Achieving creative cross-department collaboration while working remotely 17 June, 2020 | EDGE Insights | 4 min read. Since the introduction of the government’s lockdown in March, many businesses across the UK have had to change their processes to implement home working. Previously, this way of working was often seen by many employers as a benefit in order to support flexible working. However, with three out of five people now wanting to work from home more often than they did before the lockdown (HR Director), could remote working be the new normal? The debate around the benefits and disadvantages of remote working has been going on for many years, however following the coronavirus pandemic, 84% of people now believe it is important that employers offer staff the option of working from home in the future (HR Director). After all, if it’s been maintained for long periods of time, and appears to be working, employers simply cannot say it isn’t “practical” any longer. However, is this true for all industries? At EDGE Creative, we do miss the innovative energy that office working naturally brings with it. Quick, creative discussions around shared desk space or open conversations between departments between jobs are more difficult to achieve. Of course, there’s also the added benefit of being surrounded by other creative like-minded colleagues, who understand your projects a little more than your child, mother or whoever else you’re currently spending lockdown with. These challenges become easier to manage with online communication tools such as Zoom and Slack. With more people using the video conferencing company, whether that’s for business meetings or online quizzes with friends, Zoom expects sales to be as high as £1.4bn this year, roughly double what it originally forecast in March. Similarly, Slack, which is a business communication network, has seen 80% more paying customers in two months than it had in full previous quarters. This is hardly surprising with both tools being integral in helping businesses across the world retain “business as normal”. We’ve written before about the collaboration process between our designers and developers. However, with everyone now working remotely, how can you align and increase collaboration in the creative industry? Make the time for face-to-face interactions Being fully remote is new for many businesses across the country, but being face-to-face makes all the difference in keeping the team engaged and allowing different departments to come together to discuss projects. Slack or Zoom calls to check in on one another and to connect on different projects is integral – these tools foster natural conversation, rather than the formality that often comes with sending emails. Informal discussions help to mirror conversations you may have in the office, and helps to create an environment in which remote employees feel comfortable sharing ideas and collaborating with one another. Create areas for discussion on specific projects How many times have you been hit by a creative thought that you blurt out and people understand or run with? Working remotely can make it more difficult to share these light bulb moments. If you email a colleague, it might get lost in a sea of emails, or if you pick up the phone, your colleague might be in the middle of an important meeting. By having dedicated areas for discussion on specific projects, you can drop these thoughts to everyone, which can be picked up on by other people easily and effectively. On Slack for example, you can set up specific channels and add the necessary departments and people into that channel. This works amazingly in allowing your team to ask quick questions, leave notes or ideas and discuss specific features of a project in an allocated place. This also makes it much easier to keep track of what has been said while keeping things moving creatively. Don’t take the fun out of business There are plenty of changes that occur when your team goes remote, and one of the main challenges that arise is the increased risk of burnout. Over four in ten employees working from home are working longer hours than they would in a standard working day (IrishJobs) and many people struggle to remember to take enough breaks. When you’re in the office, it’s much easier to come away from your computer for a few minutes and chat with a colleague, or go and make a round of drinks. These little breaks do wonders for your team’s productivity levels and keep them engaged, motivated and feeling positive at work. Take away these welcome workday pauses and your team will often sit in front of their computer all day without a break, which can hinder their productivity and engagement with you as a business. It’s therefore imperative that you don’t take the fun out of business. Whether it’s team meetings, Friday “happy hours” or taking a virtual lunch together, your team need conversation with their colleagues to help prevent and reduce the effects of burnout. EDGE Creative Achieving creative cross-department collaboration while working remotely is substantially easier with the use of tools such as Slack and Zoom. These tools have allowed the team at EDGE Creative to stay current, creative and keep things moving across different projects simultaneously. The world of digital marketing is constantly changing, and it’s important that you and your company keep up. At EDGE Creative, we understand how it can be difficult for your business to stay creative, especially if your entire working processes have changed. This is why we are offering a one-hour free-of-charge consultation with a Marketing Director. Enquire today by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling us on 0121 355 8092.