About a year ago, during Israel’s first lockdown, my friend Guy complained to me about having to work from home all of a sudden. He raved about his morning routine, getting ready quickly and dropping off the girls at school en-route to the office, describing it as a way to push-start the day. Worse, he missed having his office friends around to brainstorm and chat with, whether about work or his weekend plans.
The other day, he couldn’t stop saying how much he loves his home office. Apparently, lockdown or not, he has no intention of working full-time from the office ever again. He smiled when I reminded him how he loved getting ready and driving to the office every day, then said that “routines are meant to be broken.”
“They still haven’t truly solved the whole teamwork thing, though,” he added after a short pause.
Let’s Start Over with Team Learning
He has a point. In the age of social distancing and remote work, companies have discovered that their team cohesiveness dropped by 75%. Sure, we have excellent tools that allow us to work with others from anywhere. Thanks to video technology, we can also meet and talk to them at almost any given point. But let’s face it: we did lose a little (or more, depending who you ask) of that togetherness in 2020.
At least for the time being. Yes, videos and collaborative technology might never feel as personal as working shoulder-to-shoulder with someone. Still, having been forced to quickly adapt to the new normal from one day to the next, I’d say we all did a pretty good job learning how to work remotely. So much so that we can now focus on improving how we work remotely – together. In that, EdTech companies might have a significant role to play.
Learning platforms hold the ability to bring teams closer and boost their collaborative work as part of the learning process. It’s easy to overlook all that and view learning platforms as means for individuals to accelerate their professional growth and personal development. After all, it’s true, and that alone is a tremendous fit. However, With 75% of employees considering teamwork “very important” and 33% of employees say that collaborating well with their colleagues makes them more loyal to the workplace, we shouldn’t underestimate this added value.
Ok, So Where Does Teamwork Come In?
Bringing teams together to learn offers an almost neutral and stress-free environment for colleagues to listen and learn from one another. Hopefully, they won’t only learn whatever they’re taught; they’ll also learn to appreciate their colleagues’ expertise, an essential first step to building a strong team.
As teams enter the virtual classroom, tasks and deadlines are left at the door (or sign-in page, for that matter), along with hierarchies and titles. Instead, practical assignments and even long-term projects that can be handled more casually make their way in. Compelling employees to join forces on the one hand, but creating a less demanding setting on the other, can do wonders to teams and establish a relationship of trust and respect. Later on, it will undoubtedly positively affect how they collaborate and reflect on their shared real-life work.
What’s more, the 70-20-10 rule of learning shows that people gain 70% of their knowledge by dealing with challenging tasks, 20% through developmental relationships, and only 10% through training. In other words, by encouraging teams to learn together, we’re not prioritizing team building nor compromising individual learning. We’re enhancing both.
And If You’re Feeling Extra Studious
All that isn’t to say that self-paced learning isn’t still meaningful, nor all other options that aren’t virtual classrooms per se. Different teams work differently, and virtual collaborations can take on countless forms – not just live. Luckily, the variety of choices available today opens the door for many more learning modules, so customers can choose what works best for them and suits their company’s culture.
The good news is that these too can promote teamwork by giving everyone a voice – no matter the medium. For example, adjacent comments and shared notes help ensure that even while watching videos on their own in their spare time, communication lines between colleagues are always open, letting in a steady flow of ideas, thoughts, and opinions. This exchange should create stronger connections not just within teams but across departments too. On-screen interactions such as surveys have a similar effect (and work great for live scenarios also).
Better yet – why not make team members part of the process? Rather than bringing outside lecturers and facilitators, employees can share knowledge with user-friendly content creation. Cameras sometimes bring out those too shy to speak in public, and for teams to grow, all members must grow also.
Last but not least: games! Gamifying learning helps make it feel less like a burden. Not only that, it’s an excellent way to expose and boost team dynamics. Your platform can offer interactive features that will bring gamification into any session and bring in the fun. And before you roll your eyes in disbelief: a study that discovered video games’ ability to improve teams’ productivity by 20%.
Your Cheat Sheet
In less than a year, working from home has gone from a stop-gap solution to the new norm for a growing number of businesses. Employees, too, have gone from accepting it as an undeniable circumstance to loving it – just look at my friend Guy. Still, there’s a lot more we can do – and learn – about working together remotely and efficiently.
Teaching people to work together is always a complicated task. Teaching them how to do it long-distance is probably more so. Almost unsurprisingly, EdTEch companies are strategically positioned to help us do that, thanks to their inherent ability to recreate that in-person touch we all miss so much. If your platform can help customers’ employees connect with their colleagues, it could transform their work experience. By incorporating collaborative capabilities into your platform and showcasing them, you’ll be teaching something even more valuable than what’s on the syllabus.
Is Your Company Working on an L&D Solution? Learn More about skilling employees with video.