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4 insights into the future of flexible work

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4 insights into the future of flexible work

It has now been around three years since the pandemic fundamentally changed the world of work in many areas and industries. And as it turns out, this move toward greater flexibility appears to be here to stay. This is confirmed by the numbers in the Atlassian report State of Teams from the year 2022:

22 percent of the teams surveyed work completely remotely. 35 percent work entirely in the shared office again. 43 percent follow hybrid models.

Around two thirds of all teams have therefore given up the traditional approach, with the high proportion of hybrid teams being particularly striking. That raises some interesting questions about the future of work, and State of Teams gives us some numbers on this.

Teams with geographical flexibility see the company more positively

Not surprisingly, employees feel better and more comfortable in companies when they give them the work flexibility they need. Remote work is popular, so much so that the ability to work remotely has become a mandatory requirement that job seekers make of employers.

The State of Teamsreport shows that 83 percent of teams that enjoy some degree of flexibility are positive about the company and its future. In the face-to-face teams, on the other hand, it is only 47 percent.

But workplace flexibility doesn’t necessarily equate to dedicated remote workspaces. In order for flexible working models to be successful, there is also a need for the option of meeting and coordinating in person. In turn, for many teams, the office offers better opportunities to socialize and coordinate face-to-face with colleagues. This is also possible virtually, but ultimately not the same as a face-to-face conversation.

Hybrid workplaces give teams a choice. Some activities require focus and long periods of concentration, for which the home office is often better suited than the busy office. On other days, staying in the office is the more sensible alternative, namely when it comes to interacting personally with other people.

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Modern organizations must provide software solutions that support both scenarios in the best possible way. Software needs to help people connect while fostering empowerment and engagement. A work management suite like Atlassian Together can help by centralizing digital team collaboration into products that are as flexible as the work models.

Teams with flexible workplaces consider themselves to be more innovative

A surprising finding of the report is that distributed teams seem to have more room to innovate than face-to-face teams. 71 percent of teams with at least some flexibility rate themselves as innovative, compared to 57 percent of in-person teams.

This raises a question or two, because continuously delivering innovations can be challenging in distributed scenarios that often even cross time zones. Personal sessions in front of a whiteboard and spontaneous conversations at the coffee machine are not that easy to replace digitally.

Accordingly, the company is required to provide processes and tools that support innovations in flexible scenarios. Each organization must experiment to create the best conditions for teams to develop ideas, initiatives and innovation projects for their unique needs.

Atlassian’s popular team playbook makes a number of suggestions here, for example Working Agreementswhich help to identify the procedural needs of teams, or Work-Life-Impact-Workshopswhich serve to understand the cultural requirements of the teams.

Teams believe that flexible working promotes transparency

63 percent of the report participants state that they have insights into organizational decisions. The change in the work landscape does not seem to affect transparency in companies. But with transparency comes a responsibility to ensure all voices are heard (and not just the loudest).

So there must be ways to involve team members in decision-making. What might these look like? Numerous options and tools are available here – from surveys to public discussions in digital systems to company-wide votes. Also instruments like that All-hands-Meetingas suggested in the team playbook, are particularly suited to hybrid environments to ensure that all opinions are heard.

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Teams with greater workplace flexibility spend more time in meetings

This aspect is problematic and alarming. When a team is working remotely, chances are they’re holding more synchronous meetings than a face-to-face team. State of Teams expresses this in concrete numbers: remote teams sit in meetings three hours longer per week than traditional office teams.

This is dangerous from many points of view: Synchronous communication is often inefficient or even ineffective, productive activities suffer from it, the regular additional time expenditure for meeting overkill harbors the risk of psychological stress up to and including burnout. As a result, organizations should be keen to reduce meeting volume in remote and hybrid teams.

The Atlassian software suite is a powerful weapon in the fight against meeting overload by promoting effective and efficient asynchronous communication. But it’s rarely enough to simply deploy the software and sit back. At the same time, a culture must emerge in which asynchronous communication is seen as something worthwhile and worthwhile.

In this context, it can make sense to regularly review team rituals and Ritual Resets to perform. This tool is used to examine the team’s meetings and processes as a group and then vote on what should stay the same, what should be improved and what should be eliminated.

Modern team software for modern workplaces

If flexible workspaces are the new norm in the company, the organization’s team software must reflect this development and support the new collaboration culture. Atlassian Together is a suite that bundles the best of Atlassian’s collaboration tools into one package and maps all important use cases of distributed teams: transparent project and task management, central knowledge management, asynchronous collaboration and coordination.

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Atlassian Together includes the following solutions:

Confluence is the wiki and social collaboration system for cross-team collaboration on content and for the central mapping of company knowledge.

Jira Work Management is aimed at larger teams with structured workflows that need to systematically manage their projects, tasks and processes.

Atlas is the new teamwork portal to promote alignment by visualizing and communicating teams, work and goals across the organization.

Trello is used in distributed teams to manage and organize tasks, meetings, brainstorming, etc.

Access forms the security gateway to Atlassian’s cloud solutions and is used as a user and access management tool.

Software solutions such as Atlassian Together form a central building block for companies that accept flexible workplaces and distributed teams as a manifestation of modern work culture. They have what it takes to reduce meeting overload, bring team members close together despite physical distance, and make effective and transparent asynchronous collaboration the standard.

Do you have questions about the products bundled in Atlassian Together? Do you want more about the Atlassian Cloud and know their potential for the teams in your company? Or does your organization need support in switching from the old server solutions to the cloud? Our Atlassian experts are happy to talk to you: get it contact with us!

Further information

Four barriers that hinder team productivity – and how to overcome them
Atlassian Together – a work management suite for the new world of collaboration
How modern cloud software turns hybrid working models into an opportunity
Atlassian Cloud and the productivity of your employees

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