HR Tip of The Week: Tips for Balancing Concentration and Collaboration for Remote Workers
How can organizations help remote employees stay focused and collaborate with team members via apps? Here are some suggestions:
1. Audit your apps. Complete an analysis of the platforms, apps and systems your organization is currently using, said Kerry Wekelo, chief operating officer at financial services firm Actualize Consulting. Make note of the uses for each one to see if there is overlap or unnecessary features that could be eliminated.
2. Cull the (app) herd. Know the difference between support and micromanagement. Overwhelming your team with apps and tools is not a good way to support them, said Jessica Lim, HR manager at MyPerfectResume. In fact, it has the opposite effect. Have an open discussion about the number of tools you have in place, ask your team which tools are the most helpful, and remove those that don’t bring any real value.
3. Turn off the apps (for designated times). Work blocks are one of the most effective strategies for finding the right balance between employee concentration and collaboration, as is leadership communicating the need to be respectful of “do not disturb” time. By blocking off your calendar, you are creating time for uninterrupted work (shutting off the apps), or providing available times for colleagues to schedule meetings with you or for you to be active on whatever collaboration apps you use, said Amy Mosher, chief people officer at human capital management software provider isolved.
4. Consolidate apps/tools. If possible, seek one app that gives everyone access to the same information, eliminates silos so employees can reach and connect with anyone else in the company, creates a channel for collaboration, and integrates all other workplace systems into one hub so employees use a single sign-on for all work communication, Willoughby-Petit said.
5. Leverage asynchronous video communication. Sending asynchronous communication (like e-mail or text) enables the recipients to access it whenever they choose, said Sean Gorman, chief operating officer at video management system Panopto. Recorded meetings and on-demand video are effective options when real-time communication isn’t necessary or possible and written correspondence isn’t enough to communicate messages clearly and efficiently. Although employees may still need real-time solutions for remote communication, asynchronous solutions allow employees to plan their workday and focus more deeply on work.
6. Close the trust gap. If a manager is pinging an employee and then not hearing back, the manager might assume the employee is slacking off, said Karen Mangia, author of Working from Home: Making the New Normal Work for You (Wiley, 2020). Consider using a collaboration platform where an employee can alert team members and his manager that he is going to take 90 minutes to immerse himself in a task.