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Conscious Collaboration

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Intent to Connect

How we work has changed. With more organizations and leaders embracing flexible work models, as illustrated in the latest Flex Index Report, how we connect with our teammates has similarly changed. One thing that hasn’t, however, is the importance of team dynamics and the navigation thereof.

Though advancements in collaborative technologies are crucial to bridging the physical gap between teammates, we must approach modern teamwork from a people-centric perspective, as discussed in the video below with Frank Weishaupt of Owl Labs. Platforms that offer online whiteboards or messaging services solve only one part of the collaboration equation—and can be rendered insignificant without effective training or intention.

While there are merits to hybrid and remote flexibility, there are also aspects of physical interaction that are worth replicating, such as unexpected learning or bonding experiences. Though these spontaneous interactions may seem difficult to recreate with distributed teammates, doing so is not impossible, as Lisette Sutherland of Collaboration Superpowers delineates in this podcast.

First and foremost, we must consciously pay attention to one another. Tools like the SurePeople Relationship Advisor can help highlight individual motivations and needs, giving us a better understanding not just of who our teammates are, but how to relate to them. Some may be motivated by sharing ideas, thriving with regular brainstorming discussions, while others may need basic directions and a sense of autonomy. Understanding such nuances increases not just productivity, but connectivity.

We can also create opportunities for social bonding through informal messaging channels, asynchronous activities, or even casual team meetups, allowing for interactions unrelated to work. What tools we use to connect also depends on our specific intention, as conveyed by Harvard professor Tsedal Neeley in this episode of TED’s The Way We Work.

As with traditional in-office teams, to forge belonging and connection, we must uphold a conscious practice of equality. We cannot allow out of sight to mean out of mind. Remote collaborators are as much an asset to our teams and organizations as the people physically around us. As goes the sentiment that anything worth doing takes effort, we can indeed build bridges and worthwhile connections with modern teams—all it takes as a healthy dose of intention.

“Remote work is this incredible invitation to really get good at building inclusive cultures.”
– Shane Metcalfe

Do you have an idea you want to share with an empowered community of self-aware professionals? If you’d like to contribute an idea or article to ‘In The Flow of Work’ on the Evolve blog, just send us a message or submit a post to our Head of Content, Adam Schneider

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