It’s Time To Rethink Innovation And Resilience: Three Trends Shaping The Future Of How Teams Work
By RJ Bardsley
This article first appeared here on Forbes Tech Council
The past year-and-a-half has been a roller coaster ride, with climate disasters, supply chain issues and a pandemic stress testing nearly every industry around the globe and forcing many teams to rethink how they collaborate, innovate and deliver. Labor shortages, a lack of basic goods like toilet paper and significant interruptions in the semiconductor industry are just a few major events with ripple effects that are changing the landscape of our lives.
But at the end of the day, it’s often teams of people who ensure that businesses continue to run, and it’s time to rethink how our teams work together in order to build a more resilient and innovative future.
Here are three trends shaping future teams and how they work together.
1. New Tools
As we witness starting in 2020, our teams will continue to be disbursed differently. We won’t all be in the same locations, and many of us will follow our bliss to remote locations around the world. This provides a new level of flexibility to employees — one they’ve come to expect. In fact, according to a recent survey by GetApp, 53% of small-business employees said they would consider looking for a new job if they aren’t offered the flexibility of a hybrid workplace.
With hybrid teams being the way of the future, it’s time to look at the tools those teams use to get things done. Many of the traditional programs knowledge workers used before the pandemic are decades old and were built with a static, office-bound workforce in mind. Here is how we change that:
Create on the go: Word processing, presentation programs and spreadsheets are the basics for knowledge workers. Consider making them more mobile-friendly with a desktop environment for your mobile device. Samsung’s Dex is one of the best solutions, turning a phone into a super productive Windows-like environment on any screen.
Closing the deal from anywhere: Remote teams will not be heading into the office to sign documents and trudge through legal conversations. Those conversations will happen over WebEx or Zoom. DottedSign, from upstart Kdan Mobile (which is a Wireside Communications client), is one of a new generation of cloud-native tools that enable companies to sign and manage business documents from any device.
Task masters are organizing differently: Tools like Asana and Monday.com are reinventing how we manage teams and track projects. Monday.com is particularly interesting for hybrid teams, as it provides a visual way to customize workflow for almost any type of team or project.
2. New Ways To Communicate
While tools are one obvious way that teams are changing, the ways we communicate need to evolve as well. Remote and hybrid teams cannot simply mimic traditional patterns of work; rather, they need to develop asynchronous ways of communicating and working.
Iterate vs. meet: Remote and hybrid teams need to realize that productivity may be happening at different times during the day for different people. Tools and practices that empower workers to iterate, share and collaborate on their own timetables rather than in traditional meetings over Zoom will streamline and improve workflow.
Trust: The most important part of managing a hybrid or remote team is trust. Managers need to look at deliverables and accomplishments, not the time that someone spends behind a monitor. The old ideas of managing by attendance do not apply to today’s workforce.
3. New Expectations And Metrics
How we measure success in hybrid work environments needs to evolve as well. Many of the new types of tools that hybrid teams use come with new thinking around measuring success. Now more than ever, companies are looking for tools that help enhance operational efficiency. Document AI from Kdan Mobile, for instance, allows teams to understand where bottlenecks are in the business process. This new type of insight enables them to adjust programs on the fly to speed up deals. Likewise, tools such as Asana provide dashboards that let you see how projects are progressing and adjust your workflow to accommodate shifts in schedules or other things that come up.
The old rhythms of a daily commute and a life in cube land are changing, and regardless of the future of climate change, pandemics and supply chain issues, many of us will likely be working in hybrid teams. We need to ask ourselves what moves the needle, and we need to be looking at tools, communications practices and how we measure success differently as we move forward.