Published on July 26th, 2019 | by Sunit Nandi0
How Teams Can Harness Technology for Better Collaboration
Teams make up a critical component of most business operations. Sure, a good writer cloistered away in an office can come up with a masterpiece on his or her own, but even then it takes a team of editors, proofreaders, publishers, marketers, and salesmen to get that draft onto paper and into the hands of consumers. And it doesn’t stop at writers. The same teamwork requirement goes for virtually every business effort under the sun.
Even in the modern day, teams remain a critical part of business. While it’s true that automated processes are taking a firmer hold in our lives on a daily basis, it doesn’t change the fact that teams of humans continue to hold a majority stake in business activities like creativity and design thinking. These kinds of exercises require closely knit groups of coworkers that are comfortable, connected, and empathetic with their teammates’ thoughts and opinions.
With that said, understanding how to build a good team and create an efficient, productive collaborative process have long been flagship concerns for team leaders to address. However, a newer challenge to that collaborative process that has crept up in recent years has been the increasing concern of distance. The rise of the remote workspace itself has splintered teams and put a strain on collaborative efforts.
Image Source: Pixabay
Fortunately, the modern technologically-driven world that caused this issue has also equipped team members with the very tools needed to overcome it. In fact, even when working around the same table, these applications still provide valuable ways for coworkers to collaborate in the ever-evolving modern corporate landscape.
One of the most critical elements of a well-functioning team, remote or not, is organization. Without proper organization, a team is dead in the water. Keep tabs on things like:
- Overall project goals
- Individual responsibilities
- Resource allocation
- Timelines and goals
Remote teams looking for a way to organize their efforts have many different ways to do so. For instance, mind mapping can be an excellent way to organize your team’s efforts into a visual space. Using things like color, curved lines, images, and limited text can be an excellent way to stimulate the brain. The same thing goes for Gantt charts, which can help distill and manage information and keep your team on the same page.
When it comes to organizing things like individual responsibilities, deadlines, and so on, there are many popular workflow apps like Trello, Asana, or Podio that make organization simple and effective. Each of these platforms are easy to set up and provide visual representations of tasks, deadlines, assignments, and even places to upload work in progress.
Communication is one of the key ingredients of any team, and modern technical offerings ensure that a team can communicate without trouble whether they’re working from bed, in the office, or on a beach in the Dominican Republic.
First, there are the obvious, well-established forms of transmitting messages. For instance, email is a mainstay of any 21st-century enterprise. In addition, texting, phone calls, and social media all provide multiple avenues of personal communication.
When it comes to group efforts, though, there are other options to keep everyone’s conversation in the same space. Rather than sending a constant flow group emails or texts, Slack allows a team to keep their conversation in one virtual workspace that can be divided into various categories of suitable conversation. All you need to do is set up your team’s workspace, invite your team members, and get the conversation rolling.
There are also numerous video conferencing options that can make team meetings nearly as effective as — not to mention much more convenient than — sitting at a table together. Using an app like Skype, Doodle, or Google Hangouts can bring your team “face to face” whenever you need to address everyone in real-time.
Sometimes a team needs to gather information in a single space, where everyone working on a project can access it easily.
For basic things like note-taking, apps like Evernote and Google Keep allow team members to upload notes, voice recordings and memos, websites, images, etc. into a single spot. You can set up a space for your team’s notes to be collected. From there, any team member that requires the information can access it easily without causing extra work for others. In fact, apps like Evernote have even made it simple to search for past notes with specific information.
For larger quantities of information, files, videos, etc. apps like Dropbox, Google Drive, or OneDrive provide cloud space for your team to keep their larger files.
If your team is on the lookout for ways to organize incoming information, apps like Feedly provide a fully customizable news feed that can be tailored to your specifications. The feed is presented in an easy to read manner and can even use Google Alerts to give instant notifications when news breaks.
Finally, there’s the actual act of creating. Whether you’re working on a project that requires minimal real-time collaboration or you’re neck-deep in implementing a design thinking strategy that simultaneously incorporates clients, target users, and an entire product development team, there are plenty of applications to facilitate the creative work itself.
For instance, Google Docs or Google Sheets are excellent ways to work in real-time on text or spreadsheet driven projects, respectively. All you need to do is create a document within your own account and then click the “share” button in the upper right hand corner. From there you can directly invite coworkers or even copy and send a sharing link.
Whatever your creative needs, there’s likely an app out there that will allow your team to bring what they’ve created into one space and work on it together.
Collaboration in the Technological Age
The ability to work closely in conjunction with others only gets easier as we go along. Apps are continually being created and refined to streamline collaborative efforts and increase team productivity from every angle of the creative process. It doesn’t matter if you’re talking about communication, organization, research, or actual creation and execution of strategy — there’s an app for virtually every need a remote team might have.