In the last couple of years, the world has undergone a seismic shift in the way we work. The traditional office-based model has been upended, replaced by a hybrid and remote work environment. This transition, while necessary, has not been without its challenges. One of the most significant hurdles we face is adapting our leadership and collaboration methods to this new digital landscape.
As an expert in hybrid work with over 22 years of experience, I’ve helped 24 organizations navigate this transition. One of the most crucial pieces of advice I give my clients is this: you cannot shoehorn office-based collaboration methods into hybrid and remote work. You need to figure out something that works specifically for this new environment.
The SWOOP Analytics Experience
To delve deeper into this topic, I recently interviewed Cai Kjaer, co-founder of SWOOP Analytics. SWOOP Analytics has been entirely remote since its inception seven years ago, making it a valuable case study in successful remote work.
When SWOOP was in its early stages, the founders faced the typical expectation of establishing a physical office. However, they quickly realized that the cost, commute, and overall inconvenience were unnecessary burdens. Inspired by the success of remote companies like WordPress, they decided to operate from home. This decision has proven to be economical, flexible, and ultimately, highly effective.
The Power of Asynchronous Collaboration
One of the key takeaways from my conversation with Kjaer was the power of asynchronous collaboration. In a traditional office setting, collaboration is often synchronous, with everyone working together at the same time. However, in a remote setting, this isn’t always possible or even desirable.
At SWOOP, they’ve found that task-oriented work, like software development, lends itself well to remote working. Developers often prefer a quiet environment, free from the distractions of an open office. Furthermore, they’ve discovered that brainstorming sessions and planning meetings are more effective when conducted online. Electronic sticky notes and discussion groups allow for ideas to be shared, discussed, and revisited at any time, fostering a culture of continuous innovation.
The Importance of Socialization in Remote Work
While work can be done effectively remotely, socialization is a different story. SWOOP has found that face-to-face get-togethers, even if only a few times a year, are crucial for team bonding. However, these gatherings are strictly for social reasons, not for work.
That’s not to say that socialization can’t occur in a remote setting. Activities like virtual escape rooms or video gaming can provide fun, engaging ways for teams to connect. These activities, designed specifically for a virtual setting, can help bridge the gap between distributed teams, whether they’re in San Francisco, Singapore, or Nigeria.
The Role of SWOOP Analytics in Hybrid and Remote Work
SWOOP Analytics plays a crucial role in helping organizations navigate the challenges of hybrid and remote work. Their mission is to help companies become better communicators and collaborators. They achieve this by providing insights into communication flows within an organization, helping senior leaders engage with their frontline staff, and facilitating social listening at scale.
In a hybrid or remote setting, these insights are invaluable. They allow leaders to inspire and connect with their teams, regardless of geographical location. They also help organizations understand and adapt to the unique challenges of remote work, such as the need for effective written communication.
The Future of Hybrid and Remote Work
As we continue to navigate the world of hybrid and remote work, it’s clear that we need to rethink our traditional office-based methods. We need to embrace the power of asynchronous collaboration, prioritize socialization, and leverage tools like SWOOP Analytics to help us communicate.
In light of the evolving nature of work, which is increasingly becoming hybrid and remote, it is important to ensure that we are equipped to collaborate effectively. How can individuals and organizations prepare themselves to work productively in this new environment? What strategies and tools can be employed to promote successful collaboration and communication among team members who may be working from different locations or on different schedules?
The answer lies in embracing the power of asynchronous collaboration, prioritizing socialization, and leveraging tools like SWOOP Analytics to help us communicate and collaborate effectively. The future of work is here, and it’s hybrid and remote. Let’s make sure we’re ready for it.
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Image credit: Andrea Piacquadio/Pexels
Originally published in Disaster Avoidance Experts on May 22, 2023
Dr. Gleb Tsipursky was lauded as “Office Whisperer” and “Hybrid Expert” by The New York Times for helping leaders use hybrid work to improve retention and productivity while cutting costs. He serves as the CEO of the boutique future-of-work consultancy Disaster Avoidance Experts. Dr. Gleb wrote the first book on returning to the office and leading hybrid teams after the pandemic, his best-seller Returning to the Office and Leading Hybrid and Remote Teams: A Manual on Benchmarking to Best Practices for Competitive Advantage (Intentional Insights, 2021). He authored seven books in total, and is best know for his global bestseller, Never Go With Your Gut: How Pioneering Leaders Make the Best Decisions and Avoid Business Disasters (Career Press, 2019). His cutting-edge thought leadership was featured in over 650 articles and 550 interviews in Harvard Business Review, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, USA Today, CBS News, Fox News, Time, Business Insider, Fortune, and elsewhere. His writing was translated into Chinese, Korean, German, Russian, Polish, Spanish, French, and other languages. His expertise comes from over 20 years of consulting, coaching, and speaking and training for Fortune 500 companies from Aflac to Xerox. It also comes from over 15 years in academia as a behavioral scientist, with 8 years as a lecturer at UNC-Chapel Hill and 7 years as a professor at Ohio State. A proud Ukrainian American, Dr. Gleb lives in Columbus, Ohio. In his free time, he makes sure to spend abundant quality time with his wife to avoid his personal life turning into a disaster. Contact him at Gleb[at]DisasterAvoidanceExperts[dot]com, follow him on LinkedIn @dr-gleb-tsipursky, Twitter @gleb_tsipursky, Instagram @dr_gleb_tsipursky, Facebook @DrGlebTsipursky, Medium @dr_gleb_tsipursky, YouTube, and RSS, and get a free copy of the Assessment on Dangerous Judgment Errors in the Workplace by signing up for the free Wise Decision Maker Course at https://disasteravoidanceexperts.com/newsletter/.