Online Teamwork: Manage Remote Teams & Master Remote Collaboration | Mary Daphne | Skillshare

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Online Teamwork: Manage Remote Teams & Master Remote Collaboration

teacher avatar Mary Daphne, YouTuber/ Entrepreneur / Comm. Coach

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

15 Lessons (41m)
    • 1. Online Teamwork Course Introduction

    • 2. Make Interactions Deliberate

    • 3. Make Communication Explicit

    • 4. Address Emotions Immediately

    • 5. Effective Project Management Systems

    • 6. Develop a System You Use

    • 7. The Purpose of SOP

    • 8. Establishing Your SOP

    • 9. Understanding Communication Channels

    • 10. Setting Expectations for Communication Channels

    • 11. The Priority Axis

    • 12. Choosing the Appropriate Communication Channels

    • 13. Advantages of Multiple Communication Channels

    • 14. Closing Thoughts

    • 15. Wrapping Up

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About This Class

Most of us consider ourselves above-average team players.

Of course, mathematically speaking, that’s impossible. We can’t all be above average. *Shrug* Hey, who’s counting.

But what about ONLINE teamwork specifically?

That probably gets a lot more of us scratching our heads.

And this makes sense.

In school, we learned to work shoulder-to-shoulder with our classmates. In the office, we’re next to each other all day. We know the drill.

But what happens when we take each person of the team and pull them way apart from each other, placing them in different parts of a city, country, or even the world?

We get something called “remote collaboration”. And when things go remote, the rules of the game change in a big way.

Processes get more complex, challenges get amplified, and miscommunication abounds.

Fortunately, there are ways to make remote collaboration work for you. In fact, with the right systems in place, online teamwork can be more productive and efficient than in-person teamwork.

In this Explearning course, Greg and I draw from our combined experiences managing a distributed workforce in web-based collaborative environments, to provide a comprehensive guide to online teamwork and managing remote teams.

We break down the complexities of remote collaboration into compact, bite-sized modules, providing you with the key ingredients you need to foster tightly-knit, high-performing teams.

You’ll find this course valuable if you match ANY of the following criteria:

  1. You want to enhance your teamwork fundamentals
  2. You want to be as effective working with online teams as you are with in-person teams
  3. You are making the transition from a traditional office to a remote work virtual office
  4. You want to maximize the power and benefits of online collaboration

This is also a great course for anyone who spends time working in groups and teams. Most of the strategies covered in this course are fully applicable to any collaborative context, online or in-person.

If you’re determined to be as effective as possible working with distributed teams in remote collaborative contexts, this is the course for you.

Meet Your Teacher

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Mary Daphne

YouTuber/ Entrepreneur / Comm. Coach


Mary Daphne is CEO and Co-Founder of Explearning, a platform for developing personal and professional social skills.

With an Ed.M in Applied Linguistics, Mary Daphne has over a decade of experience working in cross-cultural corporate communications as well as television and live broadcasting. She loves exploring the intersection of language, culture, and social interaction.

Alongside her corporate engagements, Mary Daphne has spent the last decade designing social skills, public speaking, cross-cultural communications, and business communications courses. Her lessons leverage technology, empirical research, and data-backed teaching methodologies to produce high-value outcomes for her students and clients.

Mary Daphne is a native New Yorker and an avid traveler. In h... See full profile

