group workContributed by Info Guru Aurora LaJambre

Parameters for group work have expanded greatly over the last few decades, thanks to technology and human adaptability.

At work, in the classroom or any other environment where teams comes together to problem solve and create, there are countless ways to bring strong minds and good attitudes together.

These are the top ten ways to work in a group today.


10. Teleconferencing equipment

 Teleconferencing equipment

Whether you work remotely or are trying to launch a start-up with colleagues based across the country (or world), teleconferencing equipment is the ultimate bridge for group communications. Depending on the difference in time zones, some may have to wake up very early to attend scheduled call-ins, but it’s a small price to pay. The number of call attendees is unlimited and the reliability is essential for those who value their time.

9. Skype

Skype

Anyone who has the internet can open a Skype account and enter the world of video conferencing. This method works well for visually oriented projects and for people who prefer fact to face communications.

8. A good knot

A good knot

In high school many students go through what they call a Ropes course, designed to teach students to trust and work together. Companies often have employees do the course as a team building exercise. In addition to facing fears walking a tight rope, groups are often literally tied together in a giant human knot and told to figure their way out. Nothing promotes team work like growling stomachs and achy limbs.

7. Sharing a physical space

Sharing a physical space

A number of companies are resisting the telecommunicating trend. For some, there is no substitute for the energy that forms when people work in the same physical space. In fact, many offices are ditching closed off cubicles in favor of open spaces with communal tables and comfortable office furniture so “creative collisions” are more likely to occur.

6. Wiki

Wiki

Start an online, private wiki for any project and everyone involved will be able to contribute and edit content. Most work projects have a hierarchy – a supervisor or higher-ups from different departments. Wikis flatten that structure so, for instance, the head of marketing can benefit from a product developer’s candid input.

5. Share files electronically

Share files electronically

Web services like Dropbox enable professionals to share media files with everyone involved. Physical expanding files, like signed contracts and archival images, can be scanned an uploaded in the same time it would take an in in-house team member to walk to the filing cabinet.

4. Divide and Conquer

Divide and Conquer

When you’re on a deadline, dividing and conquering is one of the best ways to work in a group. The project manager leverages each team member’s strength by putting them in charge of a task that’s up their alley. Stock up on office or school supplies in order to maximize productivity.

3. Organization

Organization

One of the biggest pitfalls of group work is either lack of leadership or too many cooks in the kitchen. Decide on who will lead the team because it helps to have someone making sure everyone else follows through in their roles.

2. Ice breakers

Ice breakers

Some ways to work in a group apply to online, teleconferencing and physical meetings alike. Ice breakers are often essential in order to get the most out of everyone’s time, knowledge and creative ideas. Otherwise people who don’t feel at ease won’t fully participate. Training games offer strategies to break barriers and get everyone involved.

1. Set goals

Set goals

Goals bring laser-like focus to a team. Set the big goal – the purpose of the project be it a class presentation or new client proposal – as well as smaller goals for everyone to hit along the way. This helps keep discussions from straying off point and energizes everyone with a sense of purpose.