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Since Cover Story Media, Inc® (parent company of We Rock Your Web), is a virtual team, you would think that emails would be excessive. However, we have set ourselves up to behave just the opposite. We have different outlets of communication that serve different roles to cut down on email clutter.
Virtual Team Management: avoid email blasts
As for emails, you can imagine how many you would need to send out for a virtual team since we are not around for face-to-face conversations everyday. However, we manage to keep the amount of emails fairly low. Instead of relying on email, we use different outlets for different tasks. Finding and using the right tools for virtual teams is essential to communicate successfully.
- Project Management – Our primary mode of communication for projects and tasks is Basecamp. This project management tool creates the central hub for 95% of our discussions which keeps it all in one place and nicely organized by task – and out of my inbox.
- Quick Questions – We use Slack’s chat feature to ask quick, direct questions.
- Troubleshooting/Team Calls – Google Hangouts allows for great video conferencing and screensharing. But, sometimes, the good old fashion phone works best for having more detailed, one-on-one conversations.
- Article Sharing – Google Plus is where we share trend and industry-related articles.
- Socializing – We have a private group or “breakroom” on Facebook to share any new technology we come across, a picture of a cute dog or discuss our weekend plans.
- Email – We reserve email for bigger picture strategy talk and more collaborative discussions.
Slack is our latest discovery and one of our favorites. Slack is a virtual office space that helps our team stay connected. We can instant message to individuals or groups and see who’s online/in the office at any given time. This is a great way to know when someone is available to discuss questions or issues. We’ve also found it helpful to have a “Urgent” group that allows us to share technical or other critical concerns that the entire team needs to be aware of. Slack integrates also with lots of other services we use like Google Hangout, Dropbox, etc. so we can jump on conference calls or share files efficiently all in one place. We previously used Google Chat and Sococo for these purposes, but had privacy concerns (and costs for Sococo) that drove us to find a new solution and Slack as exceeded our expectations – for FREE!
Learn more about our project management software, Basecamp, in the video below.
You may think that being a part of a virtual team would mean you wouldn’t know your coworkers and bosses as well. However, I find it the complete opposite. I think we are more efficient and we know each other better because of the way we do things. There are specific outlets for certain discussions and some are more active on social media than others but overall, it works for us. So, remember, not everything has to be done through email, especially if you are working in the same office. If you have a quick question, why not just walk over to your coworker’s desk? Email is not always the answer and often can create more confusion than it solves.
Do you have any communication tips on how to make your team more effective?