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Hadlee Simons / Android Authority
Consumer technology changes all the time, and it’s usually for the better in most cases. Yet, there’s something charming about retro tech. Whether it’s nostalgia, design, or the actual practicality of it all, there are plenty of reasons to love old-school gadgets.
With that in mind, we thought it would be fun to ask our staff here at Android Authority about their most cherished retro tech, as well as the older gadgets they’ve always wanted.
Even though this thing is an absolute chonker, the glass made for the Pentax 67 was incredibly special. The 105mm 2.4 lens is one of the most interesting and compelling lenses ever made. While I already have a couple of 6×7 cameras, I still want this one because of the glass. Also because the Pentax 67 has one of the most satisfying mirror slaps I’ve used.
It is the perfect example of form meets function. The interface was absolutely perfect. Even today it stands out for its simplicity and effectiveness. You could quite literally navigate the entire interface without looking at it. That plus the ability to carry nearly all of your music library in your pocket.
Philips FWM-567 HiFi — Ryan Thomas-Shaw
Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority
Ryan followed Dhruv in opting for audio-related retro gear. He chose the 2003-era Philips FWM-567 HiFi as his number one pick.
My father owned a variant of the system and we spent many years watching films and listening to music with it. As a surprise one year, my uncle bought me the 567s as a birthday present. I’ve held a good few parties hosted by this HiFi and everyone I know loves it (apart from my neighbours!). Seven years later, I still use them with my TV and Onkyo receiver.
Sega Master System — Andy Walker
Andy Walker / Android Authority
Andy chose a gaming system as his favorite retro gadget too (we like our games at Android Authority, okay). However, instead of continuing the Nintendo love-fest, he opted for the Sega Master System. Sega’s 1980s console wasn’t anywhere near as successful as the Sega Genesis (or the Mega Drive, to give it its other, better name), but it still played host to several notable titles, as Andy explained:
Back when we referred to gaming as ‘TV games,’ the Master System was our family’s first major console. I spent most of my toddler hours playing Alex Kidd, while my dad loved playing Great Golf. Great memories!
Andy has two other neat old-school gadgets in his possession that he’s particularly interested in:
I dug out my family’s old Kodak KB10 and Civica MX-V film cameras the other day! Not sure if they still fire, but should probably test them pretty soon.
The retro tech Andy really wants: He couldn’t stick to just one desired retro gadget, saying there were too many old-school devices on his wishlist. “I’ve always wanted a Game Boy Color and an iPod Classic,” he eventually admitted.
Akai Portable DVD Player — Adamya Sharma
Adamya Sharma / Android Authority
When it comes to retro tech, streaming junkie Adamya opted for her Akai Portable DVD player — and for good reason:
I’ve always been a movie addict. This thing served me well when I didn’t have a TV or a laptop and wanted to watch movies in bed late into the night. Also, it was the only thing my parents allowed at the time, with pre-approved DVDs. Obviously, I had my ways around that rule.
Modern tech is much better than retro tech. Nostalgia with gadgets is like remembering an ex. You want to revisit them, but when you do, you realize it wasn’t worth it compared to what you have today.
You're reading The Android Authority Team’S Favorite Classic Retro Tech
That burden sharpens the mind. We only want to give you the best we can.
In 2023, the Android Authority editorial team, and especially the reviewers, made a list and checked it twice to decide the pick for best phone of 2023: Editor’s Choice.
The criteria is tweaked each year to sort the wheat from the chaff. Here’s how it went in 2023:
“First, we create a shortlist based on the most important and well-rated phones we’ve tested throughout the year. Then we ensure our list has devices from all major brands and price points. We include devices sold in the US only as well as globally. Finally, we submit the list to a vote. Our most experienced reviewers assign points based on their picks and the phone with the most points overall wins. Simple.”
The top five in reverse order:
Fifth place (tied): iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro Max
Once again, Apple released another solid iPhone. Nothing extraordinary over the iPhone 12, but another good iteration.
