#1 The Increasingly Distributed Office
While this isn’t a
new trend, it’s one that’s likely to continue to grow. Businesses are becoming
increasingly geographically (across cities, countries, and continents) and
Many companies no
longer have one central office, and those that do no longer rely on a
centralized workspace. Instead, there has been a considerable shift toward a
Driven by a desire to
reduce labor costs or to gain access to skills not readily available in the
local area, companies are choosing to reduce the number of employees.
cheaper, more comfortable, and, arguably, better to outsource work to service
providers and freelancers. Outsourcing will mean that today, companies are made
up of employees, suppliers, contractors, and clients located around the world.
However, as well as
being geographically distributed, decision-making is also dispersed throughout
the broader organization by, for example, satellite teams located in markets
nearer to customer bases.
#2 The Increasing Importance of Cross-Functional
collaboration is when a group of people, each with different expertise, work
together to meet a common goal. This can be as simple as a group of people
across multiple departments working together to deliver a joint project.
understand the impact that cross-functional collaboration can have on overall
business performance. It’s a powerful tool, allowing teams and departments to
stay aligned while increasing transparency and promoting diversity.
There are numerous
benefits of cross-functional collaboration. For instance, when you bring
together multiple departments to deliver one project, it’s easier to discover
different perspectives and identify innovative solutions to satisfy the client
and the business itself.
Not only does this
ensure different viewpoints are heard, but it also challenges old ideas and the
status quo and fosters a culture of learning and cooperation. The former
playing field is leveled with traditionally lower down team members, allowing
them to offer solutions rather than receiving directions from the top down.
While there are many
benefits to cross-functional collaboration, it does have its fair share of
challenges. It requires trust, clearly defined goals and tasks, and excellent
#3 Team Culture Has Changed
Remote working and
outsourced service providers have shown that teams can work together virtually
People can work
together across locations and time zones, solving problems, and building
innovative solutions without the need to ever meet in person.
offices have been found to hinder, not help, team collaboration. Studies have
shown that “rather than promoting collaboration,
open-air spaces caused employees to withdraw into the world of electronic
With 86% of employees
reporting that they are more productive when they work alone, it’s clear that
team culture has drastically changed over the last decade.
But how can businesses manage remote teams and overcome the
it’s more important than ever to keep track of employee activity via
project management tools and status updates.
clearly defined expectations need to be established so that every team
member knows exactly what’s expected of them, and when.
Other tips include
promoting communication and opportunities for employee engagement, all of which
can be aided with the right collaboration and communication tools.
#4 An Increasing Variety of Collaboration Technologies
The changes in
business structures mean that management styles, work practices, and
collaboration and communication technologies have evolved in an attempt to keep
The rise of
cross-functional collaboration and distributed offices are mirrored with a rise
in collaboration technologies for teams.
Team collaboration comes in a variety of forms, as do the
Management and Document Collaboration: These tools allow teams to manage
projects and collaborate on documents efficiently.
Boards: The boards allow teams to collaboratively manage projects and
workflows. By setting out clear expectations, they can be helpful in
limiting scope creep.
Conferencing and Instant Chat: Communication tools allow team members to
easily work together in real-time via chat and video.
Tracking Tools: These tools track the time that individual team members
spend on deliverables and projects. As well as simply tracking time, some
tools can connect to invoicing systems to create quotes and invoices.
The tool(s) you need
will depend on your use case(s). Unless you only need one tool for a very
specific task, you need to carefully consider whether the tools will play
rise of collaboration tools has created its own set of problems. If you’re not
careful, you can end up with a web of connected tools with complex zaps or
Instead of just
relying on your email inbox, you now need to check Slack, Asana, Trello, and so
on to find the information you need.
If you do need to use
multiple tools, consider an email-based project management tool like Gmelius,
which allows your team to collaborate on project and client management without
leaving their inbox.
A good email-based
project management tool should have the same functionality as many other
collaboration tools. However, the benefit here is that by living inside your
inbox, it won’t complicate your workflow or require your team to learn new
#5 A Growing Number of Communication Tools
There is a greater
emphasis on work-life balance in modern workplaces, with much more flexibility.
Today, it’s common for teams to work together across different locations, time
zones, and even continents.
While some companies
allow employees to work from home, others have moved to a remote-first
environment. With this in mind, it’s more important than ever that team members
can communicate easily and quickly.
It’s no longer viable
for team members to send lengthy email messages; instead, communication needs
to be responsive and in real-time. Luckily, whatever the blend of in-house
employees and outsourced teams, there is a wealth of tools available to help
you communicate seamlessly with your team.
The use of tools to
aid real-time communication has increased dramatically. This includes the
integration of chat services, phone, video, instant
messengers, commenting systems, and so on. These
tools are available across a range of devices, so you can keep up to date even
when on the go.
collaboration tools, the rise of communication tools has added to the complex
web of resources we now rely on every day. Instead of fixing the problem, it
adds to it.
More and more people
are moving toward an all-in-one tool, like email-based project management
tools, which allow you to not only manage your project from inside your email
inbox but to also comment and chat in real-time with co-workers.
#6 Agile Team and Methodology
methodologies have been the wheelhouse for tech and development agencies and
departments. Development teams, trained in an agile method, like Scrum, would
implement the practices in order to increase productivity and improve quality.
However, other kinds
of teams and businesses are now finding successful results by applying agile
principles. Organizations are expanding agile methodologies into product
development, portfolio management, and human resources.
What is agile? And how does it benefit your business?
Agile is a process
that helps teams provide responses to feedback on a project. It also enables a
project’s direction to be assessed throughout the development or delivery cycle
via regular meetings called “sprints” or “iterations.”
But nowadays, agile
is much more than a process. Agile involves a team’s environment and, for
example, the office layout and furniture. Everything should be designed to
allow tasks to be flexibly delivered, in the most efficient way.
It allows companies
to build the right product and regularly analyze and improve the product
throughout its development. The process should enable the delivered product to
be fit for purpose, valuable, and competitive in the market.
Alongside improved productivity, other benefits for agile
sense of autonomy and freedom for team members;
happiness, job satisfaction, and morale; and
costs and higher efficiency of working.
#7 Companies are Rethinking Traditional Performance Reviews
Studies have shown
that one-third of U.S. companies are ditching the
annual/biannual performance review.
These formal reviews
have been replaced with regular, informal updates between managers and
employees. Instead of waiting for a year, businesses are conducting frequent but
informal manager-and-employee check-ins.
Annual reviews tend
to focus primarily on financial rewards or punishments for historic work. While
understandable, the focus on past behavior misses the opportunity to provide
feedback to improve performance and increase skills moving forward.
On the other hand,
ongoing discussions about performance and development shift the focus to
improvements, which are highly important for the long-term survival of
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