3 tips for remote collaboration

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Last week, I tuned into a free webinar by IDEO U called “Remote Collaboration.”

Sacha Connor, Founder of Virtual Work Insider, shared strategies for staying collaborative and creative while working from home (and none are about improving your Zoom background!)

Here are my top three takeaways :

1. Spend some time thinking about new communication norms. How will your team primarily communicate? Does it make sense to have a regular (weekly or daily?) Zoom chat to touch base? And if so, what hours would be best to schedule? Maybe have a rule about no Zooms before 9 a.m. or after 3 p.m.? This all depends on individual team members and their circumstances, especially if they are juggling childcare responsibilities, etc. (And if you’re struggling with all of your responsibilities at home, be empowered to ask your supervisor for accommodations, like moving a Zoom time.) One idea shared … if frequent communication is essential to your team, maybe have a standing 9-9:30 a.m. “coffee chat,” where everyone just touches base while they get their coffee ready?

2. Preparation for Zoom meetings is really important! Are you facilitating meetings for your team? Sacha says sending a thorough agenda at least 24 hours in advance is more important than ever. Use her version of the 5 P’s Framework to help develop the agenda:

  • Purpose: Why are you meeting? And is everyone clear about the purpose of the meeting?
  • Product/outcome: What are the explicit outcomes or action items you want by the end of the meeting? Is it to make a decision? Get feedback on an idea?
  • People: Who needs to attend? Narrow the invite list to the smallest group of the right people. Sacha says to avoid “tourists”– folks who can just be briefed by email after.
  • Process: How will we facilitate the discussion or get to a decision remotely?
  • Pre-work: What can be done in advance of the meeting to make the time in the meeting more worthwhile?

3. Use video wherever possible to help connect. Sacha recommends a tool called Loom, which allows you to record and edit videos with a share-screen option, so you can show and tell, do tutorials, etc. You can then email a link to your video. The basic version is free, and due to the pandemic, Loom has made their pro version free for educators. I’ve already signed up and started to play! Check out my test video: https://www.loom.com/share/45ffee78a3d144c184a64bc8a2bf6f30

More tips are available by PDF:

https://virtualworkinsider.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/VirtualWorkInsider_RapidRemoteWork_Tips_200326.pdf

The full recording of the webinar is available on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ideouonline/videos/298167351164810/?goal=0_f703b39d99-4bdd67ed0e-217233101

— Stephanie Ogilvie Seagle, March 2020

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About Stephanie

Stephanie SeagleStephanie Ogilvie Seagle has served as Grant Specialist at Virginia Western since 2016, but she prefers her honorary title: “Chief Joy Officer.” Stephanie spent most of her career at The Roanoke Times, a daily newspaper, where she served in various news and features roles including “Shoptimist” shopping columnist. She earned a bachelor’s degree in integrative studies at George Mason University and a master’s of arts in liberal studies at Hollins University. Stephanie is a mom to one human daughter and multiple chihuahuas … and is obsessed with reading nonfiction, Halloween, and crafting glow necklaces inspired by the Mill Mountain Star. Glow Roanoke!

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