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June 26, 2012
3 Tools for Productive Teamwork
When your employees work in a team, they produce better work, brainstorm creative ideas, and have higher job satisfaction. The ever-popular acronym for TEAM, Together We Achieve More, says it all.  Unfortunately, a team cannot be productive without the right tools. To be sure your employees are making the most of team projects, check that you are utilizing the following.

The Right Technology
While there is a variety of technology available to businesses nowadays, it’s a simple item that is the most important in group projects: a projector. To have productive collaboration, the whole team needs to be able to come together as one in an efficient manner.

An E-How.com expert explains, “When the entire group sees the same information in action on a projected screen, discussions and questions get prompted. Talking about the material as a group enhances the learning experience.” In this case, a projector is your best tool. Some benefits include:
  • Creativity: Working together ignites new ideas.
  • Cost effective: Projecting a PowerPoint or presentation onto the wall eliminates the costly process of making copies for the whole group.
  • Productive meetings: If someone forgets their paperwork, they can simply look on with the projector.
Collaborative Software
When working together, it’s critical that the team is able to collaborate on a continual basis. Because the groups may not always be able to sit together to discuss changes, new ideas, or document edits, it’s imperative that they can still take advantage of the group mentality. To do this, your employees should have access to document sharing software.

Don’t worry about tapping into the budget, however, because there are free options available to you that will be beneficial for not just the team, but the office as a whole.
  • Google Docs: Google Docs is hands-down the best document-sharing platform available, and it’s free. Everyone who is sharing the document can read and edit in real time, and multiple people can be editing together from different computers. It’s the ultimate tool for being productive in a group.
  • Dropbox: Another free option, though not quite as handy, is Dropbox. Once downloaded on the various computers, employees can drop in documents, allowing their group members to have quick and easy access.
Proper Office Design
Finally, to have productive groups within the office, you want to have the right space available to them. Providing dedicated space for team projects will be beneficial to the group and project as a whole.

According to HBR.org, “Returning to the same workspace each day, keeping meeting notes on the board, and leaving work samples and half-finished prototypes on tables between meetings can help teammates maintain a shared project mindset...” If you’re past the point of redesigning an entire office space, consider trying these substitutions.
  • Portable partitions: These can be moved around the office, used and put away as needed. This allows employees to temporarily block off a part of the office for group work.
  • Conference room scheduling: If you are working with one conference room, put a scheduling process in place. If you want to use the conference room, you have to schedule it in. This gives groups a chance to get the room when needed.
Working in groups allows for collaborating that is beneficial to the office, the employees, and the final project. Unfortunately, without the right tools, a team project can turn into a time-wasting process. Consider these tools and assess the needs of your team before deciding which tools you need and cataloguing the ones you may already have.

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Jessica Sanders is an avid small business writer touching on topics from social media to merchant services. She writes for an online resource that gives advice on topics including background checks for lead generation resource Resource Nation.
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