Productivity

Coworking spaces: Perfect offices for remote collaboration

remote collaboration

A recent study shows that over 70% of people would leave their jobs for a position that allows them to work remotely. This fact has already led many employers to transition some of their highest paid positions to being entirely or partially location-independent, and setting up processes for remote collaboration.

Many would agree that a balance of office and remote work can increase collaboration results. There are plenty of processes and collaboration software that are designed to help improve communication in remote teams, but sometimes the reality of not having a specific office to work in each day can be challenging and even decrease productivity. People are creatures of habit; with a remote position comes the challenge to create an independent routine without anyone overseeing what you actually do on a day-to-day basis. If you have a telecommuting job and are longing for an office setting or community, coworking spaces may just be the place for you.

Coworking By the Numbers

Coworking locations are essentially a designated space for remote workers, entrepreneurs, and even start-up businesses to work from in a collaborative setting. If your business is entirely made up of remote workers, it can be difficult to gain a real sense of company culture or to regularly collaborate and network with like-minded colleagues. Coworking gives people who have the option to telecommute a chance to establish a community of similarly remote workers and habitually return to one dependable, dynamic office setting.

Already, the future of the business world is leaning towards co-working. According to the Global Coworking Survey in 2017, the amount of people renting a workstation in a coworking space reached a whopping 1 million (up from 510,000 in 2015). This high number is a result of there being over 13,800 coworking spaces worldwide today, compared to 8,700 in 2015. This trend is further reflected buy code working managers on a global scale—39% of whom plan to open a new space, and 27% of whom plan to expand their existing space to incorporate more desks.

The Many Advantages of Coworking for Remote Collaboration

Clearly, the popularity of coworking spaces across the globe demonstrates that these types of spaces are extremely popular among remote workers, who are also known as digital nomads. People genuinely like to feel a sense of belonging, and these spaces give remote workers that chance to be part of a community when they otherwise wouldn’t normally interact with like-minded workers on a daily basis. A report by Harvard Business Review cited the following advantages to coworking:

  1. Improved creativity
  2. Furthered remote collaboration
  3. Less competition
  4. Strengthened work identity
  5. More flexible hours

Telecommuters who use coworking spaces during the day also find that they often thrive in their positions when given the chance to work and environment with other creative, collaborative people. Plus, it is sometimes a relief to simply have the option retreating to an office setting if needed, as it can become draining to work from home all day, every day, with no one else around.

Next time you are feeling isolated while working from home, consider trying out a coworking space in your local area in order to meet and work among some like-minded telecommuters and entrepreneurs.

Contribution from freelance writer Jenny Holt. Jenny’s previous experience in business has allowed her to specialize in the sector, although she also enjoys writing about entrepreneurship, leadership and new technology.

Chat for teams

14 Team Communication Quotes to Inspire Your Team

team communication quotes

Team communication quotes to inspire your team

Communication is the key to all relationships.

It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about personal or professional relationships here – no one can do without effective communication.

In order to build better relationship with your friends, family, clients or employees you must hone your communication skills.

Team communication in particular is important to master. For a team to function effectively, there must be open channels of communication.

In this article we’ve put together some of the best inspirational team communication quotes to inspire your team to have better conversations.

Alone, we can do so little; together we can do so much.
- Helen Keller

In almost any team that’s bigger than a few people, there is someone who prefers to work alone and have as little interaction with others as possible. This is fine as long as all the committed work as a team gets done. However, active participation from everybody spurs ideas and resources (team members effort) can be used more efficiently and therefore things move faster.

In teamwork, silence isn’t golden, it’s deadly.
- Mark Sanborn

#1 rule of team communication is that everybody should be able to voice their thoughts and ideas. When you feel like some of your team members aren’t contributing enough to the discussions, then try to understand the real reason behind this and possibly solve it. Collectively discussing ideas always brings more on the table than doing it solo.

If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.
- Henry Ford

There’s nothing better than having your team on the same page and moving towards the same goal. That’s why we suggest keeping meetings short, concrete and frequent.

The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.
- Babe Ruth

We see this a lot. People have their own preferences and some group of people and departments like to handle communication on their own terms. Often, e-mail is used for communication across teams. Fleep is built to help you manage all your team chats and cross-team conversations on one platform so that you could play together and play good.

The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn’t being said.
- Peter F. Drucker

And not only hear. Only a small percentage of what we say is received via our voices. Nonverbal communication is the single most powerful form of communication.

Good communication is just as stimulating as black coffee, and just as hard to sleep after.
- Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Hopefully, every team-leader has had these moments where everything is moving. The wheels are turning and progress is being made. Getting people more effective is through self-motivation. Getting things done fast and off your tasklist is definitely satisfying and motivating for lots of people. This can only happen when information moves fast and between the right people. That’s something we aim to achieve with our collaboration software.

