Last week I felt I wasted precious time with a colleague, because I had not planned the right type of work for the situation. My colleague and I were working face to face for the first time in weeks.
We got a lot done, but as we came to the end of our day, I knew there was still a lot to cover. My lesson from this is that we each wasted time doing some of our own work during the day, when we could have prepared ahead, and devoted all the time together to things that needed a joint discussion, or that one of us needed to show the other.
For me, this is just a reminder that with hybrid working now being the norm, squeezing in all the comments, updates, advice, reminders etc that we don’t even notice we provided when we are in the office every day together takes work.
I need to be less accidental when I am working alongside my colleagues as I might not get a chance to spend so much time with them for another few weeks.
If this resonates with you, here are my criteria for deciding whether to collaborate or work alone:
- Is this work something you need or want their view on because they have more expertise or more up to date experience of the situation than you?
- Do you need to chat your work through and ask for ideas or do receive reassurance that they think you are on the right path?
- Do you need to know the same information about something, so you need to up date each other, or attend the same meeting together or take part in the same training at the same time so you can share your learning?
- Is their work an enabler for yours and vice versa, so it would help to know what progress you have made, what issues you have and when things will be finished?
On the flip side, there is work that can be done when you are not with your colleagues:
- You know what needs to be done and you have the skills to be able to do it
- You need to concentrate and any social interaction will disturb your train of thought
- The scope of the work is clear and does not need to be debated
Hybrid working has made time with colleagues a precious commodity. When we have opportunities for face to face engagement, we need to plan ahead to get the most from the our time together.
I hope these ideas are useful for you. Have a look at previous articles in this series for more inspiration.