Many companies today have distributed teams with employees in multiple locations across the country, if not the world. This presents a challenge when it comes to collaboration and team-building – after all, how can your business be truly effective when your employees aren’t sitting together in the same room?
While this may seem like an issue of collaboration, communication, and remote work, it has little to do with any of those things. You don’t need to be in the same place to collaborate effectively with your team members. You need to make sure that you set clear expectations upfront about how you will go about doing it.
Collaboration can be complex, no matter what your colleagues are doing in the same room as you or halfway around the world. However, when your team consists of people miles apart, it can seem almost impossible to put ideas together effectively – especially if you’re new to remote work.
Luckily, there are many collaboration tools that you can use no matter where your team members are located, including platforms and applications that will help you keep everyone on task and track throughout the day.
It’s an accomplishment to be successful alone or with a group in distributed and remote working environments, but it’s not the same as working together in groups. The difference is having the discipline to adhere to specific vital guidelines and apply various new methods. Like all new experiences, they may be awkward initially, but when they are a part of your routine, you’ll find that the virtual collaboration process is well worth the effort.
Be clear on the purpose of the meeting.
Before every meeting:
- Have a clear plan and communicate your expectations to all attendees.
- Whether your meeting is virtual or in-person, provide a time limit for each topic you want to discuss and stick to it.
- If you haven’t reached a consensus by the end of that time, move on to another topic.
Everyone should be aware of the end goal so that people are more relaxed knowing what they can expect.
- Are you there to discuss a particular topic?
- Do you have to reach or make agreements?
- Are you looking to come up with ideas? Make use of a tool that allows users can share their ideas. There are many boards for free, like Fun Retro, paid tools such as Mural, and even Google sheets.
- Make an agenda, and ensure everyone knows who’s in charge of facilitating the meeting and how.
Make room for every voice.
An essential aspect of good collaboration is that everyone feels comfortable. It can be challenging when you’re working remotely, and part of a team where some people are nearby and others are not. But many tools are available to make your virtual workspace feel like home.
From video conferencing services like Skype to project management software like Basecamp, if you invest in making it convenient for everyone on your team to participate, they will. Nothing is more demotivating than an event where there is no way to get a word in a conversation.
- Everyone be on their video.
- Introduce yourself to people upon entering the “room” (it’s very lovely and also has the benefit of testing the quality of their sound)
- The meeting begins with everyone stating their name and state where they are. Then, this breaks open the seal for everyone’s contribution and draws the attention of everyone.
- Round-robins can be used to collect everyone’s opinions on a particular subject.
There’s something hilarious when you are alone and speaking to people on video. It’s easy to forget to switch off talking, fail to be clear, and then you begin to feel as if you’re playing Hamlet and in the middle of your epic soliloquy.
- Set time limits for communicating their ideas. It’s incredible how much people can convey in just a couple of minutes, or even in 30 seconds.
- Make sure to use an audible timer to ensure it’s fair. You don’t have to be concerned about it. It’s only when people can hear the alarm sound it is clear that they need to end it.
- Create larger time frames for everything you have to complete and keep a realistic perspective. You may find that you need to take longer; Ask the group members and then pivot in case you have to.
Make use of chat properly.
- For the quick updates
- For some interactive conversations like “chai pe charcha”
- For minor additions and re-phrasings
- Puns and jokes that are funny
- It’s perfectly fine if there’s a gap between one speaker and the next. Some of the most brilliant ideas can occur within the time between
- Make a plan or schedule time for reflection if it is helpful.
This one may cause some discomfort—switching your other apps while you are on a video call. It’s straightforward to glance at your other apps during the call. Most of us are good at pretending to watch a video by facing it, even though we’re paying attention to something else. So, stop it. Make sense of what’s happening, so the meeting achieves its full potential.
- Having a clear plan is key.
- Do as others do for you and allow them to do the same for you so you can inspire them as well.
- Always plan for breaks if you need to hold a meeting for an extended period of time.
We, at CitrusLeaf, believe in creating a work environment where employees are not held together only for professional or official purposes, but for connecting on a personal level too. This personal touch flourishes our team’s inner creativity and nourishes life-long professional relationships.
To be a part of this team, reach us at email@example.com