The rise of hybrid and remote work has brought many benefits – but it has also introduced new challenges, chief among them the “coordination tax” that the Wall Street Journal highlighted June 16. Keeping everyone in sync is consuming more and more of our time and energy. Savvy and successful leaders focus on how to reduce your team’s collaboration tax burden. 
Mismatched schedules, wasted commutes, and juggling multiple communication channels seriously reduce productivity and engagement. Microsoft found that half of hybrid employees go into the office only to find their manager or teammates aren’t there. Those workers report more challenges advancing their careers and are twice as likely to consider changing jobs.
It’s clear that after several years of experimenting with hybrid arrangements, leaders need to get more intentional about making them work. Leaders must reduce your team’s collaboration tax to keep team members engaged, generate the best results, and protect against burnout. How many of these five steps are you doing to reduce your team’s coordination tax:

    Prioritize how you communicate

    Neuroscience proves that how you communicate is more important than what you communicate and that all communication styles can be channeled for creativity, collaboration, and cohesion. With teams more distributed than ever, everyone must be hearing what they need to engage effectively. Leaders must put more time and energy into ensuring communication flows smoothly. They need to understand everyone on their team’s preferred psychological communication channels and modulate their communication style to reach people where they are. Leaders need to over-index to live communication with teams and individuals and resist the urge to rely upon messaging, voice messaging, and email for anything other than reinforcement. Great communication requires tone and real-time adaptation.

    For example, using the Process Communication Model, leaders should know if team members respond best to directive, logical, emotive, or reflective communication and adapt their messages accordingly.

    Create explicit collaboration processes

    Hybrid teams can’t wing it when it comes to working together. Leaders should establish clear schedules, behavior norms, interactive tools (like Mural, Miro, Figma), and accountability to keep everyone rowing in the same direction.

    For instance, teams could designate two core “in office” days each week, use Mural for brainstorming sessions, and have a rotating system for taking and sharing meeting notes.

    Systematize knowledge management

      Teams need to be explicit about sharing documents, updates, and messages. Designate an accessible system of record (options include Notion, Coda, Asana, Slack, Teams, and more) to capture work in a structured way. AI can expedite and summarize information and create a set of follow-up questions that help capture what’s in someone’s head and not document it. Everything should be linked together. You can reduce your team’s collaboration tax by making it easy to recall where conversations, resources, and documents can be found or searched.

      For example, meeting notes in Notion should link to relevant Miro boards and have due dates that automatically sync to Asana tasks and Outlook calendars.

      Bring the team together in person regularly

      Even the most successful hybrid teams benefit from face-to-face time. Aim to meet up at least quarterly, varying locations to distribute travel. In-person collaboration sprints can reenergize working relationships.

      For example, one team holds a two-day quarterly summit at a different regional office. They use the time for strategy sessions, skill-sharing, team-building activities, and casual bonding over shared meals.

      Focus on onboarding and offboarding

      When employees join or leave hybrid teams, systematically transferring knowledge is especially important. Consistent documentation makes it much easier to get new hires up to speed and minimize disruption from departures. Fortune reports that Sugarwork, an AI-powered knowledge management platform, calculates that Fortune 500 companies lose $31.5B annually due to critical knowledge exiting their organizations.

      For instance, teams can create standard onboarding guides in Coda or Workboard that link out to key resources, have new hires shadow various colleagues’ virtual meetings in week one, and maintain an up-to-date team directory with areas of expertise.

      The coordination tax is real and is an unsustainable drain on resources and talent at the current growth rate. However, with focused leadership efforts on communication, collaboration, and knowledge capture, you can reduce your team’s collaboration tax burden and reap more benefits from flexible work arrangements. The companies that figure this out will have a real competitive advantage in the talent market. Is your organization ready to meet the challenge?
      Reduce Your Team's Collaboration Tax

      Recognize and pro-actively address the sources of collaboration tax. It drives burnout, conflict, and churn. Leaders who reduce it create higher performing teams. 

      Communicate how your target needs to hear

      Master the art of understanding and adapting to the communication needs of your audience. Discover how to select the appropriate channel and cater to specific requirements to enhance comprehension and teamwork.

      Define collaboration practices

      Identify and maintain consistency in remote team collaboration. Offer essential training and support to ensure team members effectively utilize available resources.

      Systematize knowledge management

      Align your team on creating and sharing knowledge. Once a solution is agreed upon, organization and curation become vital remote team tasks that must be embraced and upheld.

      Come together

      Building trust and strong relationships within remote teams is essential for optimal performance and it happens best in-person. Invest in in-person opportunities regularly, at least once a quarter.

      Onboard and offboard intentionally
      Without the presence of individuals to provide answers in person, the importance of onboarding is heightened. It is crucial to ensure that valuable knowledge does not depart along with team members who leave.

      Team coaches foster a team culture and communication practices that reduce the collaboration tax while improving the performance and enjoyment of a team. 

      If you’re a B2B technology leader looking to reduce the collaboration tax and take your team’s performance to the next level, consider investing in team coaching today.

      This article was derived from a post on LinkedIn.