(I mean, you might be surprised by an Android site here. But we’re not loyalists in a cursed way. Both deserve a top 5 finish!)
Third+fourth place (tied): Google Pixel 6 Pro and Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
“Reinforcing just how great both Samsung’s and Google’s product lines were this year, we had a tie for third place: the Pixel 6 Pro and Galaxy Z Fold 3. Google’s more expensive phone and Samsung’s fancier foldable both scored highly with our team. Both devices add a telephoto lens that the base model Pixel 6 and Samsung’s other 2023 foldable, the Galaxy Z Flip 3, miss out on.”
“They also give us a glimpse of where Google and Samsung are placing their future bets.”
Second place: Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
It launched with everything, a peak smartphone with the best of Samsung throughout.
But at $1,200, it wasn’t exactly a value proposition.
Annnnnd the winner — Android Authority’s Editor’s Choice phone of the year: Google Pixel 6
“When the dust settled on voting this year it wasn’t even close. We had a very clear winner on our hands. The Pixel 6 offers a feature set almost as full as its more expensive stablemate but with a price tag that cannot be ignored.”
“At just $599, we called the Pixel 6 one of the easiest-to-recommend phones of the year in our review. Google is finally taking making smartphones seriously and the Pixel 6 is a breath of fresh air. It packs much of the flagship experience of the Pixel 6 Pro but shaves off just the right parts to get the price down. We think the Pixel 6 is the best phone for most people in 2023.”
Plus, now it’s your chance to cast a vote:
As in previous years, we want you to be involved, too!
You can vote on a raft of smartphones released this year in the Reader’s Choice awards.
There’ll be a few rounds: phones that get enough votes will make it through to further rounds before a final winner is voted on, so check back in.
🔨 The Amazon Appstore is finally working on Android 12 (Android Authority).
📚 Kindle features wishlist: 6 things we want Amazon to add to its e-readers, and yup, yes please! (Android Authority).
👼 “Giving a tablet to my toddler was both genius and a disaster” (Android Authority).
💰 Semiconductor makers will spend $152 billion on new fabs and equipment in 2023, up 34% (AnandTech).
🎫 Spider-Man: No Way Home has grabbed $600 million worldwide, and the second biggest movie opening of all time in the US (Bloomberg).
🚐 FedEx receives its first electric BrightDrop delivery vans: coming to LA in 2023 (Ars Technica).
🎮 Heh: Some Halo Infinite players have to use Xbox dev kits at the first major tournament: not even Microsoft has enough Xbox consoles (The Verge).
🌜 NASA’s Juno spacecraft has captured sounds from Jupiter’s moon Ganymede, and NASA has put up a 50-second clip of spectrum shifted sound so we can hear it (NASA).
🌑 This is cool: some lunar samples have never been opened to give the next generation of scientists, tools, and technology, new insights. Now, finally, a vacuum-sealed container from the 1972 moon landing will finally be opened (Gizmodo).
🪁 A giant kite will pull a ship across the ocean next month (Gizmodo).
A nice simple meme for this quieter time:
Cheers, Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor
Daily Authority: 🤔 Chromebook tablets?
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Daily Authority: 🚀 Launch season again!
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Google has integrated Password Checkup into all devices running Android 9 and above. In short, it alerts you when the password you used has been compromised, and what to do about it. It’s just like the one that is in Chrome, which means useful but not mind-blowing. It’s still a positive step for making security risks easier to understand for non-technical people especially.
Dark mode in Google Maps being offered widely will help people who use the tool at night, and save on battery too. Previously, Google Maps had a quasi dark mode for navigation at night, but now this feature will offer dark mode, always, no matter what you’re doing or what time of day. (When it’s available, you can enable the low-light option by choosing “Always in Dark Theme” in settings).
There’s a way to schedule texts, which has been possible for a while but now rolls out to more phones. It’s baked into the latest Android Messages app.
And in brief, Google Assistant can now work while your phone is locked by turning on the setting, and another I want to point out is TalkBack, which is useful for visually impaired people. It now makes screen reading more powerful and there are more gestures for interacting with apps and so on.