Communicate in a respectful manner – don’t just tell your team members what you want, but explain to them why.
- Jeffrey Morales

Having a sense of purpose in your actions is important. You’ll always come off as someone good to work with when you let people know your motives.

Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something.
- Plato

One of the most powerful skills to master as a team player is to know when is not the time to talk about your dog or iterate thoughts of others just because sake of talking. We’ve all been to one of these meetings where someone just keeps talking about something that was covered already. Be wiser, listen carefully and respect the time of your team members. Complement each other, don’t compete for attention.

The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.
- George Bernard Shaw

Never assume people understand you the way you convey your ideas. This can be especially harmful in text-based environment, where there’s more room for interpretation. Additionally, if we’re talking about text-based group conversations, we cannot assume that everybody understood the message the same. If you don’t get a response to your idea, ask for feedback or try break it down to smaller pieces.

Effective communication is 20% what you know and 80% how you feel about what you now.
- Jim Rohn

We, humans often think with our emotions and feelings. That’s not a bad thing at all. If we speak with passion and great enthusiasm, we inspired others to follow. Having enthusiasm is contagious and gets your team going faster.

There is only one rule for being a good talker – learn to listen.
- Christopher Morley

Everybody has their own style, but nothing beats being respectful for your peers. Try to be someone who adds value to the conversations and not someone who grabs the attention.

I have always believed that technology should do the hard work – discovery, organization, communication – so users can do what makes them happiest: living and loving, not messing with annoying computers! That means making our products work together seamlessly.
- Larry Page

Well, the founder of Google sure knows what he’s talking about. Technology is a wonderful helper to make our lives more simpler. If you’re not using any project management and/or collaboration software for daily conversations a task management – you’re missing out.

Any problem, big or small, within a family, always seems to start with bad communication. Someone isn’t listening.
- Emma Thompson

Businesses and teams are like families. They need to co-exist, get along and generate outcome (in business it’s new products, revenue, campaigns etc). The closer together they work, the higher is the chance of success. That means having fluid conversations.

To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.
- Anthony Robbins

We all come from different beliefs and have different perceptions. Therefore the way we send and receive information varies greatly.

We hope that these team communication and motivational quotes will inspire your team as well it has others. If you want to increase the productivity of your team, consider signing up for Fleep – it’s free to use for as long as you want.

Johannes Kanter

 

Johannes helps small businesses with their online marketing challenges and writes about Instagram marketing for his blog GettingGrowth.com.

Chat for teams

Why expressing emotion really matters in messaging

More than words

As humans, we need real interaction to bond and build trust. Today, we also rely on the digital extension of our relationships to keep the conversation flowing. In an age in which economies and friendships span oceans and time zones, we certainly need some sort of virtuality.

emotion

Audio and video have become common ways of interacting with each other already. Yet written communication still remains the predominant way of keeping in touch across geographies and cultures.

According to Albert Mehrabian, in an ambiguous situation,

(…) words account for 7%, tone of voice accounts for 38%, and body language accounts for 55% (…)

Ambiguous in this context means that in the perception of the recipient, the spoken words and the tone/gestures do not match.

Mehrabian’s theory might not be a general rule of thumb for all communication scenarios out there. However, written communication has the required level of ambiguity to make the rule applicable. In particular, if the communicators come from different cultures and therefore don’t share the same mother tongue.

To miss out on a nuance in tone can completely change the meaning of a sentence. The lack of a common cultural background might lead to misinterpretations on an even bigger scale. Even if people speak the same basic language (e.g. English), the meaning of a certain expression might be fundamentally different from the spoken word as shown by the Independent.co.uk in 2015.

I can’t see your eyes, so I don’t know what you’re saying

Crime shows have taught us how agents identify liars by their facial expressions and gestures. In modern coaching, techniques like “mimic resonance” receive a lot of attention because they can help to overcome the “non-verbal” barrier for understanding each other.

But what happens if resonating on the other person’s mimics or gestures isn’t an option?

Everyone has been in a situation in which an Email or a text message has caused confusion, slight irritation or outright fury. In the same way, everyone has experienced the awkwardness of realising that the whole hoo-ha was caused by a misinterpretation or wrong assumption.

If we can’t look each other in the eye in the quest for the word’s real meaning, we need to find other ways to convey feeling or intent.

Emoticons in business are unprofessional – but what of emotion?

