The COVID 19 pandemic induced WFH model has completely turned the apple cart upside down for most organizations. HR has tried their best to smoothen most of the roadblocks which a remote workforce could encounter. However, a constant concern that employees face is the difficulty in collaborating and innovating with their colleagues. These used to be easy processes while working from the office but circumstances aren’t too favourable at the moment. Despite this, there are certain companies which continue to work with alacrity and ease when it comes to innovation and collaboration while acknowledging the shift in working methodology.
As per a 2020 World Economic Forum article, a survey conducted by a US Technology firm suggests that permanent remote working is set to grow globally in 2021. The survey suggests a massive spike in remote working population from 16.4% prior to the pandemic to 34.4 % in 2021. This statistic is a valid reminder of why it is necessary for companies to focus on innovation and collaboration while working remotely. As companies move ahead with time with a revised working model, here are few organizations that are leading the path in fostering collaboration and innovation. Be it in terms of transformed working styles or fun workshops for employees and their families.
Amidst the global health crisis, a company that has redefined innovation and collaboration while working remotely is tech giant Twitter. An HBR article states that Twitter has developed various initiatives which help its employees deal with remote working. To begin with, it has introduced a new initiative called Tweep Exchange, wherein any overworked team can distribute its workload with another team who has bandwidth.
Additionally, managers are training employees who have the ability and time on hand to deal with a specific task during a point in time. Furthermore, when it comes to employee welfare, Twitter has introduced a business resource group for its working parent employees. The parents are encouraged to list down the issues they may be facing with having children at home as they work. Their line managers are then requested to showcase relative ease on this section of the workforce. Going one step further, Twitter has developed a virtual camp for its employees called Camp Twitter. This camp provides children with the opportunity to partake in a variety of activities and programmes online as per their convenience. The idea of organizing these fun workshops for employees and their children makes twitter stand out amongst other companies.
2) U Assist.Me
During the ongoing pandemic each company has created its own idea of collaboration and innovation. One such company that has taken collaboration to another level while taking care of its employees while remote working is U Assist.me. This El Salvador based technology company that develops chat-bots, has introduced an employee mood tracker! Yes, you heard that right, the company uses a mood tracker to understand or know the status of its employee’s emotions, so an employee’s concerns or anxieties can be addressed. As according to its management, progress tracking is necessary, so is knowing about their employees' well-being, especially in times such as these.
Like most organizations that have reinvented working from home, Google too is no different. However when it comes to innovation and collaboration it takes the cake. For example – Google allows its employees to sign up for Google Classes wherein one can teach another about a subject in which they are experts.
Secondly, it prompts the employees to partake in learning and knowledge sharing workshops. These workshops help employees discuss ideas with each other, understand unique perspectives and respect what each has to say. This initiative of conducting fun workshops for employees showcases Google’s value of learning and collaboration in an interesting fashion.
Thirdly, to promote the idea of collaboration amongst its workforce, it actively promotes Virtual Coffee Ninja, a program wherein Googlers can organize virtual coffee chats with someone new in the organization and build a connection.
To conclude, as we deal with the aftermath of a global pandemic, certain businesses use the above mentioned methods to help its employees cope with remote working. While these are certainly unique ways of building collaboration and innovation remotely, regular fun workshops for employees is another effective method. Though the focus is on collaborating and innovating, these workshops also serve as engagement activities that bring a hybrid workforce together.