Business Advice

25 Feb 2021

How to sustain remote working with teamwork and without corporate ‘silos’


The Coronavirus pandemic pushed more than half of the world’s workforce to abruptly shift to working from home. Despite the vaccine, the future still looks uncertain and working from home is likely to stay. Here are some tips to keep your team perform their best despite the odds.

Remote working is here to stay whether we like it or not given the extraordinary health and economic crisis we’re facing on a global scale. Millions of jobs were instantly lost and those who have kept theirs must quickly learn to adjust to the new normal or join the growing number of jobseekers facing market uncertainties.

It has its disadvantages and advantages depending on the nature of your business. For instance, retail shops, supermarkets, stores, restaurants, to name a few, must have people around to take care of customers at all times. 

For some companies, meeting face to face customers is not necessary as most transactions can be done remotely or online. For them, remote working meant less expenses related to power and water bills, rent, pantry and office supplies, among other things. But then there are concerns about staff productivity with no one watching around.

For the employees, however, remote working meant freedom from traffic, rush hour, the daily grind of commuting, the comfort of working at home and being with their families, especially those with children. It also meant saving expenses for transportation and takeaways for breakfast, lunch or snacks.

But then it also meant not being able to communicate face-to-face with colleagues or their superiors and having easy access to technical support, office supplies, etc.

Despite these scenarios, however, experts are convinced remote working yields to more productivity and high morale. Those are the key findings of a study in the US where 90% of employees said more flexible work arrangements inspire them to work more and boosts their morale.


Power up your team with the right digital tools

Sounds crazy but this is the new office reality now and technology is here to make teamwork happen remotely.

The key question most companies ask is how do you make this possible?

First, choose a reliable telecom provider. Since everything is done remotely—office interaction, communications, meetings, reports, inventory, among other things—having an interrupted connection is a must.

Second, empower your employees with the tools they need to work effectively at home. Create those in-office vibes and interactions with a digital workspace like Trello which allows you to create a typical office routine on your board. And yes, even morning coffee sessions of the team. 

Third, kick-off meetings, desk-side check-ins and launch war rooms via popular video conferencing call tools like Zoom, Google Hangouts, Google Meet-Up, Skype Meet Now, Go To Meeting, Blue Jeans, etc.

The success of these tools again lies on having a reliable internet provider. So, make sure you select the best to avoid unnecessary interruptions and miscommunication.


Build character within the team

The success of any team in any organisation lies on a great leader. Push your team to perform better by becoming their cheer leader.

Being a leader does not mean imposing authority on your teammates in an authoritarian way. It means building trust with each other and sharing the load as a group.

Exactly how do you this? Demand responsibility and commitment from each one of your team members. Everyone must be aware of your collective goals and the role they must play to accomplish these.

Flawless communication is key. Encourage your team to be open to ideas, suggestions and criticisms and to collectively resolve issues. Teamwork, after all, is not about individual achievements but rather what the group accomplishes together.


Break the ‘silos’

Strictly speaking, “organisational silos” means the separation of different types of employees according to their functions. In doing so, they are expected to work faster and more efficiently like a well-oiled machine.

But the structure has long been attacked by the so-called “silo mentality” whereby information or resources are deliberately kept with different departments or teams refusing to share them or interact with one another.

Gerhard Hartman, Vice President: Medium Business, Sage Africa & Middle East, said as the world adapts to a new hybrid way—some working from home or from other offices around the world, organisational silos remain a challenge.

He said breaking down boundaries within an organization is challenging as there is no one-size-fits-all solution to the problem. These challenges are not about technology – although, an integrated corporate application suite might form part of the solution. 

To break organizational silos, Hartman suggested the three Cs—collaborate effectively; create cross-functional teams and cultivate common goals. 

Once these are achieved, the silos are broken and ideally everyone works in sync, creating a shared vision that will push the company to greater heights.