Do you want to work together better online?
By Sam Allen 23rd October 2017
Would you like to know the best way to do this?
If you answered yes then you need to read our ‘Virtual teams guide’
Doing Transition can be very much about getting away from the computer, but this doesn’t mean we should not utilise new technologies to help us to do Transition. These technologies enable us to communicate across time and space, we can chat to people on the other side of the world, we can work together when we have free time, we can meet with each other from the comfort of our homes. This is not to say that you shouldn’t meet face to face, we would always recommend this, but it’s not always possible and can also be a barrier for people who have other responsibilities.
In our experience working together virtually can seem really difficult when you first start doing it, especially if you don’t have a structure or process for doing it well. We recognised this early on, when we were trying to work with people from 25 different countries as part of the National Hubs network. In response to this Nenad Maljković, part of Transition Network from Croatia, decided to produce a guide to virtual working that captured all the best practice, tools, processes and roles for making it a successful and productive experience.
Working virtually brings with it new challenges but also new possibilities. The challenges often come from not recognising that virtual working is actually different to working face to face and requires a slight switch in behaviour and mindset to get it right. It also requires a different type of commitment and individual motivation as you can often be left to your own devices to achieve tasks.
This guide helps you to make this switch as it covers practical ways to work together as well as the philosophy behind this type of working.The following gives you a brief overview of what is included in the guide:
- It explains the difference between real time communication and time shifted communication, it’s really important to understand these basic principles of virtual working
- It suggests a range of tools you can use for virtual working and can help you to choose the most relevant tools for your group
- It explains how to setup virtual teams and what you can do to make them effective. This is really important as having a good structure and set of rules in place can make all the difference to your effectiveness
- It gives an overview of the different roles needed for virtual meetings, again it is really useful to have defined roles to help your meetings run productively and with clarity
- There are guidelines on how to run virtual meetings, including a range of virtual hand signals that can help your meetings to run smoothly
- There is also the need to do work between meetings and this is really important to maintaining the momentum of your project
- Then there are blended meetings. This is when you have people meeting face to face and attending virtually. This brings more challenges and the guide has a section explaining how best to meet them.
We have found the Virtual teams guide really useful for our virtual meetings at Transition Network and it has helped us to work together effectively on some great projects. The key thing is to not be afraid of using new technologies. The best thing is to just try it out, using the advice in the guide and see how you get on. Working virtually can feel a bit weird initially but with practice if can actually be really productive. It can also make Transition more accessible by giving people more opportunities to interact across time and geographical space. We hope you find it useful!
A List of Resouces
Virtual teams guide
Knowledge & learning
All you need to know about working together virtually. Includes how to successfully run meetings onl...Read more
To get an overview of virtual working, watch this interview with Nenad Maljković