Back-Pocket Work Tips to Increase Collaboration and Teamwork

Jessica Ferri for Asana

Most of your coworkers are a delight. You work well together, you get things done, you complain about the office iced coffee drought. Coworkers who commiserate together, stay together. But sometimes you can’t get everything done as promised because meetings are going longer than needed, processes are broken, or your team’s lost its spark. Collaborating is suddenly way more difficult than usual.

As hard as you try, you just can’t seem to get everyone focused and efficient. So how do you encourage teamwork and ensure office serenity at these difficult moments? Luckily, Asana has some back-pocket hacks that will bring your team together and get your work back on track.


Where Are We and What Are We Doing

How many times have you wondered, “Where are we with that project?” You end up sending a billion emails to all the wrong people, and at the end of the day, you still don’t know how much more work needs to be done for that thing that’s due tomorrow.

Back-Pocket Tip: With Asana, each task has an owner and a deadline. Instead of shooting off endless (and annoying) emails, you can manage your expectations for progress and get updates when things change. Then, manage your deadlines by working on the most difficult or important tasks first. Tedious work can be saved for any slumps you may have throughout the day.

Bad Vibes

It’s easy to get bogged down in a frustrating situation at work. Maybe you’ve been waiting forever for a new strategy from the higher-ups, or haven’t been seeing enough progress from an employee. Whining at your other coworkers isn’t the answer: no one likes hearing about other people’s problems, especially when they have a whole to-do list full of their own.


Back-Pocket Tip: Focus on problem-solving. Don’t dwell on what makes the situation horrible; focus your energy on how to fix it. Collaborate with the coworkers who are most willing to work together on a solution. Encourage trust and positivity by being transparent about inner office workings rather than keeping secrets. With Asana, tasks are public by default, so deadlines and responsibilities are clear, making it easier to identify and rectify weak links. Do, however, practice tough love. If you feel an employee isn’t performing well, hold them accountable for missed deadlines or other problems. But avoid passive-aggressive phrases and provide feedback with the intention of helping them (and by extension, the team) do better.

Never-Ending Meetings

Ah, the days of yore when meetings amongst your coworkers were made with the best intentions. “We’ll all get together and brainstorm! It’ll be great! There will be spontaneous genius flowing out of us as one collective mind, like the Steves (Jobs and Wozniak)!” In reality, everyone has their own agenda and the meeting drags on for two hours. You become dehydrated and your blood sugar starts crashing because there are 40 people in this meeting and no one thought to order food.


Back-Pocket Tip: Asana uses online, project-based conversations to facilitate collaboration and progress. For in-person meetings, those not present can easily review the crowd-sourced meeting agenda and add their own notes if needed, so everything is covered Remember to follow the cardinal rule of meetings: never invite more people than two pizzas can feed. When scheduling, integrate the 10-30-50-90 method for blocking out the correct amount of time. Use 10 minutes for check-ins and quick questions, 30 minutes for updates and one-on-ones, 50 minutes to discuss various problems and issues, and 90 minutes for brainstorming and problem-solving.

Insurmountable Emails

We live in a world where it seems easier to send an email (and cc everyone) than pick up the phone or simply walk to your coworker’s desk to ask, “Hey, where’s that file?” All the emails can become daunting, you can’t find what you need, and eventually you end up stressing about your bottomless unread folder.


Back-Pocket Tip: Suggest Asana as a way to end that infinite stream of emails that can never be tamed into submission. With Asana, every conversation is tied to projects, tasks, or teams. Organized to-dos are created automatically. Never again will you have to email your intern to ask for the latest product screenshots only to receive mislabeled photos of his cat. Best of all, you can follow or unfollow any project at any time, so you can opt out of team updates, or jump back in when needed with a single click.

Trying to Play Nice

The workplace is a battlefield of emotions, particularly for those of us who like our jobs and actually give a damn. Positive reinforcement can go a long way.


Back-Pocket Tip: Why not be as nice to your coworkers as you are to the people you follow on social media? The “hearts” feature on Asana allows you to say thanks, give a thumbs up, or vote for a task with a heart, Asana’s equivalent of the “like” button. It’s the simplest way to give feedback at work.

Thanks to the above hacks and Asana, you too can supercharge your team’s productivity. All it takes is an excellent work tracking application, plenty of water, and a smile.

Jessica Ferri is a writer based in Brooklyn. You can find her at jessicaferri.com.


This post is a sponsored collaboration between Asana and Studio@Gawker.

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