The year is 2016 and it’s the height of the information age. Therefore, if you’re still restricting yourself to in-person meetings in the boardroom, you’re wasting both time and money. You can do everything from keep your workforce global to cutting back on travel costs with online meetings. What’s even better is the multitude of other activities you can do online, such as distance company education. Video conferencing has also come a long way since the dark ages of dedicated conferencing systems that could only connect with the same type of provider, replete with heavy immovable equipment. Today, you can access a company training session from across the globe using only your smartphone, which is why online meetings are the best way to communicate and collaborate.
1. Online Doesn’t Mean Faceless
The first thing to understand about online meetings and collaboration is that one of the key aspects of using video conferencing is to keep that face to face element of a regular meeting. If you use Blue Jeans online meetings for IT as your provider of choice, then it’s easy to get everyone in a virtual boardroom together for a sit down discussion. This can be anything from a brainstorming meeting about IT efficiency to a weekly team meeting to touch base, especially if you have staff from around the globe. There are a lot of different reasons to use online video meetings, and this is especially the case if you work with highly technical, difficult to explain processes like the IT field. It’s also important on a purely interpersonal level to retain face-to-face contact. There’s a major difference between giving someone your full attention when they’re just text on a screen or a mic, versus actually talking to someone on screen where you can make eye contact, and even read body language. Overall, video is much more effective in terms of communication than other platforms.
2. The Philosophy of Working Openly
Huffington Post recommends that one of the most important qualities of a team that works collaboratively in an effective manner is adhering to the principle of working openly. This may include shared documents, more group meetings, and an increased feeling of working as a team, rather than on individual projects. In the world of IT, this is especially important since you’ll inevitably always be working on multiple projects at the same time and troubleshooting the same system. Many IT teams today also tend to be made up of engineers working odd hours to cover round the clock service for tech assistance in a company, and especially a larger one. This is why the commitment to working openly is so important, and you can embrace it more effectively with online meetings. Putting a face to each person defines their role within the greater team more effectively, while also allowing them to be an autonomous resource rather than just a cog.
3. Cut to the Core of Your Company Values
The Telegraph says that before you really get into the nitty-gritty of collaborative strategies and approaches to your workforce, you need to establish your values. This means communicating to all of your employees that teamwork is more important than individual achievements, and that there’s no such thing as a loner genius. Clarifying your company’s core values from the outset of a team project will pave the way for a collaborative environment, rather than a murky philosophy that employees don’t understand.
4. Collaboration with Other Professionals
Many IT professionals spend a large portion of their day troubleshooting problems for other people, but there’s also the possibility of avoiding reinventing the wheel by communicating with other IT teams. Whether this happens at some kind of conference or professional association, hosting video meetings with other tech experts is a great way to share trade secrets, offer training advice, and otherwise pick each other’s brains. This is especially useful if you’re in a managerial position in the IT department and don’t spend all your time dealing directly with users or other frontline activities. Inviting other professionals in your field to industry discussions can not only yield useful information for you, but also make you a leader in the IT arena at large.
Although traditionally creative collaboration is thought of as being reserved for creative workers who specialize in design or other arts-related fields, that couldn’t be more untrue. Collaboration isn’t just about creativity, but also innovation and problem solving. In the world of IT, in fact, problem solving is one of the top valued skills, and it’s much easier to come up with solutions for long-term problems in a collaborative environment than trying to work it out by yourself. Online meetings simply allow you to both extend your discussions outside the borders of your own office and your colleagues’ offices, but also save time and energy while still maintaining that face-to-face element that’s important in every interaction in the business world.