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You’ve just asked your employees to collaborate on an important group project. After taking time to photocopy a stack of handouts about the project, the group waits for a conference room to become available.
Finally seated around the table, the group stares down at their paperwork until the meeting disperses, not to meet again for days or weeks. At its bare essentials, the group project appears to be tedious and inefficient. But, by making a few simple changes, you can promote a creative and results-oriented teamwork process. We say, out with the rickety copiers and cubicles and in with efficient technology for easy and effective collaboration.
Save Time with Scheduling
If multiple groups and projects are using a single conference room or other space, put a room scheduling system in place so that everyone has an equal opportunity to utilize the space. Less time is wasted waiting for the room to become available and more time is devoted to getting work done.
- If conference rooms are unavailable, consider using portable office partitions to temporarily sequester a part of the office for group work. You don’t have to permanently re-design the entire office; it takes little effort making the setup more flexible and conducive to a group environment.
- Groups work better when they have a dedicated space to regularly meet. As an added bonus, the freedom to leave meeting notes, work samples, and project ideas in the space can “help teammates maintain a shared project mindset,” according to HBR.org.
Save Money with Technology
With the right technology in your office, you can increase group creativity, cost effectiveness, and productivity. Printing presentations and photocopying enough for the group costs time and money and creates waste. Using a projector to display a power point or presentation saves trees and changes the atmosphere of the meeting.
- Projectors come in a wide variety of types and prices, from low-end laptop peripherals to high-end ceiling-mounted units. Choose the type that best fits the needs of your office, and it will pay for itself in increased productivity and efficiency.
- With a projector in use, team members focus together on a single point of attention, emphasizing the collaborative nature of the project.
- With the entire team focusing on the same information, questions and discussions quickly result. Discussing the presentation as a group “enhances the learning experience,” says one expert from E-How.com.
Promote Sharing with Software
Team members need to keep collaborating after the meeting is over. Tens or hundreds of documents and files can be emailed back and forth amongst members as changes are made, resulting in frustration and confusion over which file is the “right” one. Document sharing software keeps inboxes organized and final products safe.
Many document sharing programs are available for free and can be easily downloaded to your computer.
- If already using Google, you can take advantage of their free Google Drive. In addition to sharing amongst a large group, Google Drive includes free file editing software. Group members can read and real-time edit files at the same time from different computers with no confusion over finding the “final version.”
When it comes to teamwork, it’s out with the old and in with the new. With the right tools and attitude, you can make employee teamwork more productive, creative, and easier than ever.