When the Covid-19 pandemic forced business owners worldwide to replace traditional with home offices, they all adapted quickly to these unexpected circumstances. This abrupt change allowed them to test the efficiency of the virtual work environment.

And even though fully distributed employees enjoyed the unprecedented level of work flexibility and autonomy, the remote work model brought numerous issues leading to the steep decline of cross-team collaboration over the past two years, as shown in recent research.

This isn’t surprising because employees used who used to brainstorm ideas with their colleagues on a coffee break or pop in the manager’s office for an opinion may have had hard times coping with lack of in-person interaction and asynchronous communication.

This is one of the reasons why 40% of managers say that they lack the confidence to run remote teams successfully, while 20% of employees claim that collaboration with colleagues from other teams is the hardest part of remote work.

If you fall into the group of managers who struggle with cross-team collaboration, keep reading. Here, you’ll find some tips that may help you boost collaboration between your designer and development teams working remotely.

But let’s see first how remote work affects team collaboration in numbers.

What Do the Numbers Say?

Gensler, a design and architecture company that advises businesses, focused on workplace needs and behaviors, has compared statistics on team collaboration before and after the Covid-19 breakout to show the influence remote work has on it. 

The results are startling. They show that American workers on average spent 42% of their work hours collaborating with others before the pandemic, while this number dropped to 27% when they started working from home.

This means that work from home employees spent 37% of their time working with others than before the pandemic.

These numbers clearly show how workflows and business practices have been disturbed by changed circumstances. Highly productive employees, traditionally, tend to split their work hours between working with others (45%) and deep-focusing on demanding individual tasks (45%) with 10% of their time left for socializing and upgrading their professional skills. 

This almost equal distribution of time spent on collaboration and individual work is needed if you want to run an effective business in today’s dynamic market. 

The situation changed drastically when businesses started running their operations remotely, where employees started focusing more on individual work (62% of the time) while dedicating only 27% of it to teamwork, This discrepancy may have negative effects on creativity and innovation as well as on employees engagement, productivity, and professional growth.

If you want your employees to stay highly engaged in working with others on delivering quality outcomes within set deadlines, try following these steps and take your cross-team collaboration to the next level.

Steps Toward Boosted Team Collaboration 

  • Create a clear and feasible Communication Policy, defining which channels will be used for important work-related information, and where employees can exchange non-work-related messages, creating a much-needed water-cooler atmosphere. 
  • Set short-term goals, aligning them with long-term milestones. If you want your teams to be engaged and work together, introduce them to the big picture, defining significant monthly or quarterly goals. Then, break these goals into smaller weekly tasks, allowing your employees to distribute their workload and prioritize, determining the time for meaningful collaboration with others.
  • Invest in computer tracking software to gain a clear picture o the time spent on ongoing tasks and projects. Then use this data to make more accurate predictions about similar projects in the future and set realistic time frames.
  • If you want to ease the communication between teams that usually don’t work together in a highly structured digital workplace, you need to host meetings where your designer and development teams can exchange ideas and fresh perspectives on specific issues.
  • Collaboration can be hard when employees don’t know each other. So, create space for virtual team building, like virtual happy hours or company celebrations where different teams will have the opportunity to interact socially and have fun sharing special moments and experiences.

About the Author

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Mirko Humbert

Mirko Humbert is the editor-in-chief and main author of Designer Daily and Typography Daily. He is also a graphic designer and the founder of WP Expert.