This decade has seen a remarkable change in the work culture in the Silicon Valley, global teams working in a collaborative workspace, virtual working and more than ever before outsourcing and freelance contracts to remote  employees.
Is this the end of the cubicles?
Diversity in teams and working across the time zones may be the norm of our times.
In such a scenario, employers must seriously implement effective  team collaboration to gain a competitive advantage over others who don’t.

In an article in the San Jose Mercury News about the new trend of Valley companies dump cubicles for open office spaces, the authors Mark Boslet and Katherine Conrad elaborate on the new accelerated productivity at the workplace:

“Productivity also is up, said Larry Matarazzi, Cisco’s senior director of workplace retargets. Ted Baumuller, a senior manager in Cisco’s information technology department, agrees. He said the time it takes to make decisions has been cut by 25 to 30 percent because it’s easier to round up the team, and collegial relationships have improved by working in a more open environment.

Baumuller believes he is much more accessible now that he no longer has a door. His office is wherever he wants it to be – from a couch to a chair by the window, known as a touch-down site. Workers need only look across the floor to find him.”

Employees and management need to emphasize better communication skills in this new environment which enforces or encourages more collaborative working. Workers need to be more tolerant and respectful towards different work styles and cultures.

Some tips to help you be more effective in a collaborative workplace:

  • Listen first, talk next.
    Emphasize more on listening and clarifying the issues, arrive at a conclusion only when you know that you have paraphrased the queries or concerns and your colleague agrees to the same. In short – Listen, paraphrase and clarify. Follow this simple rule to avoid misunderstanding and mis-communication.
  • Be open to suggestions.
    In a collaborative workplace more interaction is encouraged on personal basis than going back and forth over emails. Suggestions and discussions over your coding style or management style could be coming in more and more with this approachable style of the new workplace. Be open to suggestions, be patient and control retorts and instant feedbacks. It’s hard to eat your words up, and if you feel more comfortable with the Email decision making then use it more as your preferred way of communication to colleagues and management.
Question: Are you managing or working with remote teams and manager? What has been your experience?