Updated: Jun 22

The Corona pandemic has greatly changed our everyday working lives. Even though the trend towards virtual collaboration was already apparent before the pandemic, the pandemic has accelerated this trend. Studies predict that as early as 2024, only 25% of all meetings will take place in the presence of the participants on site; the majority will be held online. This change has a particular impact on group dynamics, communication and trust within teams. In the virtual space we are confronted with a new limited kind of communication. Signals that are sent and received by us when we speak to a person facing us, through our body posture or facial expression, are more difficult to recognise and understand in the virtual space. For example, it is more common in virtual meetings that the different roles within a team are not clearly visible and it is more difficult to filter out which person in the group is perhaps particularly important for further cooperation. In addition, more than 30% of the participants in meetings or workshops in the virtual space do several tasks at the same time and become self-proclaimed multitaskers. Accordingly, less attention remains for the respective tasks. This makes it difficult to build trust within a group or team as a necessary condition for taking responsibility for the group or the task.

So there are already a lot of known challenges for virtual teams and their online collaboration and yet, even after the pandemic, the trend will continue to move towards virtual collaboration. So what can we do to facilitate our virtual collaboration, strengthen the virtual team and keep them motivated? Here are five simple but effective tips to help facilitate successful meetings even in the virtual space and bring teams that are geographically separated a little closer together:

  1. Visualise the work. Especially in the virtual space, studies have shown that good visualisation of results and work steps leads to group members becoming more involved and participating more in discussions. There are many visualisation tools that are suitable for different purposes. If it needs to be simple and quick, Google Jamboard, for example, is perfectly adequate. For more complicated processes and visualisations that go beyond Post-Its, we recommend miro or mural.

  2. Feedback rounds. Asking for feedback that addresses not only the results of a work but also the process promotes the cooperation of virtual teams. It is important how the feedback is formulated. Negative or attacking feedback has a negative effect. Again, visualisations and discussion guides for feedback (e.g. sandwich feedback) are suitable, avoiding poorly formulated feedback.

  3. If possible, allow occasional physical meetings. Especially for teams that work together virtually over a very long period of time and the collaboration goes beyond a single workshop, it is recommended to enable team members to meet and get to know each other in person. These meetings strengthen trust within the teams and thus counteract so-called social loafing (individual group members contribute little or not at all because they rely on others to do the work).

  4. Good facilitation of meetings and workshops. Good moderation is indispensable. Especially in large teams or groups, engagement and participation in discussions or work steps often decreases. Careful moderation can counteract this.

  5. Camera and sound on. In meetings or workshops, ask team members to keep the cameras and, if necessary, the sound on and to remain visible. This leads to more engagement and willingness to discuss.

#corona #virtualteams #virtualworkshops #virtualmeetings #onlinemoderation #homeoffice #parkourworkshop

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Walking is the purest miracle cure if you look at the countless studies on it. Regular exercise lowers blood pressure, improves mood, extends life, lowers the risk of cancer and dementia, strengthens the immune system and many more The direct effect on concentration and creativity is a well-documented fact, as for example a recent American study has shown. Creative tasks (association test) were solved better and faster by students who were in motion compared to students who solved the task while sitting. You can find the study here.

We use these advantages and take our participants outside. It is always an aha experience how many creative ideas are born while walking. We'll tell you in another post how you can best capture and visualize this.

#Creativity #walkandtalk #walkshop #freshairforfreshthoughts #workshops #moderation #partkourworkshops

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Going from zero to a hundred rarely works, especially not in meetings in which results are to be worked out collaboratively. In terms of the group formation process according to Bruce Tuckmann (1965) certain phases are required that enable a group to work together constructively. It is therefore important to ensure that the group can go through each of these phases, even in short meetings. We offer space so that members can get to know each other (forming) and clarify their interests and positions (storming) and support the process with appropriate exercises. Only then can tasks be processed meaningfully (performing). Therefore: Support the group formation at the beginning giving a lot of guidance and later let the group self-organize more and more - this way meetings are guaranteed to work well and it is also more fun! At PARKOUR, we take these phases into account, in shorter meetings as well as in online formats in order to enable our participants to work together effectively and successfully.

#teambuilding #groupdynamic #workshop #moderation #facilitation

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