Teams are doubling their productivity with collaboration hubs

Although asynchronous communication might serve a company’s requirements during regular work, teams sometimes need to get into sync with in-person collaboration to chase tight deadlines.
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Pandemic, climate changes, and endless social conflicts are the challenges of today’s work environment. But whatever may be the situation, managers want to peak the productivity of the team. Well, at least most of the time, and certainly when we want them to deliver.

Every business goes through stages where you must crunch out more work than humanly possible. It could be a big milestone, a product launch, an acquisition, a merger, or an important proposal that we need to win.

Does just having the best of brains in the team get you to this peak performance? Technically, it should, but it does not. Just by having hand-picked talent in the team does not make them the A-team.

Bollywood superhits like Chak De! India and Lagaan drive home this point. In Chak De! India, the team put together was the best from each of the states of India, but they could not come together that easily.

At the same time in Lagaan we saw a highly untrained team coming together so strongly that they could beat a much more experienced and talented team at their own game.

Team Dynamics - Elementary, my dear Watson!

How is this possible? Are these just stories or can you make this happen for your team? Of course, you can. You just need to understand the basics of Group Development Theory. It is not that heavy-weight a topic as the name sounds to be. There are multiple versions of theory proposed by many, but the one that we will pick up is that of Bruce Tuckman. He summed team development into four stages

  1. Forming
  2. Storming
  3. Norming, and
  4. Performing

As it turns out, people approach tasks in distinct ways depending on the quality of relationships with their co-workers. Mind you that this may not be a linear process.

Every management’s intention and actions should be geared towards moving their team through the first 3 stages quickly and shift gear into the fourth and then you have magic! A crisis or a daunting milestone sometimes interestingly acts as a lubricant to accelerate the teams through these phases.

So when you are working remotely how do you pull off something on a tight deadline. This is where collaboration hubs come into picture.

Pulling it off in style

You can think of collaboration hubs as temporary offices that you get for your team. As the name goes this is usually for a limited period of time and has a specific purpose to achieve. Some companies might also choose collaboration hubs as the solution to have periodic leadership meetings to take important decisions.

Fundamentally when you want your team to be on the same page and you want communication and interactions to happen quickly you would choose Collaboration Hubs.

Asana, a popular project management SaaS company that decided that whenever it needed to have leadership meetings it would be in-person at their office or in any convenient collaboration hub. They saw that when some people were in-person and some remote the communication was challenging.

Companies across the world from Ford Motors in the US to Unilever in Singapore are reconfiguring their offices to facilitate more in-person collaboration. These companies have the real estate under their wings to do this.

What do you do when you are a startup or a remote-first company that does not have an office that can be reconfigured for such sync collaborations?

This is where you turn to coworking and coliving innovations in the commercial real estate space. You can get your team a conference room for a few days to a few weeks at a stretch where the entire team can discuss, debate, collaborate and deliver.

With a whiteboard and a projector available brainstorming, sharing opinions and views and discussing them becomes easy. No online collaboration tool has been able to replace the simple whiteboard.

What do you do when your team does not live in one city? This is quite probable as many of them might have relocated to their hometowns. This is where coliving can come in handy. You can book temporary spaces for your team to stay and work together in the same room.

Staying, dining, relaxing, and working together not only accelerates collaboration but also helps develop a deep bonding amongst the team members. Even if you are assembling a new team and set them on an arduous journey this kind of collaborative environment can do the magic.

It would take them through the 3 stages of Group Development of Forming, Storming and Norming quickly and switch them into the Performing stage within a couple of days.

Future of collaborations for workforce

While async communication and collaboration are great for peace times, you need to switch to a synchronous mode when you are at war (i.e.) when you have a crisis at hand. You cannot be waiting for everyone to get on the same page. Your team needs to operate like the pistons of a gasoline engine in tandem and like they are dancing.

In time sensitive scenarios in the race to cross a milestone, it is perfectly normal to innovate and find opportunities to collaborate. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have your A team work together for one month under one roof? You would have a better chance of achieving the objectives. Why get together only for a team break or fun offsite?

The combination of coliving and coworking could be very potent and can serve diverse needs of collaboration.

Readdressing collaboration needs

The pandemic-induced remote work culture led to the successful adoption of coworking spaces. Despite several office real estate and office space challenges, the shared offices and office spaces on rent by the day, by the hour, have been addressing the work culture problems.

Office spaces on micro and short-term rentals have shifted the way we work and collaborate with our team members in person. Meeting and coworking spaces are being reconceived as collaboration hubs.

Collaboration hubs or the war rooms have terrific value add to the team productivity. Solid teamwork multiplies on-ground team results and contributions. It is easier to share intelligence, discover issues, relate the concepts, converse, and address concerns immediately, with no intrusion.

Edited by Affirunisa Kankudti

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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