How to ensure successful collaboration from home

As the Covid-19 pandemic has become more critical across the globe, most office-based workers have been confined to their homes and forced to set up camp on their kitchen tables for the foreseeable future. And, while an increasing number of employers had started to adopt more agile ways of working prior to the outbreak, this new flexible routine will be unchartered territory for a lot of businesses.

Here at Bisley, we recognise the importance of successful collaboration – both within our own organisation, and through our strong external partnerships. Our success is built on our ability to collaborate, and we believe that it plays a crucial role in making things run smoothly. So, how do we successfully collaborate if we’re all working in separate spaces?

It is important to remember that working from home does not necessarily mean working alone. In a world that is more connected than ever, online video conferencing and virtual meetings have become not only the key communication tool, but in light of this current pandemic, some of the only face-to-face communication that we are going to get. In fact, a recent study by UCL found that in order to stay happy and healthy during isolation periods, we should opt for video calls (over phone calls, text messaging or emails) because it is proven to be just as good for our wellbeing as being in the same place.

Your workspace

Effective collaboration starts with your workspace. If your home workspace is setup in a way that reflects a professional office environment, then your ability to collaborate in a productive and creative way will materialise. Make sure you have a dedicated home office space. This space should preferably be isolated from any distractions (kids, pets, televisions, snacks…) and an area that is kept clean, tidy and calm.

This is where furniture can help. Remember to think about ergonomics. Sitting on a wonky stool that you found in the garage is, funnily enough, not good for your posture. It is advisable that you use a comfortable and supportive office chair, with a desk or table that is at a sensible height. See here for our range of tables and seating.

A tidy workspace can be solved with products that help you organise your things. The simple addition of a classic Multidrawer – either underneath, on top, or next to your desk – can provide quick and easy access to all your home working necessities. Click here to see how professional organiser, Vicky Silverthorn, uses a 10 drawer Multidrawer to organise her paperwork underneath her desk.

Ideally, your home workspace should have natural light to ensure that your wellbeing and peace of mind is supported. You can add plants to your workspace too, which is proven to improve your mood, confidence and creativity – all values that encourage optimal collaboration. Click here for our other ways that plants can boost your workplace performance.

Your workload

But really, collaboration (especially from home) cannot be successful unless you engage with your workload and with your colleagues. This concept relies heavily on trust, and on employees to organise themselves, to stay motivated and productive.

In a time when face-to-face meetings are no longer possible, regular video conferences and phone calls are the obvious answer to generate collaborative ways of working. It is important to have transparency within your team, to let them know what you’ve been up to and what your plans are moving forward. Keeping that open line of virtual communication has never been more important in a time like this.

It’s no secret that face-to-face meetings have many benefits over virtual ones. However, not only are video calls proven to boost your mood, but virtual conferencing has significantly improved in the last few years. Software now has better audio / visual quality, and many offer collaboration tools such as real-time polls, screen share and the ability to co-annotate.

Ultimately though, at a time when we have little choice but to create temporary offices in the safety of our own homes, collaboration is inevitably going to face its challenges. It’s important to stay positive, stay motivated, and remember that, in this age of hyper-connectivity, we’re lucky that communication has never been easier.