Consider the possibility that the pandemic may have permanently changed the way and where people work. According to a Stanford study, 20% of workers are projected to continue working from home, even when offices are back up and running. While your team may feel comfortable communicating with each other, they should also know how to collaborate well with other business units—wherever your team members may be working.
Create a sense of connection.
It can be difficult and uncomfortable to build a sense of teamwork with groups outside your department. In some cases, your team members may not even have met people from other business units or departments in person. This makes it even more critical to help employees get to know each other. Consider allotting time in each meeting for a team member to share a fun fact about themselves.
Step out of your communication comfort zone.
Your team may feel comfortable shooting texts or Slack messages with each other, but people in other departments may not feel comfortable with these forms of communication. To help cross-team collaboration, encourage employees to pick up the phone and call someone. While you may prefer sending an email or a direct message, sometimes a quick phone call can help answer your question and establish a connection.
Limit the meetings.
The National Bureau of Economic Research found that the number of meetings per person has risen 13% since the beginning of the pandemic. It is a good idea to scale back on the number of meetings you plan, but if you must have a meeting, consider your attendee list. Instead of inviting entire departments, consider inviting just one representative. This allows you to be respectful of everyone’s time while still collaborating with other departments.
With your team members and other people working in different locations, it can be tricky to keep everyone on the same page. Try creating shared documents that cross-departmental teams can use together. By keeping all project information, deadlines, changes in project scope, and contact information in one central location, you can help eliminate confusion about who is doing what and by when.
Recognize others’ hard work.
Another way to boost collaboration? Give a shout-out when it is due. Acknowledging colleagues’ accomplishments is an effective and powerful way to boost morale. You do not have to make a big production out of your recognition, either. You can say something like, “I know you have been working really hard–this looks great.”
Cross-team collaboration is an essential element of your organization’s overall success. Whether your team continually works with other departments, or they are part of new initiatives that require collaboration, you can help everyone work better together by following the tips above–and thrive.