We used to dream about what it would be like to work from home all the time. However, we learned it wasn’t what we all thought. A year after working remotely we have started to miss the office, our co-workers, our routines and creative collaboration.
With the world thrust into a technological bubble, we creators had to learn how to collaborate virtually, resulting in challenges that make the job less than appealing. Through creative collaboration the new remote workforce can find ways to work better together online, overcome challenges, adopt healthier work from home habits, and increase productivity.
The Difficulties of Virtual Creative Collaboration
With creators on different wavelengths with different visions, finding common ground IRL is hard enough. Now we are supposed to find ways to do so online? Here are some tips to help recognize unhelpful habits and how to break them so your team can have more free flowing creative collaboration.
1. Aligning Creative Visions
Creators come from all walks of life, with their own experiences and agendas. Getting everyone on the same page is already challenging enough in an office atmosphere, and that’s without pesky interruptions and distractions.
Collaborative tasks are powerful. They drive business growth and help keep employees motivated and accountable. But, effective execution takes communication, including detailed discussions and updates as projects progress.
Having the right tech tools and communication software can provide a space for sharing and discussing tasks for management and employees, and assist with streamlining communication, keep track of progress and ensure everyone understands their role and tasks.
Pro Tip: Find One Communication Tool For Creative Collaboration
We’re fortunate to be living in a time where being unavailable is far from possible. What can be a hassle is utilizing multiple methods to streamline communication. Instead, agree on one communication tool and set up a space for sharing and discussing tasks for management and employees.
2. Practice Virtual Social Etiquette
In a creative space, everyone has ideas to share. However, when one creative taking up all the time and limelight, it not only leaves others feeling frustrated, but it wastes valuable time.
Virtual meetings can make it significantly more difficult to pick up on social cues that we would get when speaking face-to-face with someone. Subsequently, it can be harder to determine when it’s our turn to talk, or when someone else would like to do so.
As a result, we take 25% fewer speaking turns when meeting virtually. Without the element of reading body language, it’s difficult to observe people’s reactions while speaking and using them to decide our next move. With the time-lapse between connections and lack of visual cues, we have to adapt to the way we react in a group setting.
Experts have come up with a few strategies to help us stop interrupting others, avoid awkward interruptions and start actively listening such as waiting a few seconds to begin speaking and taking notes in between. Even one second makes a difference, helping to keep meetings running smoothly and decrease downtime from excusing one another for the interruptions.
3. Use The Mute Button
In an online meeting with a large group, there could be noise coming from all directions. Most companies suggest that everyone mute their mics and only switch them on when they need to speak to eliminate background noise. This can also act as a cue in knowing when someone wants to say something.
However, some creators forget to do this and wind up creating additional noise that cuts effective communication. Taking mindful responsibility for virtual meeting etiquette can eliminate a lot of frustration and miscommunication.
Incorporating apps or tools that can detect mic status is helpful, clearly showing creators when they are audible or not. The last thing anyone wants in a meeting is to say something they’ll later regret, having to explain their way out of it later.
4. Eliminate Distractions
In this digital world, we are more distracted than ever, with the majority of our distractions coming from our mobile devices. The notification chimes can leave us feeling anxious to check them. Add that into a work-from-home setup where children may be virtually learning from home, and creators have a lot to deal with and little time to adjust.
Pro Tip: Creative Collaboration Take A Creative Space
To avoid allowing distractions to get in the way, consider creating a designated office space in the home free of distractions and stocked with everything a remote creator needs.
5. Simplify The Use Of Apps
In addition to streamlining communication, creators should reduce the number of apps and tools in use to avoid complications. It’s enough to check emails and slack (or your chosen communication tool) all day. Add that to bouncing back and forth between different apps and you could have a team that is less productive and overwhelmed.
Thankfully, some tools are built for a remote workforce. The cloud is the answer to the prayers of a struggling digital workforce, allowing all employees to have access to files and data that they need from anywhere at any time of day.
According to cloud computing expert Barbara Ericson of Cloud Defense, “Cloud computing makes it trivially easy to retrieve files from anywhere in the world since the cloud network is maintained over the Internet. Companies and individuals can both benefit from this aspect since it allows users to retrieve files without having a physical data storage device on hand.”
6. Update Your Software and Systems
This seems like a no brainer, but far too often we ignore those system updates notifications because we’re in the middle of a project or on a deadline.
But the truth is, not all technology works for use in today’s fast-paced office environment. Individuals still struggle with digital nuances such as slow connections, lack of software updates, and out-of-date security systems. Before going off and spending a ton on upgrades, start with the most important things that are needed to create a smooth-running home office with tech that will support all of your collaborative needs.
7. Be Efficient With Your Responses
Though you might not be able to yell across the office or walk a few desks down, there are still multiple ways to communicate quickly with one another. As mentioned above, there are tools geared toward efficient communication.
When working with a team, your response may be the final word needed to finish an important project, meaning you will hold up production if communication is lacking. While companies may allow flexibility for creators working from home, they will not be too keen on repetitive instances of slow responses. Be quick to answer, and put messages in order of importance, answering them accordingly.
Things have changed rapidly over the last year. It’s never a bad idea to look back and reflect on the changes and discover ways to adapt and improve them. From the looks of it, virtual meetings are here to stay, perhaps evolving the way we work and creatively collaborate.
As a creator, it’s best to be flexible and keep an open mind so you can adapt and flow with the constant changes that come with working remotely. Instead of just dealing with things, make the best of each situation, learning how you can enjoy virtual work life, and increase your personal productivity.