Now that we’ve wrapped our brains around how to meet virtually, we need to figure out how to collaborate remotely, which is an entirely different thing.
A few years ago while I was at The Grove, I worked on a manuscript for an encyclopedic guide to remote collaboration and teaming. In the end, nothing came of that project, but I’d like to share with you these five unpublished chapters that help explain how to set up a virtual workspace for remote teams.
It’s called The Virtual Workspace Architect’s Guide: How to Design and Build a Workspace to Support Remote Collaboration for Your Team. It’s free to download (links below) and I hope you find it useful.
This guide shows you how to bring your team together to create a virtual workspace that supports remote collaboration. It covers:
- the essential nature of a workspace designed to support remote collaboration
- the set of universal, non-negotiable workspace requirements
- how to identify your team’s unique preferences and requirements for tools that support collaborative work
- how to create a plan that involves the whole team in deciding what’s most important
- how to select and introduce tools that stick
When you have worked through the guide, you will have a complete plan for action, including a design for a supportive virtual workspace that will facilitate remote collaboration and a list of steps for creating it with your team.
Who’s it for?
- Information professionals who have suddenly found themselves working remotely without a platform or structure in place to support them.
- Those of us who are suddenly working from home when we were used to working with our team in an office.
- Those who are taking up new types of remote work, because what we used to do isn’t possible at the moment.
- Anyone who is feeling that they’ve maybe got the hang of meeting remotely, but they’re still aware of a painful lack of collaboration and connection with their team.
- People who are joining a team for the first time and have to figure out how to onboard remotely.
- The teammates and managers of new hires, who want the new person to feel welcome and come up to speed quickly, but aren’t sure how to make that happen in the distributed environment they now find themselves inhabiting.
- Consultants who will now be providing their services remotely and who need to adopt collaborative tools to serve their clients.
It’s probably less useful for established remote teams in big organizations that already have virtual workspace tools in place, though those folks might pick up a tip or two as well.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1. The Workspace Your Team Deserves
• A Virtual Workspace is More than a Meeting Room
• Essential Collaboration Processes
• The Non-Negotiable Workspace Requirements
• A Phased Approach to Building Your Workspace
Chapter 2. Complete Your Team’s Profile (Phase 1)
• Configurations for Collaborative Work
• Which collaborative configurations does your team use?
• Pulling Your Team’s Profile Together
Chapter 3. Get Ready for Change (Phase 2)
• Your Plan, Your Vision, Your Strategy
• When—and How—to Change a Key Tool
• A Strategy for Dealing with Tool Change
Chapter 4. Design Your Ideal Blueprint (Phase 3)
• Mapping Your Team’s Unique Workspace
• Three Sample Blueprints
Chapter 5. Make Your Workspace Work for You (Phase 4)
• Adding a Tool to Your Workspace
• Creating a Team Knowledge Base
• Streamlining with Templates
• Staying Current with the Technology
• Onboarding Team Members
• Activity: Team Tools Scavenger Hunt
• Activity: Externalize Expertise
• What’s Next for the Virtual Workspace?
Download the Guide and Related Tools
No need to give me your email, no sign up form, no charge. Go forth and collaborate.
- The Virtual Workspace Architect's Guide (PDF, 38 pages) (619 downloads)
- Workspace Blueprint Template (PowerPoint) (356 downloads)
- Team Tools Scavenger Hunt Template (PowerPoint) (333 downloads)
Helpful Resources and Templates
This is by no means an exhaustive list — simply some helpful ones that I came across while working on the Guide.
- Collaboration tools list by Robin Good – a curated list of over 600 tools for collaboration, organized by type
- Miro template gallery
- Smartsheet template gallery
- Mural template gallery
- Design Sprint Roadmap (by Holger Nils Pohl) shown in the guide
- T5 by Robin Good – a curated list of free or nearly free tools for communication professionals (includes some collaborative tools)
I’d love to hear what you think! Drop me a note (rachel at digitalfacilitation dot net) to say what worked, what didn’t, and any suggestions you have for the next version. Thanks for taking a look.