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Open innovation during COVID-19: Collaborating to close the distance

By HCL Tech Sri Lanka

Organizations around the world are embracing hybrid remote working, by necessity or by choice, and there’s one crucial factor that is essential for their success: collaboration. Both organizations and employees have a lot to gain from virtual collaboration, along with a few challenges to overcome. A global workforce survey by Cisco reported that 58% of the workforce now works from home for at least 8 days of the month. These numbers are steadily rising, but there’s still have a lot to learn about remote collaboration across a global workforce.

A connected global workforce opens a world of possibilities. The most immediate benefits of remote working are savings on real estate, utility costs, office supplies etc. For organizations intent on building a sustainable, efficient remote working culture, these savings are usually allocated to improving the workspaces of employees with allowances and/or equipment.

With video conferencing tools and cloud computing networks, organizations can seamlessly connect employees from anywhere in the world, but this alone isn’t enough to foster a collaborative culture. Every culture is unique, and connecting global teams effectively requires constant observation and adaptation. Geographically dispersed teams will display different levels of language fluency, and team leaders must facilitate inclusive discussions among team members. Fluent speakers should be encouraged to use simple, clear language with fewer cultural references and phrases. Less fluent speakers should be encouraged to ask if anything was unclear, and avoid withholding from conversations.

Team leaders are crucial for keeping engagement and participation high, and a diverse workforce can inspire creativity and disruptive thinking. Organizations have a far wider scope in seeking out talent globally, and employees have fewer limitations when seeking out employment. By building their teams from around the world, organizations can find top-qualified candidates as well as gain insight and local perspective into different markets. With this diverse knowledge base, the need for inclusivity becomes even more crucial.

The most common challenge for collaboration in a global workforce is the formation of in-groups and out-groups. This can be caused by a variety of factors including geographical distribution (for example, if a majority of the team is in Germany), differences in fluency, cultural perceptions etc. This imbalance of perceived power gives majority in-groups a sense of over importance while minority out-groups feel underrepresented. To keep the spirit of collaboration alive, team leaders must encourage sensitivity to differences, remind the team that they share a common objective and maintain one-on-one contact with team members.

Building a global network of collaborative teams is no small undertaking, but organizations stand to gain more diversity and creativity in the process. When implementing hybrid remote working, organizations should make sure to keep their culture intact, and maintain participation and engagement from every member of the team. HCL Technologies maintains a diverse, dynamic workforce across multiple continents with an ideology that unites every employee under a common purpose. This culture of ideapreneurshipTM encourages disruptive thinking in every aspect of business. Combined with unique infrastructure frameworks and services, HCL Technologies puts collaboration centre stage amongst geographically dispersed teams. With digital workplace services, collaborative platforms, cloud infrastructure and more, HCL Sri Lanka brings the innovative potential of diverse, dynamic global workforces within your reach.