Paul Wherly

7 Steps to Online Collaboration Success

7 Steps to Online Collaboration Success

Companies with employees who work from home understand that online collaboration is essential for making this arrangement succeed.

Recent surveys have suggested three out of every five staff who work from home find they are more productive away from the office than in it. Other studies say more than two-thirds of employers also notice increased productivity from their teleworkers.

But all that work must link up with the work being done by fellow team members in the office, and maintain good connections and relationships with prospects and customers.

Microsoft Office 365 has identified seven steps to make a success of seamless online collaboration.

  1. Identify Roles and Responsibilities – Before starting any group project, ensure that everyone knows who is managing things, who’s doing what and when it needs to be completed by.
  2. Instant Messaging – Find an instant messaging service which works across devices – tablets, laptops and mobiles. This allows you to have quick conversations with people, wherever they are in the world. It’s also a great way to connect with colleagues socially and build personal relationships… effort which can pay dividends later on when there may be a time you need someone’s help, information or advice.
  3. Collaborative Software – You want software that makes real-time collaboration on documents possible. This allows group members to co-author and work on the same document together at the same time. Everyone can see the latest version and chip in with their contributions.
  4. Virtual Meetings – Use a meeting service that allows you to screen share. This makes it easier and quicker to get everyone up to speed on a project, idea or development.
  5. Check Your Ego – Collaboration should be about bringing a group of people together to achieve a common goal. Everyone has their own set of skills, knowledge and experience so allow each person in the project to shine.
  6. Be Accountable – It’s important for your team to know what you’re working on and whether you are on track for the delivery deadline. You can do this through regular communications with the group. It builds trust and helps people get ready for each new phase of the project.
  7. Be Yourself (But Maybe Drop The Sarcasm) – You don’t have to be a dull task master or grey robot. You can inject your personality into a project. If you lead by example, do a great job and keep communicating with your team you’ll probably gain trust and find people like working with you. Humour can help. Just remember to use it with care. If you tend to be sarcastic with people this may not go down well (especially if people misinterpret what you say, as can happen with email messages).

Having the right online collaboration tools and resources in place before you begin a project is the key.

Shelley Fishel

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