A remote but heartfelt hello to everyone!
Many of us collaborate often remotely. Sometimes event mainly remotely and this enables us to be very flexible and “get together” with people from all over the world.
We have virtual meetings, chats, blogs and platform such as this very one, share documents and pinboards.
However, also quite often we feel some lack of connection or miscommunication. Some of us have the urge to go to coworking spaces to work next to people. If you work with collaborators and projects all across Europe, chances are you end up travelling a lot to check-in and connect on-site and get to know your collaborators more directly.
It is great that we live in a world where we are able to experience different places and cultures and have friends and collaborators everywhere. However, as invigorating and perspective enhancing as such travels can be, they also put a lot of stress on ourselves and on the environment.
In the last few months I talked to many people who are used to travelling a lot for their international projects and collaborations and I myself and my husband usually spend at least one week per month apart because one of use is travelling for job and project purposes. We and many of those I talked to want to travel less in the upcoming year and in a project with Climate KIC, Edgeryders works on recommendations for people how to improve remote collaborations to decrease the need for travel.
I believe that one of the reasons that online remote work is sometimes perceived as insufficient or lacking in social aspects and the need for travel arising from that is that we have not yet consciously grasp the characteristics and needs of each channel and learn social cues, conventions and strategies to use those channels best.
Certain signals are heightened or dampened in a video call or chat in comparison to a direct conversation. We need to learn new conventions and “Best Practises” for those channels.
Therefore I want to ask you here for your stories, experiences and ideas:
For example: Compensating social signals/interactions by including personal aspects in professional virtual meetings.
During our Edgeryders team calls the cats or children of teammembers sometimes walk by and are then introduced to us. I feel that this makes the atmosphere in the video call more direct and relaxed. “Professionalism” could have different boundaries and faces in this channel. If I do mainly meet my coworkers via such a channel, I actually appreciate if their pets or children come by or if they share something about private projects they are pursuing, because this makes them more human and real to me.
It is also easier to remember and connect community members that have jined in the Comunity calls or told more about their concrete histories, experiences and personalities in their introductions and their profiles gain resolution, depth and therefore reality and memorability. We want you to share your personal stories here instead of just a research report or project pitch because those personal details are what enable us to connect more deeply even when discussing and collaborating remotely asynchronous. The internet of humans has to find ways to allow for and use the developed cognitive ability of the human brain to make social connections.
- Which methods and moments have made remote collaboration and communication richer for you?
I would also appreciate your opinion on how to deal with workload management and reporting in a remote and asynchronous collaboration architecture:
When you are responsible for contributing to multiple different aspects of different projects with collaborators that are based in different places and systems it is hard for you and them to gage your workload. We have to heavily rely on self-reporting, which in itself is a management skill one needs to learn.
How do you estimate and keep track of your workload?
How do you communicate it to your collaborators who can not see the bags under your eyes or you frantically typing away in the corner of the office?
How should we remind each other of the tasks we committed to?
If you would work in the same office, just seeing your colleague over there would maybe already remind you to finish that job for them you committed to. If you do not see them you might forget. If they keep reminding you via chat it can build up anxiety, especially if the messages come in constantly (even weekends).
- What are good ways to remind each other of what needs to be done?
Please share examples of when remote collaboration/interaction worked especially well for you or what definitely not to do
Let’s develop those new social conventions for remote communication and collaboration together :).