In this ever-changing world, more and more of us are collaborating with people who we may very rarely see or never even meet. So how do you work with people when they’re in a different room? Here are some of the ways to make sure your teams can work together no matter how far apart they are.
Find a Form of Collaboration that is Tailor-made to your Task
The hardest part of working together when apart is simply finding a mechanism that allows you to be able to actually complete the work together. Normally if you wanted to discuss ideas, you could all meet around a table and talk face to face.
If you wanted to work on the same document together, you could simply have one person look over your shoulder, telling you what things they think you should add or alter. When you’re not in the same room, those simple collaborative tasks become a lot more difficult. There is lots of software available that claims to be the ideal system to allow you to collaborate with people over the internet. The only problem is that no two tasks are the same, and each one comes with its own challenges.
That’s why it’s important to use a system that is just as flexible when it comes to meeting your needs. For example, if you need to find a way of communicating with colleagues, choose an open source messaging software that you can adapt to your needs instead of trying to adapt your working practices to suit the app. Software like the products developed by
Mattermost allows you to develop additional features without restrictions and allows you to host all of this on your own server so you can be sure your data is protected.
Make Clear Objectives and Update them Regularly
Often the best way to work together is to divide one big task into lots of smaller tasks that members of the team can complete independently from each other. If done well, it works like a jigsaw puzzle, with each team member working on their own pieces, which will join seamlessly together next time you meet. If done poorly, then you might find that you’re unable to complete your metaphorical jigsaw puzzle at all.
To make sure that doesn’t happen, it is important to make sure you meet up and communicate your aims regularly. That way, you can be sure that everyone understands what they need to do. Try to set objectives at the end of every meeting, so everyone knows exactly what they’re working towards and why.
Consider the external challenges your colleagues are facing
As well as the distance, one of the other major challenges of working in different locations is the different factors you will encounter in those locations. For example, while it might be an ideal time of the day to meet in your country, it might be the middle of the night if one of your colleagues or clients is working on the other side of the world. Identify any challenges like this at the start of the project and come up with the best compromises that suit everybody working as part of the team.