Creative agencies around the world are struggling to find a way to collaborate effectively right now. Creators may be struggling to find motivation, team leaders are finding issues with delegating remotely, and people in general are just trying to stay mentally healthy while also being productive in a collaborative setting.
The new normal of remote working environments has added an unexpected obstacle for agency leaders to overcome. The good news is that there are several ways to improve collaboration that don’t require you to be within six feet of your teammates.
People are hurting for social relationships right now, and what better way to improve collaboration than to have fun with your coworkers! Games like Kahoot and Jackbox are available to use with video meeting tools. Or, get creative — invent your own game for your next team meeting.
The bonds that your coworkers make during group events where there are no work-related pressures will last beyond the game and lead to better relationships than any mandated assignments ever could. Not only will you see improvements in your team’s communication and collaboration, but you’ll all get a morale boost, as well.
Stop, Collaborate (With Software)
Project management is incredibly important when your teams are unable to meet in person. A good creative agency project management software will allow your team to track progress, make approvals, and store your brand assets. Tracking who owns what and what’s been accomplished through email can be exhausting and leave room for error. Some good examples of communication software are Slack, Discord, and Microsoft Teams
But if you want to prioritize your creative collaboration, try CROOW. CROOW is the most effective software for managing creative projects and maintaining a collaborative work environment. It allows you to keep all assets and aspects of your project in one place, and allows for virtual white-boarding and wire-framing.
Ride the Mentor Ship
A good way to encourage collaboration is to have senior employees let entry level staff in on their projects. Less experienced team members will not only feel like a more integrated part of your team, but they’ll also learn tips and tricks from your more experienced teammates.
This can be a mutually beneficial relationship: the experienced team member will have an extra, fresh set of eyes on their project, and the new employee will get valuable experience. Plus, when seasoned employees set positive examples of open communication and collaboration, you’re solidifying those approaches as a part of your business’ culture.
Improve Company-Wide Communication
Collaboration at creative agencies can fall by the wayside if employees are siloed and working independently during the majority of their work week. Combat this with weekly or bi-weekly team meetings. This is a good way for your employees to talk about what they’re currently working on and what they have coming up, and it provides an opportunity to ask for help.
Use these meetings to divvy up responsibilities and provide kudos. Analysis done by Gallup in 2018 showed that only 1 in 3 workers in the United States strongly agreed that they receive positive recognition on a weekly basis. Use these bi-weekly meetings to praise good work and provide opportunities for collaboration in the future. This will help encourage your creative agency team to work together.
Value Mental Health
Remote work in isolation can be incredibly taxing mentally. Now more than ever, it’s important to check on your employees and make sure they feel supported. In a recent study done by KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation), around 45% of adults in the United States reported that they’ve seen a negative impact on their mental health due to stress about the virus.
Employees want their feelings of stress and worry to be heard, now more than ever. Offer mental health days, check in on team members who are falling behind, and keep your employees’ well-being in mind at all times.
When people feel that they matter to an organization not just for their productivity, but as their whole selves, they will be inspired to open up, take care of themselves, and look out for others.
Increasing collaboration is as hard as it has ever been. By focusing on these five pillars, we can create an environment where creative agencies can efficiently use the resources they still have to encourage collaboration and teamwork. Use this time to put things into perspective and try to keep team members as healthy and happy as possible.
Host virtual events, utilize creative project management tools available to you, emphasize communication across the company, and encourage coworkers to speak up and share what would help them in a professional environment. Above all else, prioritize learning about your team members and what will help them be most productive in this ever-changing new normal. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.