Today, more and more often we work in online environments. It is a simple and effective opportunity to work with people from afar. When connecting to one person for a conversation, it is easy to use Skype, Zoom or other apps instead of making a phone call. When you want to achieve something more than that, a creative and productive, long-term collaboration, you will need something more. Something that supports online collaboration in being as effective as in-person.
Considerations for the Online Collaboration Environment
When you want to collaborate more closely with people at a distance, the online environment becomes the new office or conference room. Whenever you move into a new office space, there are things to be considered. What kind of furniture is needed and how should it be arranged so it supports your work in the best possible way? How will you lead so that work is focused, efficient and successful? How can people find who the people they need to collaborate with and where can they store things? Where is the coffee-machine and what about creativity?
These questions belong to the online environment as well. How could it be designed so that people can be creative, efficient and use their whole competence to achieve the best solutions possible? How can you lead the meetings so that everyone is inspired, stays focused and achieve successful results? And what about coffee breaks?
Whatever solutions you choose for the online work, the online office space has many things in common with your usual office building. What won´t work in your usual office will probably not work in the online office either. If you can´t get people energized and enthusiastic about certain topics in your usual conference room, the same will be experienced in the online conference. Leading online collaboration requires designing rooms and using methods that inspire people and give them the freedom to explore, experiment and play with different ideas and solutions to find the best. Actually, the same that is needed when you want to get the best out of people gathered in usual office spaces too.
Making the Most of Online Collaboration Opportunities
Real online collaboration goes beyond webinars and information meetings when one person makes the presentation and the others are required to listen. It goes beyond the usual thinking that the leader or chairman should present the solution. Real collaboration in any room, taps into the wisdom of all the people gathered and allows them to work with joy and creativity and self-organize around the topics that are most important at that time.
In the Genuine Contact Organization, we walk our talk and have been collaborating online since 2005, developing our own community and organization through online work. We have transferred our best meeting methods, Open Space Technology and Whole Person Process Facilitation, to the online environment. And we design each meeting to make the most of our common wisdom, competence, and experience to achieve results. Since we have learned and practiced online collaboration for so long, we have now gathered the mastery needed to support our clients with this expertise.