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1. Online Teamwork Course Introduction: Welcome to this course on mastering online teamwork, remote collaboration, and managing remote teams. Let's begin with an important acknowledgement. Online teamwork and remote collaboration are the future of work. Now, it's true that the principles that make remote teams successful are the same principles that make any team successful. That includes in-person teams. But remote teams demand a higher level of discipline and structure than in-person teams. They require airtight project management systems, standardized operating procedures, and a delicate balance between strict communication protocol and organic humanized interactions. In short, there's a lot going on beneath the surface. And this exploring course, we break down the complexities of online teamwork into compact, bite-sized modules. We provide you with the key ingredients you need to foster tightly knit, high performing teams. Each module is packed with original, battle tested insights and actionable takeaways. Ultimately, our goal is to equip you with the tools you need to maximize your team's productivity and output, especially when you're spread across different geographies and time zones. And as icing on the cake, these concepts have no expiration date. They'll remain relevant throughout your career. So the sooner you lock them in, the sooner you'll start benefiting from them. Now, before we go any further, allow us to introduce yourselves and explain why we're qualified to teach this course. I'm Greg, co-founder and chief operating officer at exploring an online platform for developing professional and personal social skills. I have an MBA from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. And prior to exploring, I was COO of a New York tech start-up which was acquired in 2018. At that company, we had over 50 employees, but our office was tiny. So how did we make it work? The answer is remote teams. In fact, most of our employees were spread across the US, Europe, and Asia. So learning how to engage and guide our distributed workforce was crucial to the company's success. And it taught me a great deal about facilitating effective teamwork in an online context. In this course, I'm excited to share with you some of the most powerful collaborative strategies are developed and implemented during that process. Now I'll hand it off to marry Daphne to introduce herself. Hi everyone. I'm married Daphne, MD for short, and co-founder and CEO at exploring. I have an advanced EDM and Applied Linguistics from Columbia University. And prior to learning, I ran a marketing department at a global educational conglomerate. I was also a TV anchor for a national news broadcasting company. And I've taught English on a full Ray and communications for over a decade. During that time, I worked extensively with contractors and clients scattered across the world. My success bridging diverse cultures and expectations in a web-based collaborative environment has equipped me with a unique perspective on managing remote teams. I can't wait to show you what I've learned navigating the complex dynamics of online teamwork. Let's now talk about who this course is for. This course is designed for anyone who wants to take their online teamworking abilities to the next level, including seasoned professionals and newbies alike. Many of the concepts that apply to in-person teamwork also apply to online teamwork, but the differences lie in the way these concepts are implemented. If you're used to working in an office surrounded by your teammates and want to achieve that same level of productivity and camaraderie when you're scattered across different locations. This course is for you. This is also a great course for anyone who spends time working in groups, teams. Most of the strategies covered in this course are fully applicable to any collaborative context online or in person. So either way, by learning the content of this course, you'll boost your productivity in whatever work environment you find yourself in. Finally, let's quickly review the content we'll cover in this course. This course is broken down into four main sections, each divided into its components, subtopics, specifically, we'll be covering the following categories. Remote work teams versus in-person teams. Establishing project management systems that you actually use, Establishing Standard Operating Procedures, and choosing the correct communication channels to be respectful of your time, we've done our very best to keep this course shorts. And to the point. As a result, some of the content may be more dense than you're used to. So feel free to slow the video down or rewatch any section that you didn't fully grasp. There's no better time than now to get started. So we recommend that you jump into the next lesson to kick things off. 2. Make Interactions Deliberate: While there are many commonalities between in-person teams and remote teams in this course, we're going to focus on the differences. Also bear in mind that for the purposes of this course, the terms online teamwork and remote collaboration mean the same thing, will be using them interchangeably. Now, one of the key differences with working on remote teams is that your interactions with your teammates need to be deliberate. What do we mean by deliberate? Well, when you're in an office with your colleagues, you're likely to bump into them throughout the day, say on your way to the break room or when you're heading out for lunch. Likewise, you probably gathered, right. You're literally for in-person meetings and happy hours afterward. These in-person touchpoints is specially the unscheduled ones, ensure regular interaction with your teammates. They also offer several other benefits. First, these touch points strengthen your rapport with each other. The more you see your colleagues, the closer you feel to each other, which improves your sense of camaraderie and your familiarity with each other's particular style of doing things. Second, these touch points build in a steady stream of dialogue with each other and may not always be formal communication. You could instead be talking about a TV show