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The benefits isolation can have on your work

https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20200513-the-benefits-isolation-can-have-on-your-work

bbc.com

The benefits isolation can have on your work
It’s good to talk, but periods of silence are essential for problem solving.

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Less communication might be beneficial

Less communication might be beneficial

So many people across the world are now working remotely. They may be concerned about the loss of regular facetime with their team.

But the latest psychological literature suggests that constant collaboration can reduce 'collective intelligence.' Less communication might actually be more beneficial to a team's joint problem-solving ability.

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Group communication

In a 2015 study, researchers found that more communication in a group results in the team members quickly converging on a consensus without really exploring alternatives.

In less well-connected groups, team members suffered a bit with information gathering but were less likely to reach a consensus too quickly. Each member built on their own theories, which resulted in a greater diversity of ideas.

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Alone time

Researchers tested how the rhythm of our communication can influence our problem-solving. The participants were divided into three groups.

  • Groups with continuous interaction had a good average performance, but the team members tended to conform to mediocre solutions.
  • People working independently didn't have the opportunity to benefit from other's solutions.
  • The intermittent communication group was the best of both worlds. They could build on the diversity of the ideas that were created independently.

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Short, intense communication

Research showed that teams working with short "bursts" of communication, followed by longer periods of silence, performed better than less intense conversations extended over a long time.

Short but intense communication helps to maintain momentum and motivation and create feelings of enthusiasm.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Why some companies fail at remote work

Why some companies fail at remote work

Companies that fail at remote work focus too much on technology and too little on the process. Successful remote work is based on clear processes that support three core principles.

  • ...

Communication in a virtual environment

It can be difficult to explain complex ideas. The lack of face-to-face interaction limits social cues, which may lead to misunderstandings and conflict.

  • To avoid miscues and misinterpretation, match the message with the medium. Videoconferencing is the next best tool to talking face-to-face. Small, non-urgent requests are best suited to e-mail, instant messaging, or all-in-one platforms like Slack.
  • Frequency of communication matters. Provide regular updates, respond to messages promptly, be available at important times.

Remote work coordination

Remote workers should be working in harmony, but people often don't know what others are doing and how everything fits together.

  • Create formal processes that simulate the informal way; for example, stopping by a colleague's desk or eating lunch together. These interactions serve as course corrections.
  • Managers should clearly articulate the mission, assign roles and responsibilities, create detailed project plans, establish performance metrics. They should also document all that and make it available offsite.
  • Managers should model and enforce the processes until they are completely incorporated.

one more idea

The challenges of hybrid teams

The challenges of hybrid teams

Most companies embracing remote work also have dedicated headquarters. But remote-ish teams have even more communication and collaboration challenges than fully remote teams.

...

Remote-friendly vs remote-first

The single biggest mistake companies can make is to opt to be remote-friendly instead of remote-first. Companies often accept the idea that remote is the future of work without creating an inclusive culture to ensure it works for everyone.

  • Remote-friendly environment: Employees are allowed to work remotely, but work is not optimized for it. There is a disconnect between office and remote employees and team meetings exclusively occur in a co-located time zone. Water cooler chat is a space for key decisions and presence is correlated with meaningful work. Communication is synchronous-first. Managers must work in the office.
  • Remote-first companies: Employees are empowered to adopt remote work. Real-time meetings are kept to a minimum and recorded. Decisions are made online and performance is measured by output, not by hours worked. Communication is asynchronous-first. Managers are encouraged to work from home.

Connecting a remote-ish team

Hybrid companies function best when the entire company is optimized for remote work. Successful hybrid teams set up processes to help their remote workers thrive alongside their office teammates.

Leadership must acknowledge the various challenges remote workers face and create solutions. Create a remote work policy that keeps remote workers and contractors from feeling like second class team members. Remote workers should feel fully connected and not missing a thing.

Psychological safety in team building

Team members need to feel comfortable speaking up to create the communication dynamics necessary for success.

It all comes down to trust, which is one of the characteristics teambuilding...

For an effective teambuilding:

  • Think outside the box when defining the format that works best for all team-members;
  • Avoid activities where people are singled out and might feel embarrassed. These create the opposite of the trust-building effect needed to build strong teams.
  • Effective teambuilding allows teams to tackle an achievable challenge together. Working through a challenge together increases oxytocin and group cohesiveness.