Last year, millions of organizations around the world were forced to reimagine business continuity as COVID-19 became a powerful catalyst for remote work and online interactions.
Now we’re about to witness another big disruption of the workplace as some employees go back to the office, while others continue to work remotely.
In fact, extreme flexibility and hybrid work will define the post-pandemic office, according to the 2021 Work Trend Index. While more than 70 percent of modern employees want flexible remote work options to continue, 65 percent say they miss in-person interactions with their colleagues.
As organizations move back to physical offices, they face a myriad of new challenges, including making sure remote workers and their office-based teammates are staying engaged, motivated, and productive.
Many modern tools can make that transition easier and more efficient. When I consult organizations on change management, I often advise them to take advantage of team task management software, which provides structure, clarity, and priorities for employees and managers alike as they navigate the new normal.
Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of using task management software in a hybrid workplace.
Establish seamless connectivity
As you plan to bring employees back to the office, your strategy may include staff rotation or staggered shifts to help reduce social mixing in the workplace. It means that some workers may not see each other in person and will have to rely on online collaboration tools to streamline workflow with meetings and file sharing.
Task management software, which provides easy access and doesn’t require any special skills to master, can serve as a central information hub that glues the entire team together. Also known as task tracking software, it helps with project management across teams, monitoring each individual task from start to finish.
To stay engaged and productive, your team needs to have all the basic questions covered: “What are we doing, what do we need to get it done, and who’s in charge of what?” Use task management software to help your teams build a plan, make assignments, and set up “buckets” to sort out tasks. Attach photos, files, and related links, making it easier for your employees to collaborate and get things done.
Task management software can also reduce confusion and stress when you’re dealing with meeting documentation while half the team is working remotely. Instead of creating random documents and emails, use this intuitive, shareable tool to capture and organize meeting notes. Easily assign projects and tasks in real time that your team can access from anywhere, on any device.
Keep your team motivated
While last year was an emotional rollercoaster for many of us, there was a sense of comradery stemming from working in the same virtual office together. The move to a hybrid model may make some employees feel isolated and unmotivated.
Here is where team task management software can help. Crossing a completed task off your list enables a release of dopamine, which creates a sense of achievement and helps your remote teammates feel more motivated and connected to the workplace. That’s why some modern task tracking apps even feature different visual cues to celebrate completed tasks, such as confetti animation and checklist progress bars. Moreover, following a well-structured checklist that divides projects into bite-sized tasks is a proven method to fight against decision paralysis and thwart procrastination. Often, little boosts of energy throughout the day are all it takes to keep us going.
Communicate with visual cues
Most humans are highly visual learners. Using a range of visual cues, a task management solution is a powerful way for your teams to communicate with each other about next steps and goal progress. Tools like digital Kanban boards display information in an easy-to-read flow, including individual tasks, collaborators, and deadlines. As tasks evolve, the cards move across the board from “To Do” to “Done,” providing just the right level of information—not too deep or complex.
So, instead of reading a time-consuming email or a brief, your teammates receive a card with an attachment and a checklist, enabling them to work with that information in a way that fits best with how they think.
Manage dispersed teams
When it comes to managing employees who are rarely in the office, a task management solution that can automatically visualize task status offers a great team view, allowing you to track progress of each task, avoid potential delays, and enhance productivity. For example, it can convert task status into pie and bar charts to show which tasks are urgent, which are running late, and who’s overloaded. If one of your employees has more late tasks than others, it may make sense to reassign some of the work to get the project back on track.
Task management also fosters deeper collaboration, helping everyone work seamlessly as a team and understand how each task plays into a broader goal. Daily stand-up meetings around their digital Kanban board, for example, allow your teams to report status updates and align everyone around what is happening.
When choosing a task management solution, I prefer software that can seamlessly sync with other productivity tools that I use throughout the day, such as email, spreadsheets, and calendar apps. Team collaboration and connectivity hubs, such as group chat software, for example, display team and personal to-dos in a single comprehensive view to keep you organized as you juggle multiple deadlines.
As our workplace continues to evolve, new technology can help organizations navigate through changes, and embrace a new era of teamwork and collaboration.