In today’s project management environment, the manpower working to fulfill a successful project is often dispersed. People are in different floors of a corporation, companies and/or in different cities or countries altogether. This fact makes successful collaboration among teammates working on the same project a difficult task.
Studies in the past have shown the amount of collaboration among people working on the same project is directly related to their proximity (Hinds & Kiesler, 2002). In another study analyzing communications among engineers working on the same project, it was noted if their cubicles were more than 25 feet apart, communication were practically null (as cited in Hansen, 2009). People tend to not work with people they do not know well (Hansen, 2009). Distance, let it be in the same office, building, or city, seems to be the one of the main challenges to overcome.
In today’s dispersed but connected work environment distance between employees and teammates is something us in the middle have to deal with everyday. To reap better communications leading to stronger collaboration get to know the people you interact with regardless of the distance involved. If they are in the next building, take a walk to speak with them vice sending an impersonal email. If they are in a different city again, don’t solely rely on email. Call and ask about their family, birthday, likes and dislikes… And when you do meet up with them for an event, don’t be shy about having a meal and a beer with a remote coworker.
Hansen, M.T. (2009). Collaboration: How leaders avoid the traps, create unity and reap big results. Harvard Business Press: United States
Hinds, J & Kiesler S. (2002). Distributed Work. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: United States.