- Do you find yourself repeating the same information to different individuals?
- Is there confusion about who’s doing what in your virtual project? You talk to one person and they think the “other person” is doing it.
- Do you have trouble locating your documents, and then when you finally find what you want >> you’re not sure if it’s the latest version!
- Do you sometimes think you’ve told someone something, only to find out they don’t know what the heck you’re talking about!
- When a key player is no longer working with your online business, do you spend hours re-explaining your systems or retraining a replacement
Warning >>> your virtual business could be losing money, valuable information and paying thousands of dollars in unnecessary retraining and rework!!
In a virtual, online working environment there is a special need for the skills and on-going learnings of the organisation to be captured and retained. Especially when individuals are often working across different time zones.
Having information systems in place in ANY work environment is absolutely essential to the success and smooth operation of a business. In a typical work environment, people will see each other face-to-face, share information freely when they meet at the water cooler or when they head out together for a business lunch.
However, in a virtual work environment when you are not having that daily, face-to-face interaction, systems become even more important.
Your virtual team needs to have established systems and processes in place that will ensure when an individual team member discovers valuable information about her tasks, client information, areas for system improvement, changes to processes etc. – then other team members can be updated and informed regardless of what time, or what place they are working from.
Here’s 4 important ways to make sure you capture and retain information across your entire virtual team…
#1 Establish An Online “Real Time” Collaborative Information Portal For Your Team
There are hundreds of systems available online. Do your research – find a tool that suits your business size, style and structure. Take advantage of trial offers to make sure they work for your business .
#2 Set-up Procedures and Processes to capture and share information
This information should be attached to the portal or collaboration center. This information should be LIVE and immediately updated as change happens within your business. A dead document of processes that sits on a PC or laptop is not going to work for you. I know one company that charges $20,000+ to document business systems and processes, yet they deliver the final product via a document of flowcharts that requires special software to access & update. Hardly useful. What a waste of money!!
#3 Record and share training sessions with video and/or audio capture software
Whether you’re creating or sharing valuable “how to” information with an individual or training with a group always capture the information via video and/or audio. Make the information available to the entire team and a system of information individuals and teams that new information is available
#4 Record collaborative meetings and share relevant information
One mistake I see virtual team leaders make, is sharing important information with individuals working within the same time zone. That communication is mentally “crossed off the list” as being communicated to the team, when in reality, only one or two people know what’s going on. For individuals who are asleep while you’re working, capture important meetings and make sure the information is shared with ALL relevant parties. No need to repeat yourself, just one communication necessary.
What are your favourite ways to share information across your virtual office? Share with our virtual online community in the comment box below. We’d love to hear from your own personal experiences.