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Connect - Collaborate - Communicate

Introducing our second series of learning bursts. This series is all about working from home and because we like an acronym we’re calling it WFH: Connect - Collaborate - Communicate (okay, the second part isn’t an acronym!).

In this series we’ll share some top tips for managers, teams and individuals to get the best out of WFH, including being productive, combating loneliness and staying connected.

For more modules and topics go to our online learning page.


This week, in the second of our learning bursts from our ‘Working from home’ theme, we’re giving you some top tips on the importance of collaboration and how to do it successfully while WFH.

Introduction to Collaboration Theme

Stephanie Davies introduces this learning bursts about collaboration. It explores why it’s important for our wellbeing and why it’s good to collaborate on, well… collaboration.

Hack - Creating the Right Environment for Collaboration

Want to be switched ‘on’ when you collaborate with others? In this video Laura Drur will be sharing some tips on how to ensure you are ‘collaboration ready’ when working remotely.


Reading time approx. 5 minutes. Collaborate successfully when working at home by creating

Collaboration - The Key to Staying Connected

Collaboration is the key to innovation and don’t we just need that in these times?

And there’s an added benefit in current times too. For those forced into new WFH routines, collaboration can help combat isolation and loneliness by keeping people and teams connected, while providing purpose and focus for individuals.

Millions of people around the world are embracing platforms such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom, which have achieved more growth in the past two months than they ever could have possibly  imagined.

The good news for those of us who had only just mastered the art of PowerPoint before the world turned upside down, is that these collaboration tools are easy to use. And there are plenty of helpful online guides for those just starting out on the virtual collaboration journey too.

At Laughology we’ve embraced the online world with gusto. So much so that the team have suggested replacing me (Stephanie – Founder and Head of Happiness) with an avatar and have swapped Ian from IT for a Russian chatbot called Ivanka (she has more personality and tells better jokes).

If you are just embarking on your own collaboration odyssey, or if you are finding your way through these new ways of working, we’d like to share a few things we’ve learned that will hopefully help you to get the most from this brave new world. 

  • Firstly, it’s all about the timing. You may have noticed that in the WFH world, people work to different beats. Some start early, some work late. Some have children to home school or volunteering commitments. It’s important to set times and sync diaries so everyone is available at the right time. Some online tools let you all know when others are free to collaborate. Doodle lets you share diaries and create timetables, for example, so you can create boundaries. Microsoft Teams and similar collaboration tools can be set to alert others when you are busy or unavailable, which is handy when you need to concentrate on a piece of work uninterrupted, or when Loose Women is on.
  • Secondly, we’ve found that it helps to establish some communication norms. Not every interaction has to be a Zoom. Sometimes people don’t want to be in front of a camera and sometimes the need does not require it. If, for example, before corona (BC) you would have dealt with a specific issue with a phone call, it’s probably fine to still deal with the same issue with a phone call. Likewise, not every brief has to be a call. Sometimes emails are okay. Try not to fall into the trap we like to call Zoomania, where the novelty of the new platform drives you to use it for everything. Otherwise you’ll develop Zoomadness, which eventually leads to Zoomelancholy.
  • Thirdly, create an intentional space for collaboration. This might be a group channel you set up on Teams or a specific area on Workplace. Set parameters so there are hours of the day or times of the week when you go there.
  • Lastly, try agile working, even if you’re working by yourself on a project. The theory of Agile Project Management has been around for decades. The best analogy to describe it is a rugby match. You have an overall game plan, but you continually review tactics and re-evaluate together as a team as you progress through the game – or project. The simple steps below are based on Agile theory but have been adapted to help combat isolation if you are working by yourself. They also increase outcomes, help with problem-solving and drive innovation.
  1. Plan your idea. A high-level overview will do, you don’t need details at this stage. What do you want to achieve? Who is the beneficiary? What problem are you solving?  Be clear on outcomes and any ideas you have.
  2. Create a simple briefing document that communicates the above. Keep to one page.
  3. Assemble a buddy group of three people. That’s all you need. The group works best when each member has a different skill set.
  4. Share your ideas with the group before you meet, either virtually or together, observing social distancing criteria if and when government guidelines allow. (Presently recommendations are to work from home where possible and not to make unnecessary journeys, so we do not advocate this). If there are specific areas you’re stuck on, outline these in your brief.
  5. Encourage people to come to the meeting with two or three ideas to discuss.
  6. Send a clear briefing document before you meet and spend 30-40 minutes chatting through the ideas, but no longer. Be clear about what you want to achieve in that time. 
  7. Each member of the meeting can take away something to work on for next time, or if you are working by yourself, take away three practical ways you can bring the idea to life.
  8. Allow a few days to implement the ideas. Then come back together and repeat steps 4,5,6 and 7.
  9. Try to meet just three times, in order to fast-track to a solution. However, some teams continually do this for progressive improvement.
  10. Once complete, share learning and the outcomes with the whole group and start again.


This week we have two cheat sheets; one to help you create the right environment for collaboration and the other to help set up peer groups within your organisation.

DOWNLOAD: Technology for managing remotely

DOWNLOAD: Peer groups for combatting loneliness

Download the Cheat Sheets

These cheat sheets are designed for managers and teams. They give practical tips for managers to be able to create the right environment for teams to feel connected and engaged, as well as top tips for combating loneliness through peer learning.

Coming up...

Coming up next week is our final part of the WFH learning burst series and it’s all about communication. Working from home means communicating has to be adapted and we need to flex our communication and listening styles to suit the person in front of you. Next week, we’ll explore different ways, methods and platforms to support this with our usual practical tips, takeaways and fun hacks to watch.

Free virtual workplace learning & development classrooms. Register now.

big chat about mental health logo


Are organisations and companies just paying lip service?
Join some of the most interesting and respected voices in positive psychology for our Our Big Chat about…Thinking outside the tick box, inaugural webinar. Our two and half hour interactive event will look at the best mental health strategies for organisations, identifying what works and what doesn’t.

Dave McPartlin:

Dave is the Headteacher of Flakefleet Primary School.
Creating the right environment for people and communities to flourish

Sunita Hirani

Sunita is one of the BBC’s key equality, diversity and inclusivity experts.
Why inclusion is essential for mental wellbeing

Professor Sir Cary Cooper

Cary is one the world’s most influential voices in occupational health and wellbeing.
Enhancing Mental Wellbeing at Work. Evidence based strategies for creating a wellbeing culture at work.

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