or just shooting the breeze over lunch. Either way, because you're having these regular in-person exchanges, you increase the likelihood of discussing important aspects of the projects that you're working on. Even if only in passing. Amazingly, a huge percentage of business is conducted in contexts that are not explicitly for business, such as over a meal or during a social gathering. Now, at this point you're wondering all this in-person stuff is great, but what does this have to do with remote teams? Well, when you work remotely, all of these natural built in touch points with your colleagues disappear. And that's a problem. This is why we say that your interactions have to be deliberate. Suddenly when you aren't in the same space as your colleagues, the onus falls on you to build rapport with them and to keep up a steady flow of communication. If you don't do it deliberately, it just won't happen. So when you're on a remote team, make sure you set up regular points of interaction with each other, including informal ones where the purpose is simply to check in with each other and have a casual conversation. For example, when you reach out to someone for the first time in the morning, start by asking how their day is going or what they did over the weekend, or do a group video call with each other over lunch where you can catch up on the fun stuff. The point is that you shouldn't be afraid to mix business with personal matters because after all, that's what we do when we talk in person. It's what makes us human. Knowing that we need to work a little bit harder to achieve the same results when there is a computer screen between us. By establishing this human connection with your remote teammates, you'll feel a much deeper sense of belonging and purpose and the quality of your overall communications will improve dramatically. It's a hack of human nature that has a very real positive impact on the productivity and output of the team. 3. Make Communication Explicit: Since we're on the topic of team interactions, let's now zoom in on an important aspect of digital communications, which is the importance of being explicit in your communications. Now, your goal should always be to communicate with clarity. But when you're working remotely, this becomes a much bigger challenge. That's because when we use digital communication tools, a great deal of information is lost in transit. Consider for a second that 93% of communication is conveyed through body language and tone of voice. Only seven is conveyed through your words. That means that when you send an email, you've lost 93% of your communicative power. Yikes. The loss of fidelity is not quite as drastic was video calls where you can at least see and hear the other person. But between poor internet connections, cheap mics and fuzzy laptop cameras, not to mention the dog barking in the background. It's safe to say that even video calls are a far cry from the ultra high definition experience of communicating in person. To address this lack of fidelity in digital communications, you need to make sure that you are as explicit as possible about what it is that you're trying to say. Your goal when communicating digitally is to eliminate all ambiguity. Leave nothing you say or here, open to interpretation. This might feel like overkill, but it's always better to err on the side of over-communicating for the sake of clarity. If you're describing a complex task, break each part of the task down into clear, bite-sized pieces that can be easily understood and acted on. Spell things out. If you need something done a specific way, spare no detail in your description. Each item you leave unexplained increases the risk for confusion. It's also vital to regularly check for comprehension during your communications. Once you pass along instructions, make sure the recipient fully understands those instructions. Ask them if they have any questions or if any aspects of the assignment requires further explanation. Likewise, if you receive instructions that you weren't crystal-clear on, it's your responsibility to get clarity on that. Don't be afraid to let them know that you weren't quite sure what they meant. Be specific about what confused you and ask them politely to elaborate. Remote collaboration is very much a measure twice cut once activity. The more certainty you can establish at the outset, the more time you'll save in the long run. 4. Address Emotions Immediately: Another critical component of successful remote collaboration is the early identification and removal of emotional friction. Left unattended negative sentiments within teams can quickly spiral into dysfunctional collaboration, low quality output and missed deadlines. In practice, that means you need to be on high alert for any indications of frustration or discomfort between you and your colleagues. Emotions can be particularly difficult to discern in written communication. That's because it's very easy to misinterpret people's intentions when you can't hear their tone of voice or read their body language. For example, you might make a joke in an instant chat, but the recipient mistakes that for an insult, or perhaps your colleague doesn't reply to an email you sent them. You might interpret that as them being annoyed at you when in reality they were just trying to be consider it by not crowding your inbox with an unnecessary acknowledgement. In remote teams, misunderstandings like this are a dime a dozen. Furthest reason it's best to not leave anything open to interpretation. If you send something's amiss or if you feel some discomfort yourself, be sure to get to the bottom of the matter. If you make a joke, makes sure to state that it was a joke. If you think they're annoyed, check in with them to see if everything's OK. In situations where you need to assess someone's emotional status, it's often a good idea to switch to a higher resolution mode of communication, such as a phone call or a video call, so that you can read their faces and tone of voice to better assess the teammates state of mind. How ever you do it. The sooner you can root out any emotional friction, the better off the whole team will be. So act fast and act early. 