When it comes to remote collaboration, a lack of interruption is one o the strongest variables leading to increased productivity, but it also creates a major problem for those trying to reach teammates. No matter how great the tech or collaboration tools, mobile workers have to balance concentrating on the task at hand and communicating to receive the benefits of working away from their desks.
While best productivity practices require the buy-in of an individual, best communication practices require the implementation of company-wide procedures to ensure team communication works well and mobile workers get the time to think through complicated projects. For the two seemingly opposite needs, here are some simple processes a business can utilize to overcome these obstacles.
1. Define the type of messages that works best for the individual.
Everyone has their own way of working, and being able to take individual preferences into account can go far when mobile workers are involved. For example, some individuals may prefer to receive a phone call rather than an email. Or maybe they might prefer to wait to check their email rather than being interrupted while they’re “in the zone”. Either way, making those preferences known to those that are most likely trying to get a hold of them in the first place can help avoid potential situations that break concentration.
2. Set a time for messages.
If most of an individual’s time is spent on communication, it may be worth relegating certain communication times per week or per day when other employees can talk or collaborate with that individual. For those who feel that most of their day is dealing with interruptions, it’s a good way of setting boundaries for communication so individuals don’t feel inundated with one-off questions during the rest of the week.[tweetthis hashtag=”mobility”]Connecting mobile workers. #UComs [/tweetthis]
3. Set company-wide times for brainstorming.
One of Google’s best-known policies is known as their Google Friday, which allows workers to spend 20% of company time pursuing company projects that personally interest. In the same way, companies can set times for company-wide collaboration sessions. While 20% may seem excessive, companies can at least dedicate a portion of a week to a time when a team (or the entire company) can all set down particular projects, meet face-to-face and discuss some potential troubles they may be running into.
By setting such a time, individuals are encouraged to be collaborative and get new viewpoints to age-old problems without having to interrupt individuals during working hours set aside for other projects. This type of session can also allow mobile workers to actually meet face-to-face and hash out complex ideas that aren’t suited for collaborative technology.
One of the most important aspects of effective mobile working and connecting individuals is setting boundaries and processes for mobile communication. One of the primary strengths of mobile working – productivity – can be curbed if procedures for communication aren’t set. However, businesses can take an active part in defining those procedures and ensuring that the mobile workforce they’ve equipped with the right technology will also be able to flourish with the right processes set in place.
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