Pre covid, teamwork dominated office culture. Open space offices, co-working, no door policies. Companies have long been pushing to bring people together and remove any barriers to collaboration. Yet we’re now seeing that people don’t need to be in one room to work together. It’s why so many SMEs are making the move to remote or hybrid work permanent.
What limits remote teamwork?
While it’s becoming clear teams can work together remotely, the same barriers that existed in the office have been carried over to the virtual space. These are:
Spend 10 minutes watching any team sport and the importance of team goals is immediately clear. Sports teams usually have one goal, to win. Everyone knows what they are working towards and why. It provides motivation and a clear path, win one match, the next, and finally the tournament. In business, it’s the same. While the ultimate goal might be ‘make a profit’, it’s not SMART. Yes, it’s logical but not Specific Measurable Attainable Realistic, and Timely. It’s not something employees can complete once, celebrate, and move on from.
Remote teams need to have measurable short-term goals that make working together worthwhile. Ultimately the goal should contribute to making a profit, but money is a weak motivator for most employees.
Likewise, the role of each team member is important. Imagine again a sports team, everyone has their strength and the position they play. If no one knows where to play, the opponents will have a winning advantage. In remote or hybrid teams it’s even more essential that everyone knows their role. When everyone is distributed and without proper coordination either nothing gets done, or one person ends up doing it all.
No Teamwork Culture
One of the main barriers to teamwork is a company culture that doesn’t support group efforts. In many organizations reward systems are based on individual efforts like commission and promotions. Recognizing team endeavors and how employees‘ efforts contribute to group results should be an integral part of company culture. Collaboration tools can help by giving a dedicated space to recognize employees, tools like an intranet go even further.
Not having the right tools
In the move to remote working, many SMEs didn’t have the right equipment and resorted to traditional tools like email. The problem is that they are not very collaborative. To create a teamwork culture businesses need to provide employees with space where both internal communication and teamwork collaboration can happen.
Why is it important to maintain a teamwork culture?
Employees who are highly engaged in the workplace bring invaluable benefits. From higher productivity to improved sales and increased profits, it’s something to strive for. Yet, most employees are not engaged, or worse, they’re actively disengaged. These employees take more sick days on average and have overall worse performance than their counterparts.
Teamwork has a positive impact on engagement. Employees who are part of a team are 2.3 times more likely to consider themselves highly engaged. With highly engaged employees corresponding to four times greater profits, any actions to improve engagement are worth investing in.
Working as part of a team has benefits that stretch beyond profits. Teamwork brings people together to share, interact, bounce ideas, solve problems, and help each other. It can help remove the sense of isolation impacting remote workers. Even employees who come into the office every day can feel lonely working on tasks alone. Teamwork gives people a sense of belonging, one of the fundamental needs identified by Maslow. By satisfying an essential need to belong teamwork helps them reach their full potential.
A teamwork culture correlates with increased productivity. One extensive study from HBR analyzed data from over 4,000 employees and 664 managers. The findings confirmed that a culture of teamwork leads to increased productivity.
What teamwork solutions are businesses using?
In 2020, thousands of organizations adopted remote collaboration tools for the first time. With the choice between Zoom, Slack, Microsoft Teams, and others, companies went for a variety of platforms.
Since then, Microsoft Teams has positioned itself as a leader in the field. With over 115 million daily active users, it’s becoming one of the most popular collaboration solutions.
It has become popular mainly because so many organizations already used Microsoft 365. Teams allows companies to make the most of their Microsoft investment and it integrates seamlessly with other applications like Outlook. While some platforms only allow video calls or chat, Microsoft Teams incorporates both along with file storage, and the ability to work together in real-time on documents.
Providing the right collaboration tools for SMEs
Microsoft Teams sets the stage for teamwork to take place, but there are ways to make collaboration easier in Teams. Together is a complete communication and collaboration space for SMEs, directly accessible from Teams, your browser, or mobile app. It helps improve collaboration in Teams in 5 ways:
- Together creates a shared virtual space to bring a teamwork culture to life in SMEs
- Together brings your intranet directly into Microsoft Teams, meaning you have the right tools to communicate top, down, and across your SME
- It creates dedicated channels for department activities, pre-loaded with the tabs and documents they need
- Together offers engaging features like the Virtual Coffee Machine and Water Fountain Cooler to create the social connections essential to a teamwork culture
- Teamwork is encouraged and rewarded through the Ideation Hub and Social Sharing tool