5. Effective Project Management Systems: So far we focused on the communicative aspects of remote collaboration. We're now going to shift gears to discuss some of the more mechanical aspects of online teamwork that enable you to get more done in less time with fewer errors. Let's begin with the cornerstone of any highly successful team, an effective project management system. I know this one sounds obvious. Any team worth its salt has some kind of task management process. But There's a big difference between having a system and actually using that system. I always say that the only system that works is a system you use. And the only system you use is a system that works a bit of a chicken and egg situation perhaps, but that's okay. Let's start with a system that works. Part a working project management system does three things. One, it identifies who is responsible for what. This ensures that everyone knows their role on the team. You don't want a situation where two people are working on the same thing without realizing it, or the opposite where one component of the project never gets completed because everyone thought someone else was gonna do it. You want absolute clarity on the allocation of project deliverables. So make sure your system can do that too. It establishes the order and timing for when the various components of the project are required. The obvious benefit of this is that you're more likely to keep to your deadlines. Clients and bosses don't like late deliveries. But another important benefit of managing the order and timing is that it prevents inefficiencies where one person on the team is stuck twiddling their thumbs while they wait for another team member to complete a preceding part of the project. Often not everyone needs to be working on the same project simultaneously. In fact, effective project management systems only pulling this specific team members when they're needed. That way they're free to work on other projects without pulling up the group. Three. It provides a clear picture of how far along each team member is in completing their part of the project. This is tightly connected with what we were just discussing about order and timing. Team members need to be able to track the progress of the project so that they know when to jump in at the time that they're needed. Likewise, visibility into project progress helps identify bottlenecks where additional resources might be required. If a certain part of the project is overwhelming the team. That should be immediately clear so that resources can be reallocated accordingly. So now that we've covered the key aspects of an effective project management system, take a look at the current system your team is working with. You know, which of your team members is responsible for what and in what sequence? Do you know how far along they are toward completing their part? If your answer is no to any of those questions, you'll want to reconfigure your project management system so that it meets the essential requirements. 6. Develop a System You Use: Now, we mentioned earlier that the only system that works is the system you use. Let's talk about the system you use bit. Most project management systems are far too complicated. They involve dozens of hoops to jump through. And they can feel so burdensome that adhering to them takes more time than just winging it. In such cases, most teams end up abandoning their systems in favor of messy email chains and unstructured phone calls. Now, we obviously don't want that to happen. And the trick to preventing it is to keep things simple. You don't need fancy project management software with all the bells and whistles. Software works when used properly, but it's often overkill for smaller projects. In many cases, your system can be as simple as a shared Google Doc outlining everyone's roles and the project timeline. And you can include a section for project updates that gets filled in at the end of each day. Speaking of team updates, resist the temptation to be verbose. Instead, use as few words as possible to communicate the essential information. Every superfluous inclusion, waste your time and that of your teammates. The more succinct you are, the more attention your team will pay to what you say. And in the rare case where the teammate needs further clarification, make it easier by reaching out to them separately over instant chat or a phone call. Ultimately, the easier and faster the system is to use, the more likely your team is to use it. So take a look at your existing project management system. Are there aspects of it that feel onerous or take too long to complete? Is any part of it confusing or unnecessary on it? Every step of the system asking the question, does this step have a clear purpose? Make sure it fits into the three-part framework we discussed in the previous section. For an effective system, a sure sign that the system isn't working is that people aren't using it. So that's a good place to start. But even heavily used systems often have room for improvement. And the combined time and resource savings of small improvements can go a very long way. Now, you don't always have a choice in terms of the system you use. Sometimes a company or client will require you to work within whatever system they already have in place. If that's the case, get together with your team to figure out a way to make things simpler within the constraints that you have. You can even have a simple sides system more suited to your needs that you use in parallel with the Mandatory System. As with most things where there's a will, there's a way. 7. The Purpose of SOP: The term standard operating procedures, AK SOP, make people yawn. It refers to a set of guidelines for how things are done. Ok, maybe that doesn't sound too exciting. I get it. But SOP can be the difference between a team that stays ahead of schedule and one that falls behind. How is that possible? Because SOP allow teams, especially remote teams, to work in a highly productive and autonomous manner by agreeing ahead of time on a uniform design style or a uniform level of polish or a uniform way of submitting work and providing feedback. Individuals can work for extended periods of time, knowing that they