In these uncertain times, it is essential that you make your business strategies airtight. Combine that with the fact that in business, it has become more commonplace to have remote or partially remote teams, operating from around the nation or even around the globe; and it is apparent that achieving cross-departmental synergy is of the utmost importance.
Since the combined power of a group is far greater than the power of individuals working separately, we have put together this guide to help you achieve maximum cooperation and collaboration within your diasporic team.
In this data-driven world in which we currently live and work, your remote employees are going to need to be able to share data securely and rapidly across the internet. DigiPlex, the data management experts, advises businesses to opt for ‘stable, low-latency and scalable access’ so that you can ‘adapt to changing business requirements’ efficiently in your remote business. This will make it easier for your departments to access the data whenever and wherever they need to, improving the ability to work synergistically with each other.
TEAM MANAGEMENT APPS
As a remote team, your employees are going to need a way of communicating and collaborating across the nation or across time-zones. Rather than investing time or money to develop your own internal communications system, there are many pre-existing team management apps, some of which are even available for free, which offer simple and streamlined solutions for remote teams.
Avocor’s business blog endorses such team apps for how they ‘help remote teams stay on top of work and keep open team communication’. By promoting a culture of communication and collaboration within your remote-working team, you will see an inevitable increase in productivity and efficiency across departments, as team-members will be up-to-speed with what each of them is doing.
Frequent online inter-departmental team meetings are just as important as intra-departmental meetings. While a department might want to meet once a day to discuss work division and progress, there should be a cross-department meeting at least once a week where, ideally, everyone meets (virtually) face-to-face.
If teams are working in different time zones, you might want to try a rolling system of inter-departmental meetings, so that everyone gets to meet with everyone at least once a month. These meetings should highlight the key things that each department and department member is working on, and be a chance for people to connect and ask questions or offer comments. ‘This will help deepen interdepartmental relationships and increase collaboration’ (Status).
Encouraging the sharing of skills and experience within the team will help you to strengthen your team and can even help to future-proof your business. Establish a culture in your company where people are invited to learn from each other and to up-skill from outside their department too. This can help employees to learn more about processes in other departments, increasing understanding of the whole processes, and strengthening relationships between departments that might otherwise misunderstand or underappreciate each other.
It can also help you to make your workforce more flexible in times of uncertainty: for example, you might find that someone is able to cover for a role in a different department if there was a prolonged absence.
CREATE POSITIVE CONNECTIONS
It is important for any team that they experience enjoying each other’s company. Thus, it is important that employers provide opportunities for employees to have positive experiences together; to socialize with each other, and to discuss things other than work. While this is, obviously, more challenging with remote teams; there are still things you can do. Organizing a monthly online social hour with drinks or planning a remote group training with space for discussions are reasonably straightforward and low-cost options.
Indeed, group training can have additional benefits for you too. Take something like Mindfulness training, which is already a rapidly expanding industry working with businesses worldwide. Mindfulness has proven to be highly effective for supporting positive connections within teams. Indeed, the experts at Mindfulness in Business explain that it is “vital to value the emotional state of your team” if you wish “to improve team collaboration and achieve a positive environment”.
LEAD BY EXAMPLE
One of the most important things to appreciate when trying to achieve synergy across your remote-working departments is that you need to lead by example. If you are engaged and up-to-date with what is happening across every team, and you are encouraging interdepartmental collaboration through any of the strategies outlined above, then the rest will follow.