While we’re here, Firefox dropped a nice set of updates too!
The really interesting ones are:
Multiple Picture-in-Picture for basically any web videos, including YouTube of course.
And more importantly, Total Cookie Protection. In short, the new Firefox 86 takes the fight to ad-tech by maintaining a separate “jar” for each individual site, meaning third-parties won’t be able to cross-reference cookies, and therefore, your data, from various sites. This prevents your data via various cookies from being pieced together to figure out who you are.
Still, give Firefox its dues because it’s taking it to Chrome in all the right ways.
🥽 Sony formally announces PlayStation 5 VR kit with DualSense-inspired controls, but won’t be out in 2023 (Android Authority).
♻ Try out a Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 or Z Flip 5G for 100 days risk-free, with a new program in the US (Android Authority).
📺 Android TV could have some serious competition ahead with LG opening up Web OS to third-parties (Android Authority).
📳 Advanced haptics are coming to Android with Qualcomm’s help (Android Authority).
🔥 Lowest ever price on the Chromebook Duet, and more cheap Chromebook deals (Android Authority).
🎶 It’s the last day you can transfer Google Play Music over to YouTube Music (Android Authority).
🍎 Sign In with Apple reportedly under federal scrutiny (CNET).
💻 There’s a worrying M1 Mac oddity: alarmingly high SSD write usages are being reported as it appears the M1 thrashes its swapfile, even with 16GB of RAM. That could be bad news for the life of the SSDs. But some reports include older Intel Macs, so maybe a macOS issue that’s more prevalent on M1s? In any case, Apple will be working on a fix (iMore).
🔋 ‘Next-gen’ USPS vehicles can use gas or electric motors, coming 2023 (Engadget).
🃏 Stardew Valley is now a cooperative board game, for $55 (The Verge).
🔌 A guide to HDMI Cables for next-gen gaming (hint: only bother with HDMI 2.1 compatibility aka Ultra High Speed HDMI, with certification) (Wired).
📈 Are The Office and Friends bets paying off for Peacock and HBO Max? Or hurting Netflix in their absence? (The Verge).
📪 Report: Fry’s Electronics going out of business, shutting down all stores (Ars Technica).
🤔 “In what way is it expensive to be poor?” (r/askreddit).
“Amazon announced its “Day 1” hardware program last year as a way to build unusual hardware products in limited quantities, get feedback from users and eventually make them more widely available.”
“Now, the company is expanding Day 1 with a new program called “Built It.” Like Day 1, Built It features some unconventional devices, but it’s directly taking consumer interest into account when deciding whether to sell the products at all in a way that’s similar to what Kickstarter and Indiegogo have been doing.”
“The first three Built It products — a cuckoo clock, smart nutrition scale and sticky note printer — were announced today. You can order them now, but Amazon will only make them if they hit a sales goal by March 19th.”
This is a weird middle ground, and yes, I know Amazon announced it last week but I’ve been biding my time!
And Amazon says “it’s a whole lotta fun”.
It is not fun.
In fairness, while I do get some heebie-jeebies, there’s at least one decent thing here:
Amazon doesn’t take your money when you agree to buy one of these devices that won’t be made for months, unlike Kickstarter or Indiegogo.
You only pay when it ships.
I’m still not a fan.
Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor
Daily Authority: Early Pixel 5a leaks, Samsung’s four-years of updates, more
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Daily Authority: Breakthrough technologies of 2023, and more
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The third generation of Samsung’s finest has moved past its prototype roots in the original Fold. The Fold 3 has, for example, mastered water, with an IPX8 certification against water ingress meaning it’s all sealed up, and it’s more metal and glass than ever.
I wouldn’t be swimming with it, but it’s pretty cool that it’ll withstand a dunking or a coffee drenching. It’s very slightly more trim, too.
The outer panel is all sorted out. The Fold 2’s was fine but the latest is now 120Hz, and opening and closing should now feel smoother.
