[box] This is a guest post by Lucinda from DNS. She has a passion for helping small and medium sized businesses through offering advice and solutions. In particular she likes to focus on using new technology and software solutions to save businesses time and money and is a contributor to document network services limited. [/box]
It is often said in the business community that it is not necessarily what you know, but who you know. Whether you work in a small office or a massive cubicle farm with more than a hundred co-workers, this statement holds true. The more you connect with your co-workers and the more time you invest in relationship building with the people in your office, the greater your business success is likely to be. A simple thing such as saying hello to the people you share an elevator ride with every morning, and exchanging simple pleasantries on your way to the morning meeting will help you connect and improve relationships with your co-workers on a deeper level than a standard memo or email chain will allow.
Bringing the Relationship on the Road
While maintaining a strong work relationships with your business team may seem challenging when you are in the same office, it becomes even more challenging for those who work from home, travel regularly or have multiple offices that they work in. Business travelers are far more common than you may think.
Resourcefulness is a key when it comes to building and maintaining relationships with people you don’t see on a regular basis. Luckily, we live in an era filled with technological developments, which ensures that it is easier than ever to connect with your co-workers wherever you are in the world.
Here is the short list of the greatest tools for keeping in touch on the go:
In the world of web-cams and chat functions, Skype is pretty much old faithful. The great thing about Skype is that it is free on a basic level, but for a small fee can be converted into a really versatile and reliable tool. You can access Skype on a regular phone, a mobile phone or via the internet. The ability to chat face-to-face with someone enhances the conversation by allowing for meaningful looks and eye-contact, both of which are essential for camaraderie and togetherness at the office.
This tool offers similar functions to Skype, but is often preferred over its predecessor simply because of how well Google has integrated the service into already commonly relied on Google products. In fact, this is just one of the Google products to make this short list of helpful tools to keep in touch! Google Hangouts allows you to hold a regular conversation via chat, but also has the option of turning it into a quick video chat should the conversation need that.
There is nothing better for building a strong office relationship than a feeling of camaraderie and productiveness that comes from effective collaboration. Google Drive is an online document management system which gives Google account holders of your choice access to it. Multiple users can have a document, spreadsheet or presentation open at once and everyone can do their part to add, edit and make changes as you please.
What’s best is the function that allows other users to actually see where your cursor is so that you can coordinate your editing efforts. Couple this with Google Hangouts and you will forget that you aren’t working in the same office. There are a variety of alternative online document share programs available for those who do not have a Google account.
While these tools will help you stay productive with your team, they won’t do all of the work for you. There are a few healthy practices that are good to follow when you are traveling, working from home, or collaborating with a team from a different office location.
Business Travel Top Tips to Maintain Office Relationships
Check in regularly to update your team on your whereabouts and check for any issues that the team is facing back home.
Always collaborate with your team back home and avoid making decisions without consulting your team.
Make yourself available using the programs and software listed above, either regularly during the day or at certain hours (this should be agreed on before traveling), so that your co-workers don’t feel alienated.
If possible, split the burden of traveling to allow another teammate benefiting from the experience and/or training. This shows a willingness to share and collaborate and will most certainly improve the atmosphere in the office.
Don’t micromanage from the plane! Trust your team to take care of business and set regular times at which you will be checking in so that everyone feels trusted, and business can carry on as usual. All-in-all, it is essential to be collaborative and get your teammates as involved as possible. We do agree that it can sometimes be difficult, especially if you like things being done in a certain way, and even more if you are a perfectionist.
Just a few changes in your attitude and actions will change the atmosphere in the office and make it into a more pleasant place to work.