are in sync with the rest of the team. Think of it like building a jigsaw puzzle. If you can agree ahead of time on how the pieces will fit together and you use a standardized way of forming the pieces. You know that when the time comes to actually put the puzzle together, everything will fit neatly into place. This prevents a situation where the project manager needs to constantly micromanage the team members to ensure that they are doing things in a coordinated fashion. It avoids that painful moment at the end of a project where one part of the project looks completely different than another part. Sop can also save tons of time because no one needs to ask or guess how to do things. The rules are established at the beginning so that there's no confusion down the road as to whether Bob or Jane should be the one to review the first draft or if corrections should be provided using Microsoft Word or Adobe Acrobat, or if assets should be shared using email or slack. Sop alleviates cognitive load and dramatically reduces the risk of human error. 8. Establishing Your SOP: So now that we've established the importance of SOP, let's now talk about how to set up your own SOP. Of course, every team has a unique set of needs and circumstances. But fortunately, the concepts of SOP are broadly applicable to any team. Since SOP are designed to standardize team processes, a good place to start is to address the most repetitive and error prone aspects. Your team dynamics. Often this will be at a point where you begin to combine submissions from individual team members. For example, if you're working on a PowerPoint deck, one person might have made some slides using a different color scheme or font, then the other person working on the deck. Or if you're working in graphic design, one person might have created a wireframe using pixel units, whereas the receiving person was expecting point units. Whatever industry or discipline your project falls under identified the points at which an individuals work or product merges with the team and ensure that you standardize all aspects of that process. Whether it's formatting units of measurement, style of prose, or method of providing feedback. It's also important to establish clear expectations about hours of availability and what communication channels are appropriate. If team members work in different time zones. You'll also want to ensure that there are periods of overlap where they can communicate synchronously if needed. Think of SOP is a system for making each individual person's preferences and quirks compatible with the team. We all have our own way of doing things, but when it comes to collaborating with others, we need to operate on some common ground so that the team stays coordinated and productive. So target any aspects of your team dynamics where individual preferences conflict with the needs of the project and create a set of SOP that addresses those points of conflict. 9. Understanding Communication Channels: When you use communication channels effectively, they amplify your team's output. When used incorrectly, they disrupt the flow of your team and stifle productivity. In this section, we're going to discuss how to make communication channels a force multiplier rather than an obstacle. But first, let's start with a more fundamental question. What are communication channels? Communication channels are the circuitry of remote collaboration, like the nervous system in your body. Communication channels coordinate the needs of the team, the brain, with the actions of the individual team members, the body parts. Not long ago, we only had two options for communicating with each other. Either we spoken person, we wrote each other letters. These days, we have an abundance of options. Email, SMS, instant messaging, video calls. The list goes on. But the dichotomy of communications hasn't changed. You have synchronous communication and you have asynchronous communication. In-person communication is synchronous, meaning it happens in real time. It's immediate. When you speak, the person you're speaking to hears it instantly and responds accordingly. Synchronous communication is the dominant form of communication when you're in an office, swinging by someone's desk, chatting with them in the break room, or joining a group in the conference room are all examples of synchronous communication. Phone calls are also synchronous, assuming you get through to the person you call. But what if you left a voicemail or sent an email or DM, Dm on Slack. Those are all forms of asynchronous communication. In contrast to synchronous communication, asynchronous communication does not happen immediately. Instead, there's a delay between when you transmit the message and when it's received. The differences between synchronous and asynchronous communication have important implications for how effective team communication is conducted. We're now going to discuss those implications in detail. 10. Setting Expectations for Communication Channels: The abundance of communication channels in our modern world empowers us to reach whomever we want, whenever we want. But with great power comes great responsibility. For example, it's tempting to always default to using synchronous communication. If I need something from a teammate when I get it immediately, isn't sooner, better than later. Not necessarily. The strength of synchronous communication is also its weakness. While getting an immediate answer is great for you. It might not be great for your teammates if they're in the middle of a task that requires deep concentration, a phone call or the ping of an instant message can be highly disruptive. After being interrupted, it can take up to 30 minutes for a person to re-enter their flow state, which is the state of optimal productivity. In other words, the cost of lost productivity from your teammate is often greater than the value of getting an instant answer from them. Bear this in mind the next time you reach for your phone. Consider sending an email or a slack message, which gives your team at a chance to respond when it's convenient to avoid fears about not getting responses in time. The best thing to do is to establish response time expectations in your teams. Sop, identify specific communication channels and how much time team members had to respond to those channels. For example, all emails from team members must be replied to you within 24 hours, or all instant messages must be answered within an hour. Whatever you go with, be very explicit in the language of the SOP so that everyone is crystal clear on the expectations. The benefit of building communication channels into your S sub p is that the team members won't feel pressure to check the various communication channels more frequently than is needed. This allows them to instead focus on maximizing the productivity. Likewise, communication SRP enables everyone to be much smarter about which communication channels they use based on how quickly they need a response. 