The under-display selfie cam is a nice implementation: no cameras visible. Samsung’s take is different, using a pattern of the top of the punch hole. When you need the camera, the display above the camera turns off, so you can see where you need to look. Otherwise, the big display is full screen.
That big display is protected by a new PET plastic that’s more durable and less scratch resistant.
The Galaxy Z Fold 3 has S Pen support and that’ll either be great or meh depending on your take. At least it seems more useful on the big ol’ 7.6-inch display.
It’s now going for $1,799.
Truly though, once again, Samsung has such an array of offers from its own store and via carriers to drop that price down: trade-in bonuses, credits, inclusions.
It depends on your region but all I saw yesterday on Twitter was friends and colleagues amazed at just how much they could get off, via trade-ins on old and even broken phones.
The Flip 3 is now the “affordable” foldable and it’s been given a set of sturdy improvements, the outer display is way better, and it’s also IPX8 protected for those water splashes.
I liked the blending of the outer display with the camera housing too, and Samsung has done a good job of making it more useful.
When you open it, you’ll find a 6.7-inch AMOLED interior screen that runs at 120Hz. There’s a seam but it’s less obvious.
On both the Flip and the Fold, Samsung has more custom software, and is working with big-time app developers like Spotify and Netflix and so on to make use of things like split-screen and multiple apps at once.
What is interesting is that Samsung gently positions the Flip 3 as the less masculine option and more fashionable, but my tech pals who had hands-on thought it might’ve been more interesting than the Fold 3, partly due to it now being the same price as the S21 Plus, depending on final config.
It has similar internals, the Snapdragon 888 chip being key, but the battery is much smaller at 3,300mAh — though if you keep it shut and mainly use the outer screen, you’ll eek out longer life.
At $999, it’s $400 cheaper than last year, and again, deals make it even cheaper.
Already, T-Mobile is offering the Flip 3 with a buy one get one free offer in case you can use two phones at once.
Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch 4 Classic:
New chipset, new Wear OS, new health-tracking features, the Watch 4 and Watch 4 Classic come with more and better everything, including software improvements that look interesting to dig into.
The function of the physical rotating bezel everyone enjoys is coming back to the Watch 4 Classic, and there are two sizes at 42 and 46mm, plus LTE options.
The Watch 4 starts at $250 — the Watch 4 Classic adds some classiness and that bezel for $350.
Both devices have the same processor, memory, and storage, with the Watch 4 the lighter sporty edition with an aluminum back, while the Watch 4 Classic goes for stainless steel and weighs a little more.
Keen to see reviews of this, but Samsung’s added a body composition monitor which offers more insight into your meat sack: It details your skeletal muscle, basal metabolic rate (BMR), water retention, and body fat percentage, all with a wrist-sensor.
All the other health tracking (heart-rate monitor, ECG, activity tracking, SpO2 levels, sleep, stress, etc) are improved, but reviews are crucial here to understand exactly how far Samsung has stepped up the competition.
And, it’s not compatible with iOS, and some functions are only with Galaxy smartphones. And curiously, you can’t track blood pressure in the USA or Canada and some other regions due to health authorities requiring approvals.
Galaxy Buds 2: After all the coverage and leaks, these do look handy, but now Samsung really has confused its lineup:
Samsung’s better, more robust flagship earbuds remain the Galaxy Buds Pro. The Buds 2 cost $150, yet the Buds Pro are regularly on sale for just $20 more.
⚖ Senate bill would make Apple and Google loosen their grip on app stores, but a long way from a Senate bill to law, and a lot of lobbying too (Android Authority).
♻ WhatsApp to finally allow iOS to Android migration, though only on two Samsung phones for now (Android Authority).
🔜 Android 12 is now at the brink of stable release as beta 4 dropped yesterday, somehow Google timing it to hide away with Samsung’s Unpacked taking all the headlines (Android Authority).
📸 Google Pixel 6 camera and chipset details hinted in latest Android 12 beta (Android Authority).
👉 Motorola’s latest G series phone is the G60S, and it’s aiming squarely for the Brazilian market (Android Authority).
