to understand how to create team unity, even when schedules don’t always align. Find time to communicate around the clock.
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*The 2020 state of remote work
**Trends in Communications Industry Show Companies Slow to Adopt New Technologies
***State of the American Workplace Report