Research and experts can be found on both ends of the spectrum. Statements such as:

(…) smileys do not increase perceptions of warmth and actually decrease perceptions of competence. Perceptions of low competence in turn undermined information sharing. (…)

(Source: “The dark side of a smiley” (2017) on sagepub.vom)

live next to charts like this one:
Leading reasons for using Emojis according to U.S. internet users as of August 2015

(Source: statista 2015)

Leaving everything to the recipient’s interpretation probably isn’t the right way to go about it. Plastering digital messages with LOLing yellow faces and other emotional hints might not help much either. The middle ground between “professional” and “warm and cuddly” probably lies in the art of using emoticons (or emojis) in moderation.

We can think of it like company team building events: a drink can facilitate the building of new relationships, too many drinks can destroy the same relationships forever.

Another factor that influences the perception of emoticons in business communications is “protocol” or “social conditioning”. A study from the University of Missouri-St. Louis concluded,

(…) In a task-oriented context, where impersonal, cold, and unsociable features of computer-mediated communication are strongly encouraged in order to build credibility or professionalism, using emoticons in e-mail might create a positive expectancy violation by being friendly, emotional, and personal. (…)

If we deny the importance of emotions and the human touch in business relationships, we condition people to perceive them the wrong way: as unprofessional.

So instead of banning emotion and emoticons from written business communication, we might want to teach people the appropriate use and expression of emotion.

We live in a world in which work life balance and well-being play a bigger role than ever. Therefore bringing some human touch to business communications is surely more appropriate than trying to stick rigidly to the “fun is fun and work is work” paradigm of the old days.

Our take on emojis and reactions at Fleep

From day one at Fleep we were in agreement that conveying emotion is essential in digital messaging. That’s why we have our own little set of Fleep-style, hand drawn emoticons that we believe work across cultures.

Just recently we introduced emoji based reactions to give our users even more freedom in expressing their opinion or feeling on a topic with a simple click.

Since a reaction can be much more than just a like or dislike, we even decided to offer a broader spectrum of “emotion”. With the entire set of emojis that are established across almost all digital messaging tools. Fleep users can now be more versatile in feedback with a  one-click statement on a team member’s message.

Sign up and trial Fleep today!

 

About the author

philipp

Philipp is a business coach and consultant who helps teams to find the “True North” for their digitalisation programs & projects. He works with structured discovery, design methods & engaging workshops, drawing on his cross-industry experience in internal & external digitalisation along the way. Find him on digital-sherpa.me and Twitter!

Team Building In A Virtual World

You’ve been looking for the perfect person to join your team for a while, then suddenly you find “the one”. The problem is that they live out of town and the commute is too long.

Team building in a virtual world

Thanks to the increase in remote working, you no longer have to give up on them. In fact, globally, 79% of knowledge workers work outside the office on a regular basis, so you are not alone when building a team of remote workers. The increase in remote working means that companies are balancing presence and remote work to ensure that productivity is not impacted.

Another important factor is building inter-team relationships to maximize collaboration when your staff is no longer sat together in the same room.

Out of sight, out of mind

A survey of 1100 employees conducted by Harvard Business Review found that remote workers felt they weren’t treated equally. Specifically, they worry that they are left out of important project discussions or that their office based co-workers say bad things about them. If not addressed quickly, these negative emotions can lead to productivity issues and increased stress for the remote worker.

Team building is important for a number of reasons, all related to ensuring that the productivity of the team is maximized. A group of individuals who are comfortable with each other are likely to be more creative. If they know each other’s strengths, they can distribute the work effectively to leverage these.

Building Trust

The best way to help a team of remote workers to function well together is to put measures in place to help build trust. It’s easy to assume that when employees first meet, they look to find each other’s strengths.

In reality, they’ll want to find a way to connect, normally through a shared interest or experience.

Due to the increased usage of geographically dispersed teams, communication between teammates is shifting from face to face chats at the water cooler to using online collaboration tools. The time that the employees spend together in one location is minimal. This means that team building activities need to be more engineered.

This can be achieved through encouraging the team to network, sharing virtual coffee breaks or including an informal “get to know you” section into team meetings.

A technique often used by companies with a large number of employees is to hold a group team building event, which brings together the remote employees in one location to engage in a series of planned activities designed to help the team get to know each other better.

Why invest in team building?

Teams are often made up of individuals from different backgrounds with different levels of experience. These people don’t get to choose who they are grouped with but are expected to work collaboratively to achieve a shared result.

Team building is crucial to the success of any business with more than one employee. It has been proven time and time again that spending time focusing on improving team communication can have long term benefits to the company.
Why wait? Invest now to help maximize profits, improve staff retention and empower your teams to be more mission focused.

Contribution from freelance writer Jenny Holt. Jenny’s previous experience in business has allowed her to specialize in the sector, although she also enjoys writing about entrepreneurship, leadership and new technology.

