One of the biggest challenges in leading a hybrid team is that the physical distance between employees means that you lose the collaboration that naturally happens when team members are face-to-face. Fortunately, there are things you can do to compensate for this shortcoming. Which is exactly the subject of today’s edition of our ongoing video series on strategies for leading a hybrid team: online collaboration tools.
Utilize online collaboration tools
There are many online tools available for you and your team to maximize collaboration, despite being in different physical locations. In fact, some people tell me that they like these tools better than the in-person process! I’m going to tell you about three of them, not because they’re necessarily better than the other options out there, but more because I use them, and like them very much.
Suggestion #1: Google docs
The first is the granddaddy of them all – Google docs. If you aren’t using Google docs, then you are losing out on one of the most valuable, functional, and easy-to-use collaboration tools that exist. Combine this with a video call, and it will be like you are all in the same physical space. Several people can work on the same document at once, you can see who is making what changes in real-time, it saves automatically, and you can track versions. A great way to brainstorm and document your thoughts and processes.
Suggestion #2: Miro
Sometimes though, you might want something a little more visual. One of the things I miss the most from our face-to-face environment is the ability to use Post-it notes to brainstorm, and then move them around to organize and reorganize. Miro fixes that problem. Even with their free basic version, you can create the e-equivalent of Post-it notes, and move them around as you discuss and categorize. Again, several people can do this at the same time … almost like being in the same conference room face-to-face.
Suggestion #3: Doodle
The third tool I have found extremely useful for collaboration is Doodle. It’s a free scheduling software that let’s me find a time slot during which everyone I want to work with is available. If you work in the same organization, your calendar software probably does the same thing, but this works beautifully if you are collaborating with people who are external to your organization.
If you don’t yet have online collaboration tools in your toolkit for leading a hybrid team, then what’s stopping you? You really should investigate these or alternate options.
Catch up on previous strategies in this series on leading virtually:
- Strategy #13: Make yourself accessible to your staff
- Strategy #12: Set standards for response times to emails and voice mails
- Strategy #11: Make a deliberate effort to give your staff positive feedback
- Or just access the full series here: Leading Hybrid and Virtual Teams Video Series