👩🏫 Zoom’s new focus mode could keep students from distracting each other: see the teacher, only, not other students (The Verge).
📨 Mailchimp is exploring a sale at $10B+ valuation: It never raised outside funding, interestingly (Bloomberg).
🍄 Mushroom-based meat alternative Australian startup Fable Food raises $4.8M, now heading to the US (TechCrunch).
🐤 Yes, Twitter changed its font, to something called Chirp (The Verge).
🔋 Ford delays Mach E orders due to the global chip shortage (Engadget).
⛓ Lionel Messi received a ‘large number’ of crypto fan tokens as part of his PSG package. Probably more just marketing than substance, given the exact number wasn’t given… (The Block).
🤔 “I think an AI is flirting with me. Is it OK if I flirt back?” (Wired).
🐲 Almost a dragon: A pretty terrifying flying dinosaur has been found that definitely terrorized Australian creatures in the ancient inland seas (CNET).
💉 2023: Russian marketing firms tried — and failed — to smear vaccines with weak Planet of the Apes memes. Real users mocked the whole thing. (Ars Technica).
😷 “Why did we go from a Delta variant of COVID straight to Lambda? What happened to Epsilon, Zeta, Eta, Theta, Iota, and Kappa?” (r/askscience)
💪 Fun: Here’s the hydraulic press vs the Nokia 3310 (r/gifs).
“cryo” meaning cryogenics, which is to say: air and supplies (which I think was a joke…)
And CS stood for the Reaction Control System, which is asking for more rocket fuel for maneuvering the shuttle, meaning, they wanted to stay up a little longer.
It’s like emailing from summer camp to say you never want to go home!
The Mac did a few other things, but one fun one is that it functioned as an alarm clock for performing certain experiments.
And, the crew wore “custom WristMac watches” which connected via serial port.
It’s just like today, just everything was a little more clunky. Imagine what we’ll have in 30 years time! Hopefully more and different to the Apple Watch 36, or Galaxy Watch 34…
Just don’t think about it being the year 2051,
Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor.
Daily Authority: Mi too 👨🏻🤝👨🏻
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Daily Authority: Magic 3 ✨
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blog / Workforce Development 5 Benefits of Team Training in the Workplace
Training your employees in new skillsets and new technologies is an excellent investment. But the benefits of team training, where you teach a working group together, extend even further for your business. As noted by Peter Senge of the MIT Sloan School of Management, who authored The Fifth Discipline, “Team learning is vital because teams, not individuals, are the fundamental learning unit in modern organizations.”
With talent shortages making it more challenging to hire new workers, upskilling your in-house teams simply makes sense. More than half (53%) of executives rank building skills within their existing workforce as the number one way to close skills gaps in their organizations, according to a recent survey by McKinsey & Company.
The Benefits of Team Training
To supercharge the benefits of upskilling your workforce, train your employees in teams where they can collaborate in a learning environment. Here are five benefits of team training for your workforce.1. Team training helps build employee relationships.
Your in-house team structure dovetails nicely with proven learning strategies that increase learning. Cohort-based learning (a model used in Emeritus’ online courses) places students in a group. They interact during classes, as opposed to each student watching a lecture and completing coursework alone. This type of education, allowing students to progress through the curriculum at a unified pace, became popular in the 1990s after it was realized students could motivate each other, increasing student retention and course completion rates.
Cohort-based learning is inherently hands-on, and a recent Harvard University study has shown that students gain more knowledge from active learning than from lectures. The collaborative aspects help students develop social capital and social networks, which can improve their understanding during class. It also impacts their future professional development by establishing strong social ties within professional networks.
Fostering these social benefits within a team unit brings the benefits of cohort-based education directly into the workplace and impacts team dynamics.2. Team training increases employee engagement.
Following the engaged learning in team training, team members can apply their knowledge directly to the work environment. Engaged employees are enthusiastic participants willing to invest their energy in the company’s success. Not only do engaged workers give their best in the workplace, but they are also less likely to leave the company, improving retention rates.
