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Chris Farinacci

Head of Business, Asana

The UK’s rapid shift to remote and distributed work has accelerated digital transformations, as keeping teams connected has become the top priority for businesses.

A recent survey1 found that nearly two-thirds (63%) of UK knowledge workers have increased their use of collaboration tools since transitioning to remote working, also known as ‘distributed work models’. 

Even before this shift, collaboration tool usage had skyrocketed by more than 50%2 over the previous two decades. Yet, productivity levels in the UK had failed to keep pace.

Additionally, burnout has reached a fever pitch, with the World Health Organization officially designating it as an official occupational phenomenon last year.

Despite the incremental benefits that collaboration tools deliver, they also contribute to a collaboration paradox.

If we rely too heavily on collaboration tools for remote and distributed work, we add fuel to an ‘always-on’ culture, where chat notifications, video conferencing fatigue, and endless pings can consume our days even more so than in the physical office.

Ultimately, teams that stay organised and connected can make progress together.

Combatting the collaboration paradox with clarity 

What drives the collaboration paradox to rear its ugly head? Despite the spread of collaboration tools, many distributed teams lack clarity of who is responsible for what, by when.

People may struggle to pinpoint whether work is on track, and lack predictive power in understanding whether their team can actually achieve its stated goals.

When you’re not sitting next to your colleagues, there can be an incredible lack of real-time clarity around these fundamental questions.

When teams lack clarity, work becomes less meaningful, engagement levels plummet, and burnout increases. 

Why work-management and clarity go hand in hand

Work management tools like Asana provide this clarity as a living system of record that enables teams to orchestrate their work, from daily tasks to strategic initiatives. 

According to our research, nearly twice as many employees using a work management tool for remote and distributed work felt more connected and supported by their manager (30%) than those who didn’t use them (17%).

Additionally, 55% of those using work management software felt more productive, compared to those that didn’t (35%). Ultimately, teams that stay organised and connected can make progress together.

Solving the collaboration paradox

IT departments have valiantly rushed to equip teams with tools to work remotely.

But, as organisations begin to plan for a phased return to the office, where distributed work plays a key role, businesses need to fundamentally rethink the systems today’s workplaces rely on. 

All distributed teams need a real-time system of clarity – to manage who’s doing what when – that aligns attention with intention for more time spent achieving both individual and company goals.

As we adapt to the new world of work, these mission critical tools are more essential than ever to solving the collaboration paradox and fostering a culture of clarity where distributed teams thrive.

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