CREDIT: Pixabay

By guest contributor, Shaira Jimenez

As our regular days have come to a screeching halt given the pandemic, companies have had to redefine how they operate and do business. No business has been exempt from the need to think of new solutions, and even nonprofits and smaller businesses have had to follow suit. Remote work is now in full swing, and we’ve touched on some of the tools important to ensure effective communication. From Microsoft Teams to Zoom, Google Hangouts Chat and Google Hangouts Meet, these have all made the transition smoother. Now, people have started to surmise that this work strategy may become a more permanent one.

The future of work

With the tide of workplace culture making a dramatic shift, companies need to adapt or risk falling behind. One of the defining aspects of our times is the digital landscape in which strategies, platforms, practices, and tools are churned out and turned over at high-speed. While it is possible to train your current staff, you will also need to think about the kinds of people to recruit who are already adept in modern practices when it comes to communication and collaboration online. Almost 50% of millennials are actually freelancers, and this figure may increase as Gen Z makes its way into the workforce. Students today learn in a more hands-on manner as new trends emerge in order to constantly evolve together with the field. For this reason, today’s online master’s graduates in strategic communication and leadership are equipped with the skills and capabilities to become future leaders and help shape industries as a whole. These individuals can fill in new or emerging roles or to carve out new niches in the field, and to meet the diverse demands of the modern workforce

A new generation of leaders

The next generation of leaders and workers may be at the helm of this new culture, and therefore see the escalating value of collaborative tools. With whatever tools, software, and systems you choose to acquire, it’s necessary that everyone is on board and well-versed in navigating them. While these exist to make lives easier, teams must ensure that they have a firmly planted strategy to make them more effective. In remote teams, it is all about finding the middle ground between individuality and togetherness. Face-to-face communication should still be a top priority, and so it’s crucial that you set weekly check-ins — at the very least — to share updates, air out grievances, and welcome new suggestions. With the absence of body language and non-verbal cues in remote work, video chats make work more intimate and also dispel any form of miscommunication that may occur. When the time comes for a company to recruit more workers, these individuals may have already been accustomed to video chat practices and therefore interviews can even be carried out on these platforms as well.

A welcomed breather

You may also have other real-time chat platforms like Slack or Microsoft Teams, so it is helpful to have a dedicated channel where you can post shoutouts, words of encouragement, milestones, and even good news. When people feel recognized for their efforts, they get a boost in morale, and they are reminded of their value to the team. While achieving deliverables and meeting goals during the work day are important, you can also use these collaboration tools to help everyone unwind and personally connect. You could host game and trivia nights, turn some video check-ins into a book club of sorts, and basically just let some fun seep in to help foster good rapport and give everyone a breather from time to time.

The importance of collaboration tools for remote work does not only lie in their ability to uphold continuity, but also in their ability to make communication a clear two-way street.

(Post solely for the use of By Shaira Jimenez.)