The statistics on the benefits of engaged teams are striking and measurable. A meta-analysis by Gallup found 36% of U.S. employees and 20% of the global workforce are engaged at work. According to Gallup, when compared to the least engaged teams, the most engaged teams had:
23% higher profits
10% higher customer loyalty
14-18% in productivity gains
81% less absenteeism
18-43% lower employee turnover
When you train a team together, you hit many of the features that improve engagement. These include opportunities for development and for employee voices to be heard. Though engagement and job satisfaction are not synonymous, engaged employees are usually much happier in their jobs. They find meaning and purpose in what they do and feel fulfilled by investing in their work products.
In addition, training a team offers a venue for professionals to interact differently with their colleagues. And it allows for improved workplace relationships, increasing social cohesion within the team.3. Training a team improves collaboration.
Even if your team training focuses on a technical subject area (like data analytics or blockchain), your team members will practice applying soft skills such as critical thinking, teamwork, communication, problem-solving, and flexibility.
Having employees go through the experience together, discuss topics with each other, and learn cognitive frameworks for evaluating and applying techniques and theories to their projects will expand their ability to work well together. Additionally, an instructor guiding team members in working together on problems offers new input on how the team can function efficiently. This improves the outcomes of the work your team produces.4. It benefits productivity.
As noted above, engaged teams are more productive. In addition, teams learn and adapt more quickly than individuals, according to Deloitte. Basically, when all team members learn in an environment together, they can apply the skills they gain to the group’s tasks. Collectively learning new ideas and methods gives employees common language and understanding to help them envision more successful and worthwhile goals for their business unit.
Productivity improvements accelerate when groups learn together. The whole team can get on board with a new way of completing tasks quickly. Teams that collaborate well are more productive, as the many benefits of team training feed into productivity gains.5. Training a team can improve company culture.
A healthy company culture embraces change, inquiry, learning, and discussion, and invests in its workforce through learning and development. Offering development opportunities to teams improves engagement, job satisfaction, and overall happiness, contributing to a positive workplace culture.
There’s no better way to embed the idea of learning into your organization than to offer team training. A learning format where team members interact helps inject a learning culture into everyday processes. Group learning encourages flexible thinking, which can set a course for your company that’s both culturally and technologically resilient. Promoting training within an organization helps employees feel valued and derive meaning from their work. This fosters a culture where the company mission includes individual well-being.
How to Train a Team
for the Future
As Senge once said in The Fifth Discipline, “A learning organization is an organization that is continually expanding its capacity to create its future.” You can add skills to your workplace by training individual workers, but you will gain even more through team training. Individual employees will enjoy the long-term benefits of upskilling. But the immediate application of learning within a collaborative team will help your company realize gains more quickly.
Engaged employees, learning together, can then apply 21st-century skills training to their planning and ideation, creating a future that will put your company in the best position to survive and thrive in an ever-changing marketplace.
By Julia Tell
You can schedule a meeting with Emeritus Enterprise to learn about employee training options for your workforce. We can help you deliver a curriculum that targets the hard and soft skills your employees need to thrive.
The number of employees working at home has increased by 103 percent since 2005. According to Global Workplace Analytics, 3.7 million Americans — or 2.8 percent of the workforce — now work from home at least half the time. Although the employee workforce grew by 1.9 percent between 2013 and 2014, the telecommuter population grew by 5.6 percent.
The trend makes sense for an increasing number of businesses — roughly 50 percent of the workforce has a job where it’s feasible to replace travel with technology. As far back as 2014, the Harvard Business Review reported that working from home can lead to a dramatic, 13.5 percent increase in productivity while contributing to overall employee wellness and happiness.
Employees who work from home at least part of the time are often healthier, more engaged, less distracted, more productive and far cheaper to employ — but what does teambuilding look like in the era of the mobile, remote workplace? Can a far-flung, geographically scattered workforce achieve the same level of cohesiveness, communication, engagement, collaborative strength, accountability and overall efficiency as those who work the same hours at the same place?
