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Navigating the Future of Work: Solving Remote Work Challenges with Expertise and Innovation

Daily life has changed for billions of people over the last few years. The shift to remote work was a massive change brought to the fore by the pandemic, necessitating workforces to abandon their normal in-office practices and set up offices from home.

Angé Hattingh - Org Designer at Kaleidoscope

Recently, McKinsey & Company said, "Three years later, remote work has given way to hybrid work" and we continue to see the modern office and team evolve. Despite the numerous well-known benefits of both remote work and hybrid working, namely work-life balance, employee satisfaction and wellbeing, more efficient use of time, mitigation of burnout and higher productivity, this new style of work is not without its challenges.

According to a Harvard Business article, one such challenge is that “hybrid working, has made collaboration harder for teams that are increasingly siloed and fragmented”, later adding, “the blow to effective collaboration matters enormously, smarter collaboration leads to higher revenue and profit, more comprehensive solutions, and deeper customer and employee satisfaction.”

Deconstructing silos and advocating customer-centricity

A global leading Fintech company was experiencing low collaboration across their team along with resultant issues within their team dynamic and lowered client delivery levels.

In response to these challenges, Kaleidoscope leveraged our expertise in fostering and implementing agile and efficient work practices to successfully set this team up to optimally thrive in a remote work environment.

At Kaleidoscope we're led by futuristic thinking and our aim is to build and deliver non-complex business solutions. This New Ways of Working project strives to create room for collaboration in effective ways, that ultimately result in business performance. At our core, lies a culture of customer-centricity.

Kaleidoscope believe in setting clear objectives with each new client, this one being no different and we set about customising our approach resulting in a tailored roadmap that ensured we were well set up to move and achieve our goals.

To understand the root causes, Kaleidoscope conducted an in-depth diagnostic of the team using Design Thinking methodologies. This analysis revealed that a lack of feedback and opportunities for personal growth was hindering the team’s ability to deliver their best work.

Understanding the challenges that this remote team were facing, we believed that agile thinking and work management would be the best solution. To implement any change within a team or organisation, there needs to be openness to change, and a willingness to be flexible and to adapt.

Applying agility and facilitating feedback to find solutions

Our solution was complex and involved implementing an agile work approach, albeit in a blended format, tailored specifically for this team. Key to this approach was one of our well-used tools; weekly retrospectives. These create a space where the team can reflect and openly discuss the work that has been done, looking specifically at what was working, and what wasn't, and explore the factors contributing to productivity.

Let’s take a moment to look at a retrospective, or retro, these are meetings or working sessions where a team gets a chance to spend time reflecting on pieces of work, processes, and ideas and discuss the success and failures thereof as well as focus on improvement areas. It provides an opportunity for a team to pause, reflect and adapt if necessary to ensure that the best outcomes are achieved.

Let’s discuss blockers. Blockers are anything that stops or slows down the delivery of work or presents like a hurdle to the team. To tackle the blockers that emerged, we established a dedicated space for resolving them. Through the implementation and utilisation of project management tools such as Jira, we ensured everyone had clear visibility into progress across the team and could collaboratively address challenges.

Jira, originally a software management tool, is a project management tool that supports agile methodology, whether that is scrum, kanban or any unique variation of that. The tool supplies various ways to plan, track and manage all of your projects and company-wide work through the use of agile boards, timelines and roadmaps, backlogs, reports and granular views. At Kaleidoscope, we use Jira to display our yearly roadmap, broken down into months allowing teams to work strategically through pieces of work to achieve our bigger goals.

Solutions for solitude in favour of solidarity

Remote workers frequently experience social isolation due to the absence of face-to-face interactions, impacting team bonding and camaraderie, making it challenging to cultivate a strong team spirit. This exact issue was felt by the team we worked with. This was addressed by creating a dedicated space that emphasised the significance of celebrating both individual and team victories, which fostered a positive and supportive environment.

A simple approach was successfully implemented while simultaneously promoting internal retrospectives and making work progress visible. By doing so, we fostered an environment where teams were empowered to resolve issues remotely, without the need for constant oversight or micromanagement. This newfound autonomy allowed the team to tackle problems proactively and collaboratively, resulting in enhanced productivity, improved client delivery, and overall satisfaction and ultimately gave them the space and tools to thrive in a remote work environment.

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