11. The Priority Axis: When it comes to prioritizing your communications, there's a simple but powerful framework you can use for choosing the appropriate communication channel. We'll call this the priority axis. Imagine a square divided into four quadrants. The vertical y-axis is urgency from low to high, and the horizontal x-axis, its importance from low to high. And anything that is low importance and low urgency will be placed into the bottom left quadrant. Items in this quadrant fallen to the, I'll mention it when I'm next chatting with them category. These items don't deserve their own email or phone call which could distract your teammate. They're really just an FYI that you can tack on to your next higher priority communication. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you have items that are high importance and high urgency. These will be placed into the top right quadrant. They require urgent action, meaning a phone call or an instant message is appropriate even if it interrupts the teaming. This is because you need rapid confirmation that the message has been received, communicated, and will be acted on expeditiously. Next, we have the high importance and low urgency category, which falls into that bottom right quadrant. These items are perfect for an email. And email ensures the teammates sees it when they next check their inbox, but it doesn't kick them out of their group. Given the high level of importance, you might ask for a confirmation receipt in your email to ensure it was understood and properly delivered. The trickiest items are the ones that are considered low importance and high urgency. These fall into the top left quadrant. With these items, you'll need to make a judgment call based on the specific context. Since they're urgent, you might want to use instant chat to get the person's attention. That said, you probably want to avoid a phone call if possible, since the importance doesn't quite warrant that level of disruption. So those are the four quadrants of the priority axis. Going forward. When you've reached out to a teammate, think carefully about where that question or request belongs on the priority axis, taking into account the importance of the request and how quickly it needs to be acted on. Most things aren't as black and white as we'd like. But using a framework like this helps us be more thoughtful and strategic about how we engage with our teammates. The cumulative effect of smarter communication can have a very meaningful positive impact on a team's productivity. 12. Choosing the Appropriate Communication Channels: We've talked a lot about communication channels in general. Let's now zoom into some specific use cases with some of the most common types of communication channels. Every team has its own unique preferences and needs. So treat these really as a springboard for coming up with your own set of communication SOP. Let's start with email. Email is a great way to structure ideas, communicate, instructions, and outline multi-step processes. It also provides a durable written record, which is handy when you need to prove that the communication took place. But that durability means you should put extra care and thought into composing the message. Avoid email if you're sending an emotionally charged message or don't have time to write something clearly. In other words, be deliberate and disciplined with this medium of communication because once you send it, it ain't going away. Next is phone calls. Phone calls are a powerful tool that should be used with care. It often saves a lot of time to hash something out over the phone instead of getting bogged down in a lengthy back and forth over email. While phone calls among younger generations may be on the decline when it comes to professional situations, a phone call can go a long way in extraditing a process and strengthening relationships, the voice interactions significantly improves the quality and clarity of the communication. If you talk to any salesperson, they'll tell you they close more business over the phone than any other channel. That's because you can more easily establish emotional connections with the other person, which is also helpful when discussing sensitive topics with teammates. Just keep in mind that phone calls can be time-consuming and disruptive if not managed properly. So deploy them strategically using your handy priority axis. Now let's talk about video calls. Similar to phone calls. Video calls work really well if you need to check in with your teammates in a more intimate way, being able to read people's faces can be very helpful for gauging how they're feeling about a topic being discussed. Making these connections boost morale and the fidelity of communication. Reducing the chance of misunderstandings. That said, not every call needs to be a video call. They do take more mental effort and anyone who has spent a day jumping from one video call to the next knows it can be exhausting. So be thoughtful before upgrading from a phone to a video call. Next, let's take a look at instant messaging apps. There are a wide range of instant messaging tools on the market, whether it's Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts, or WhatsApp. These apps offer the immediacy of phone calls without quite the same level of disruption is to messaging apps are a nice middle ground where you need a response relatively urgently, but you don't