Here is a look at the fundamentals of remote team building.Project Aristotle: Psychological Safety and Intellectual Equality
In 2023, the New York Times analyzed Google’s Project Aristotle, a massive, years-long analysis of team-building dynamics. The project examined environments, gender pairings, personality types, schedules and a litany of other variables to try to discern why some teams flourished and others lagged behind.
Project Aristotle revealed that there are very few identifiable patterns that separate healthy, efficient teams from less productive teams. The composition of the team, the management style of the leader, the culture of the group and even the task at hand seemed to be irrelevant. Just two things separated the strong groups from the weak groups:
Intellectual equality: Teams thrived when they each were given the same amount of time to share their thoughts, regardless of whether the team culture was to talk over each other or to allot specific time for each individual to express themselves.
Psychological safety: The teams that thrived were those whose members didn’t have to “put on a work face” when they joined the group, but could instead retain the traits that defined them outside of work.
Google has collected more data and invested more money, time and intellectual manpower than perhaps any other company in their bid to understand team dynamics, and their findings can be applied to both the physical and the remote workspace.The Baseball Concept: Bridging the Physical Divide
There are drawbacks to remote work. And although working from home may seem like “the ultimate luxury,” it can be easy for telecommuters to:
Feel isolated: Hallway chitchat and water cooler talk can serve as a binding agent that telecommuters miss.
Become distracted: It requires discipline to conduct work in the area where your life takes place.
Work too much: The pendulum can swing too far the other way — remote workers literally live at the office.
The second and third elements depend on the individual, their unique personalities, their home office setups and their family situations. Volumes have been written on how to create a healthy working environment at home.
But the first element — remote employees feeling disconnected — is more nuanced. A lack of face-to-face interaction can make team building difficult. No matter how much they text, Skype or talk on the phone, remote workers do miss out on the workplace “buzz” — the rolling lulls and periods of intensity that are shared by people in physical groups.
The trick to remote team building is to foster unity among people who are far away.
Think of baseball, which requires coordinated, orchestrated movement among players spaced too far apart to communicate directly. The best ball teams have chemistry — where one player can anticipate the actions of the others and respond accordingly without coordination or discussion.
This is made possible by regrouping at the dugout between innings to huddle before heading back out onto the field. The same concept applies to remote team building. According to Forbes, the best remote teams occasionally meet in person. Even if it’s one day every few weeks for a recreational get-together that doesn’t involve work, a face-to-face gathering can spur camaraderie, instill unity and restore a sense of shared responsibility.Remember That Technology Matters
According to Harvard Business Review, the vast majority of remote workers feel overwhelmed with communication tools that they’re forced to navigate. They use email, text messaging, social media, collaborative software and more to communicate with each other. The vast majority say they would prefer a single platform that provides continuity.
Technology matters, and while the bring-your-own-device culture allows telecommuters to use their own familiar devices, a hodgepodge of different platforms is inefficient, distracting and frustrating for remote teams who so desperately crave unity and uniformity.
Finally, multitasking is yesterday’s news. The concept of task juggling was a bright spot on a resume 10 years ago. Today, it should be forbidden — especially for members of remote teams. Meetings are absolutely critical for remote team-building. Everyone on the team must be mentally present when the group unites, which isn’t possible if they’re all doing more than one thing at the same time.
The fundamentals of building remote teams are not that much different than the fundamentals of building teams in a traditional workplace. Encourage intellectual equality by making sure some team members aren’t given more time to share their views than others. Create an environment where people can be themselves — Google achieved this by rethinking everything from the dress code to the traditional schedule.
Remember that distance can foster a sense of disconnection. Mitigate this reality by encouraging occasional meetings — even if they’re at brunch, a bowling alley or at a bar, and work is never mentioned. Finally, the proliferation of technology made remote work possible for the masses, but less can definitely be more — in tech and in workflow. Unify your team under a single, familiar platform and make multitasking a dirty word.
Read our guide to remote work on TechCo
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