Chat for teams

Make E-Mail great again

It’s not “e-mail” that’s broken…

If we took all the e-mails produced by a company over the period of one year and looked at it from a “could there have been a better option than e-mail” perspective, I truly believe this is what it would look like:
E-Mail usage

No matter what the alternative could have been, in the majority of cases email wasn’t the right vehicle for moving a message from A to B.  For a small minority of cases, it probably was.

I’ve never seen any in-depth content or interaction analysis of corporate e-mail usage beyond end user surveys. But, since e-mail has turned into this intrusive curse, chasing information workers relentlessly across devices and time zones like a sinister spirit, it is clear that something’s not ok.

With the Millennials entering the workplace, this creeping feeling about e-mail has escalated further. Which hoody-wearing future talent would even consider information exchange through this antiquated medium? They Facebook, tweet, WhatsApp, Instagram or Snapchat their way through an always-on world, right?

With the intent of solving this challenge, tech companies from all over the world are introducing entirely new ways of communication to companies. Social Media in the workplace is here. What works in the private world so splendidly, must surely be the solution to the mind numbing avalanche of e-mail in the business world, mustn’t it? So the evangelists have started preaching the bright future of productivity, networking and corporate culture.

We don’t seem to have stopped at any time however, and considered the question: why is e-mail broken? Or: is e-mail even broken at all?

E-mail wasn’t built for real-time communication exchange. It was never designed for collaborating on information and documents. It should never have become the only reliable channel through which “need to know” information could be delivered.

Without even realising it, companies have managed to turn e-mail into the foundation of any business or support process. Over the course of two decades, the global workforce has been gradually conditioned to believe that e-mail is the only way for businesses to interact and exchange information digitally.

Even the good old phone call has fallen victim to the short two line message that can be so conveniently fired off between meetings. It’s really no surprise that what used to be a status symbol of “importance” has turned into a curse in the workplace.

Of course, if we insist on using e-mail for things it was never intended, it will seem broken.  But then its on us, not e-mail itself.

Sometimes, a letter is appropriate.

Not E-Mail

Well, not literally of course. When I say “letter”, I don’t mean the physical piece of paper. A letter in this context is a well considered message. A message that is sent to one or more recipients through an established channel. It conveys a certain level of formality and may be left unread until time allows. A letter can be important but isn’t necessarily urgent. Its recipients are clear and so is the sender.

I believe there are use cases that allow for, or even demand, something other than an instant message, a feed post or an entry in a discussion board. Sometimes popping over a text or answering with an emoji is even outright rude. And sometimes e-mail is the only way anyway, because there simply isn’t any other common channel a group of people share.

Just recently I watched a scene in the Netflix series “The Crown”, in which Queen Elizabeth sat down to write a letter. Before sitting down she paced back and forth, thinking about what she wanted to say. Then she took a piece of paper, opened a fountain pen and took a deep breath before writing the first lines.

This is how we should use e-mail: deliberate, thought through, with a clear objective in mind. The goal should be to convey a message to the recipient, not to just fire it off and be done with it. The format itself should be a clear signal of intent: here is something I need you to really digest and understand. Therefore I have taken the time to write it down. Read it when you have the time.

We can make e-mail great again. Literally.

If we as senders take our communication pace down a notch, we will re-gain time to think about how to write what, to who, and where. After that we can still fire away our chat messages, newsfeed posts and collaboration space comments where appropriate.

Occasionally however, we need to sit down and think for a while, take the time to write a text and choose our words and recipients carefully. Then, sign it and send if off, knowing that at the other end of the line someone will appreciate the format and wait until all the posts, messages and comments have gone quiet to then read our message, consciously and with intent.

Having the best of both worlds is possible.

At Fleep we believe in consolidating communication throughout your organization. Most modern day communication tools almost manage this.

It has become standard to expect chat tools to include messaging, voice and video calls and to let you save and share files easily as a minimum. But Fleep takes things one step further integrating with e-mail. This means you can add people to conversations and teams with their email address and they’ll receive messages as emails until they sign up to Fleep.

The very nature of this should help to foster asynchronous, considered communication within a chat app.

We realise that email has been the tool of choice for a very long time and is still at large in many organisations today. It may even have its place in some scenarios. So while we believe that change is inevitable, we’re committed to making the process of unifying your communication channels less painful by keeping them all in one place.

Sign up and trial Fleep today!

 

About the author

philipp

Philipp is a business coach and consultant who helps teams to find the “True North” for their digitalisation programs & projects. He works with structured discovery, design methods & engaging workshops, drawing on his cross-industry experience in internal & external digitalisation along the way. Find him on digital-sherpa.me and Twitter!