want to draw things out with a fully fledged conversation over the phone. They're great for quick questions with short answers. And since they're in text form, he had something durable that you can reference in the future if you ever forget what you just discussed. But be mindful that instant messaging apps can jolt teammates out of their groove. So try to limit their use to situations that require faster responses than Email. Finally, let's talk about collaboration and project management software. This include apps like Sana, slack, Microsoft Teams, and JIRA. These modern software tools offer a great blend of the advantages of email and instant chat. They help bring order to chaotic conversations and make it much easier to loop in the right teammates without spamming the entire team. In most cases, using this software is a better option than e-mail or instant messaging because it consolidates everything in a public way on a single platform. Discussions can be shared and documents can be attached without copy-pasting are messy formatting for these reasons, a best practice is to first consider collaboration software before using any other form of communication. Just make sure you've set up an organized and systematic way to use the software in your SOP. 13. Advantages of Multiple Communication Channels: At this point, you might be wondering why having multiple communication channels is a good thing. Isn't it simpler to just stick to one or two channels? Some purists would agree with you. We've all heard about that CEO who says they don't notice smartphone and they only do business in person. What they're not telling you is that they have an army of subordinates enabling their illusion of simplicity. And you can bet those subordinates are using every communication channel at their disposal to coordinate that person's interactions with the world. They act as a filter, ensuring that only the most important information reaches the CEO. Now, most of us don't have that luxury. Instead, like a prospect or scowling a river bed for gold nuggets, We have to sift through all the unimportant information to pick out the important bits. That manual filtering is a time consuming, an error-prone process. For example, when your inboxes overflowing with junk mail and cluttered from chatter with colleagues. It's very easy to miss important messages from a client on a critical project or an update from a teammate. The fewer communication channels you use, the more cluttered they become. If you rely solely on email or worse yet, a single email address, your inbox becomes unmanageable. If you do everything by phone, you'll inevitably miss a call from someone with important information. If you do everything by text message, you'll have a huge headache trying to keep things organized. This is where having multiple communication channels comes into play by disaggregating communications across a variety of mediums, you can manage the flow of information in a more organized way. The key is to be more strategic about which communication channels you use for which types of communication. Now, you can't always control how people reach out to you, but you can control how you reach out to them. Typically, if you send someone a text, You'll get a text back. If you send them an email, they're likely to reply with an email. So start with the correct channel, and chances are things we'll stay on that correct channel. You can also let people know how you'd like to be contacted in specific contexts. Tell them you don't like to be called out of the blue or that you rarely respond to text messages. If someone contacts you it using an inappropriate channel, reply to them using a better channel. For example, when you receive an instant chat that requires a lengthy explanation, don't hesitate to switch to email or scheduled call to follow up. In team context, specifically, communication channels should be spelled out explicitly in your SOP. This way, everyone on the team knows how to contact each other in a way that is minimally disruptive. Allowing the team to stay productive and organized while using multiple communication channels can feel overwhelming at first. Once you build a strategy around how to use them, they can be enormously empowering, enabling you to process immense volumes of information in a highly efficient manner. 14. Closing Thoughts: As we said at the start, online teamwork and remote collaboration are the future of work. Mastering the principles in this course will future proof your ability to be effective and productive in modern team configurations, especially where there's no physical headquarters. And because the concepts in this course apply broadly to any team contexts. If you can thrive in a remote team environment, you will thrive in any team environment. Taking this course was your first step. Your job is to now put the content of this course into practice, review each section, and start to think about ways you can apply the principles to your own work. Start gradually, choose a topic and take a week to implement it into your workflow. Then move on to the next one. With practice, much of this will begin to feel natural to you and it's well worth the investment. Remember, these concepts have no expiration date. The sooner you internalize them, the more value you'll derive from them throughout your career. 15. Wrapping Up: Wow, you made it all the way to the end. Go you, we are so happy you set aside the time to take this course. If you are happy with it, we'd really appreciate hearing what you liked about it in your review. If you have any feedback, please don't hesitate to reach out to us. These courses are living documents and we're always looking for ways to make them even better. If you want to learn more about our work at explaining, check us out at exploring dot co, where we have hundreds of free lessons on personal and professional social skills. You can also subscribe to our YouTube channel, exploring with Mary Daphne. Finally, if you have any suggestions for other new courses, let us know about that too. We structure all of our content around the needs of our students. Thanks so much again for your time and best of luck with your remotes collaboration.