This is a guest post by CloudApp, an enterprise-level app for screen recordings, screenshots and GIF creation.

The modern workplace is rapidly changing, and we’re moving further and further away from the primary office, creating fewer opportunities for teams to collaborate and enjoy each other’s company. Cloud technologies, flexible work benefits, and ongoing health concerns mean every industry is facing significant potential disruption. Keeping your team on the same page and working together is going to be a challenge for many managers. Thankfully, there’s one unifying tool that’s already proven to help get people focused and communicative: video collaboration.

To maximize the potential of video collaboration to keep projects on-time, teams collaborating, and people happy, you’ll need to think of it beyond 90-minute webinars with only one speaker. So, we’ve put together this primer videos’ role, how it’ll help, and where to start.

Clarify Collaboration

Bad meetings are the worst, and they can ruin teamwork. Not only can people become bored and disinterested, but a poorly run meeting can also create hostility when focused on blame instead of problem-solving.

We see video as an effective way to counter this concern.

More than half of today’s U.S. workforce says it would collaborate more and be more productive as a team if they had visual tools. So, video makes people more open to working together. It also serves as a way to make it clear how teams can collaborate and communicate. Not only does a video meeting or session make it clear who is speaking, but it allows your team to share documents and use other information without disruption.

This makes it incredibly easy to share an agenda and task/goal list and get people talking about and sharing the resources around these items. Hive Notes is a great option for this as well — you can assign action items and next steps from a note in Hive.

Video encourages us to pay attention and work together, and it is more than just accountability.

Encourage Everyone to Participate in Video Collaboration

A fantastic thing about replacing phone-based meetings with video calls is that you can see who is in the meeting, instead of trying to remember who was able to dial-in and who couldn’t. That may make video feel like an accountability tool, but it’s actually a smarter participation tool.

You can make a note of who has spoken about an issue, identify teams, and create opportunities for robust discussion. If you have team members who are more hesitant to speak up, video helps remind leaders to make specific time for them.

Or, you might notice an expression that signifies, “I have an idea… Maybe this will work better… Can I ask a question?” 

At least 70% of how we communicate is non-verbal. That means you’ll miss a lot on a call if the video isn’t there. Give leadership the right tools they need to build a more collaborative environment and engage those who are shy, reluctant, or aren’t participating.

Teach Collaboration Opportunities Over Video Chat

Every leader knows that goals are accomplished through teamwork. We can tell our staff that, too, but the difference comes when we teach people how to work together. Collaboration needs a guiding force, and that’s more important now as many businesses to remote teams and workers for the first time.

So, what you’ll need to do is demonstrate precisely how you want your team to collaborate. Not only should you walk them through the mechanics of it (i.e., here’s how to open Zoom, direct message people through Slack, or use comments in Hive), but telling them why it is crucial.

Teamwork and collaboration must be part of your company culture — if not already, that starts today. Discuss your company goals and ideologies and why they require teamwork. Not only does collaboration improve your ability to get work done, but it also shares the load and can ensure that someone else is ready to help you when you need it.

The role of video collaboration in all of this is to keep communication and teamwork personal. Seeing each other as we ask for help makes teams more empathetic and likely to assist. Video, GIFs, and other visuals can also make it easier to understand what’s needed. 

Think of IT. An email describing an issue that also includes a screen recording of what is happening can immediately bust through language barriers, where IT professionals and people in other departments may use different terms when discussing tasks or technologies. When we have a shared technology or need, video can be a universal language. The teaching moment is showing your team how to use video to do the screen grab or make a GIF or simply share their screen in a meeting to clarify.

Look through your workflows to find other opportunities, some of which can be aided by video:

  • When creating a blog or marketing material, designers and writers can collaborate early to speed up content creation. Looping in sales via a video call when things are ready for production can show the asset being made and identify ways to use it or related assets to boost campaigns.
  • Meetings with video can help people stay engaged and ensure people pay attention. It’s also an effective way to reinforce what’s important — if everyone looks bored or wants to turn off their cameras, perhaps that could have been an email.
  • Group training with screen sharing can clarify issues and allow everyone to ask questions about a process. People also have a chance to share tips and tricks, improving how everyone uses your tech.
  • Improve collaboration and work by thanking your team. Want to make it special? Take time to record the message and share it on Hive channel. It’s a public thanks, while also being personal and demonstrates that you took time to create it just for them.

Collaboration = Fun 

Now, for the good stuff. Video is incredibly engaging and can be a whole lot of fun. This is true for live streams and recorded video, as well as related things like animated images and GIFs.

It can help your team play together and share. Having fun together improves collaboration, makes teams more creative, promotes positive interactions, and makes your entire staff more productive.

So, what can you do with video? Thankfully, there’s a lot of engaging options:

  • Video calls and conferences where you perform games and team-building exercises. Be silly together, perform a visual scavenger hunt or “I Spy,” and much more.
  • Share (appropriate) YouTube videos you like on company Hive or Slack channels designed for non-work.
  • Create a video to explain your product, but brainstorm about how to include the things you enjoy. Here’s a fulfillment company using Game of Thrones to explain their service.
  • Make a silly GIF of how you do things differently when working from home, whether it’s making coffee or copies or having the cat stand-in to ask about your TPS reports.
  • Get everyone to send a picture of their workspace or view and create a moving collage.

Play at work. When you get everyone excited about their jobs and the things they’re working on, you tend to get better results and more items turned in on time. Plus, it encourages people to share and collaborate, because it’s easy to ensure everyone is included.

New Collaboration Is Addition

One thing to note about collaboration as the world considers more remote work is that it — especially if you mix in live video chat — is a new way to connect. Getting your team to use video to collaborate should be treated as something new and not a way to replace existing communications. This is especially true for meetings.

New collaboration is a layer you add on top of existing work. So, you can add a video element to your weekly standup meeting, to encourage participation and better show project statuses. However, you’ll still need to encourage people to work together, create video, share content, and interact more outside of these standard meetings.

The workforce is changing, and video is going to replace popping by someone’s desk in many cases. If that’s true for your business and team, encourage new activities that replace or replicate these interactions instead of trying to shoehorn them into existing meetings.

Give People the Right Tools

All of this depends on having the right video tools at your disposal. That means giving leaders and team members access to video conferencing accounts, whether you like Zoom, GoToMeeting, BlueJeans or something else. Then, ensure everyone has the ability to capture and record their screen. Most systems have native tools to accomplish this, such as QuickTime on Macs. 

Windows hides its tool a bit more, with a screen recorder lurking the Xbox Game Bar, but you can use the keyboard shortcut of Windows key + Alt + R to start a recording and a clickable pop-up will take you to the storage location when you finish.

There are also tools like CloudApp that give you and your entire team access to specific collaboration tools, GIF and video creators, and integrate with CRMs and other software so you can share among teams or with customers. Find a solution that makes it simple to capture, create, and share videos and images so that your team only needs to learn one new tool.

Video collaboration can be an amazing opportunity for your team to engage, have a little fun, and work together. Encouraging these interactions not only helps them perform but makes them more likely to enjoy working at your company, which is one thing that every good manager wants.