Remote Work

Why work management is key for remote team collaboration

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in PCMag.

The global pandemic has left newly remote workers swimming in confusion and struggling to keep up. To shift from today’s state of surviving to a future where teams are thriving, we need tools that make coordinating and collaborating on work effortless. When teams aren’t clear on who is doing what by when and why they are doing it, they move slowly, miss deadlines, and fall short of their goals. 

Companies across industries prioritizing collaboration tools in their IT budgets. According to IDC, 54% of IT decision-makers will increase their investment in collaboration applications, despite overall budget decreases. Wayne Kurtzman, research director of Social and Collaboration at IDC, has said that the remote work transition generated by COVID-19 caused “adoption of collaborative applications to accelerate by five years.” 

“Collaboration” is a broad term encompassing a wide range of applications. It’s often associated with project management tools. But, around the world, leading organizations are realizing that traditional project management tools—which target siloed projects and functions—aren’t sufficient for future-proofing their organizations for the next chapter of how we’ll work. 

Enter work management

“Leaders are recognizing that they need a system that allows teams to coordinate work, including multiple interdependent projects and processes, to fuel effective collaboration. This system needs to be built around a core of security, governance, and compliance,” says Kurtzman. “It needs trust, both from the workforce that their personal data is secure, and from the enterprise that their data is secure.” It also needs to be scalable so that it can easily be integrated into the workflows of diverse groups, from sales to engineering. 

This system needs to be built around a core of security, governance, and compliance

Asana’s research revealed that knowledge workers spend 60% of their time on what we call ‘work about work’: digging through email, searching for the latest business plan, responding to pings, or writing status reports. These are challenges work management tools aim to tackle: reducing duplicative work and automating routine processes and status tracking to ensure that nothing falls out of date. Work management tools also provide clarity on the plan (who is doing what by when) and its purpose (why it matters and how it’s aligned with company goals). This makes it easier for teams and individuals to focus and see how the pieces come together.

And there are tangible team gains: 86% of knowledge workers say work management platforms improve clarity and 89% agree that budget spent on a work management platform is money well spent. Work management platforms like Asana help companies refocus on deep work, reducing the distractions and that ‘work about work’. 

Building a culture of effective collaboration

No matter how well designed your work management platform is, culture is paramount. Culture drives the adoption of systems and processes that make it easier to work together, but also is the bedrock for what Kurtzman calls ‘The Next Normal’ of work—one that’s collaborative and people-centric. 

Effective collaboration is a hallmark of all successful organizations. Yet collaboration is challenging, especially in remote work settings where distractions are constant and it can be difficult to stay focused.

Collaboration can’t be solved by adding one-off project-oriented tools to your tool stack. As organizations begin to implement new multi-year digital transformation plans, now is the time to commit to a coordination backbone for your organization. 

By embracing a work management platform and building a culture where teams are aligned and engaged, and have a clear view of how their work contributes to company goals, leaders can empower effective collaboration, even when team members are physically apart. 

Written by Paige Costello, Product Lead at Asana

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