Monday, January 26, 2015

Learnings about working online

Some of us in the Relating for Results team have been travelling during part of December and January, which you might think complicates things. Since a team working from different locations is indeed one of the tendencies of work in the last few years, this is something we are continually optimising since we support other teams in doing it. We all have previous experience in it, but here are 7 learnings drawn specifically from this team:
  1. Being at a place with internet connection does not mean you are going to be able to talk and see each other. Go to that place before you have an actual online meeting and perform a speed test that allows you to inform your team if its going to be only written chatting in a text box, or if you can use audio, or if video is likely to work. You can use speed test or other similar sites for this!
  2. Consider the different needs in the team when playing the scheduling game. Some people need some stability and some others love to improvise! What are the members of your team like? Scheduling a regular meeting where everybody needs to attend apart from working sessions where people can join and different streams of work has proven to be useful. Choosing good confirmation and communication systems where everybody registers and has accessibility has also been paramount.
  3. Don't try to work through the holidays! Even if you have a committed team, you will likely get pulled by family and friends, so take the time off, it pays in the longer run.
  4. Technical problems often seem to come up when there is an important topic to be discussed or an emotionally charged issue. Breath deep, keep your grounding and hold space for your team to go through it! You might have to let it go for now, but the next tip can help that. When speaking an important topic, always checkin that everybody is on board before diving into it.
  5. To ensure understanding, it's usually useful also to repeat something someone said with other words for achieving more clarity on these important issues that you want everybody on board with.
  6. Write notes real time it helps to keep minutes or notes in real time, so that team members can take turns to take while not speaking. 
  7. For a better connection with the other persons, try to put their video image as near from your camera as possible, since it has been proven that looking at people's eyes makes communication more fluid and trustworthy. Do not multitask, that makes online meetings endless an unfocused, making you loose your precious time!
Good luck with your online team work and if you need support, we will be happy to provide it! Check out this video below to have a laugh at the things that happen during online collaboration.