Some of the best ideas happen when you collaborate in real-time. While this used to happen face-to-face, the rising popularity of remote work makes it a bit more complicated.
This work-from-home wave isn’t slowing down anytime soon. As of 2022, about a quarter of the U.S. workforce is remote, and another 16% of U.S. companies are fully remote.
Considering how the total number of U.S. businesses currently hovers around 30 million, that’s a lot of remote work. 😲
Interestingly enough, more than half of remote employees believe collaboration has improved since the recent pandemic. But still, some of the most popular real-time collaboration tools out there continue to miss the mark due to confusing dashboards, poor user experience, cluttered interfaces, and more.
So what’s a team to do?
Well, they return to their roots and merge traditional online collaboration techniques with the tried and true strategies of yesterday’s office space days. Here’s exactly how that’s done.
- What is Real-time Collaboration?
- What Are the Benefits of Real-time Collaboration?
- Why is Real-time Collaboration Important?
- The Challenges With Real-time Collaboration
- 5 Steps To Improve Real-Time Collaboration
- How To Collaborate in Real-Time Using ClickUp
- How ClickUp Whiteboards Unlock Real-Time Collaboration
What is Real-time Collaboration?
Real-time collaboration is the ability for teams to work together on a project in the present moment. This happens with or without the use of technology. Still, with the prevalence of remote work, secure collaboration tools are used to keep teammates connected and in sync across projects and general business.
You’re likely already working with at least one of the most popular online collaboration tools—Zoom, Slack, or Google Docs. So the question becomes: Can these tools be centralized so everything happens in one tidy place? 💻
What Are the Benefits of Real-time Collaboration?
There’s plenty of upside to figuring out the real-time collaboration puzzle, including:
- Increased productivity: When team members share ideas and work on projects together in real-time they produce more—and faster. This is because they get more done in a shorter amount of time and there is less need for coordination and communication outside of the tool they’re collaborating on.
- Better quality work: Working together in real-time allows for instant and more direct feedback. This helps members understand nuances that may otherwise be lost in translation through async communication.
- Stronger relationships: When team members collaborate in real-time, they build trust and understanding which leads to stronger working relationships and healthier team dynamics.
- Greater creativity: You can always expect better outcomes when you pool everyone’s expertise, views, and experiences together. You mold ideas and stand to solve problems quicker with a more creative approach.
Why is Real-time Collaboration Important?
Effective real-time collaboration is important because it allows team members to make the most of their resources—time, skills, emotional bandwidth, and ideas—by developing them together in the present moment for optimal outcomes.
Without real-time collaboration, you risk missing out on creative problem-solving and higher-quality output. 💡
The Challenges With Real-time Collaboration
Plenty of challenges come with real-time collaboration. Consider the following:
- Different time zones: This is one of the biggest challenges of remote work as it makes it significantly more difficult to schedule virtual meetings and work on projects at the same time. While there are some temporary ways to work around it, many teams see themselves at a loss for convenient and long-term solutions to this pain point.
- Team members can easily be disengaged: Since team members are not in the same room, it’s easy for them to become disengaged, uninterested, or left behind. While disengagement in the workplace is often a result of a bigger issue, it severely affects any efforts to collaborate in real-time.
- Clunky tools slow down work: Many real-time collaboration tools take care of the basics, but not all of them are created equal. Some tools are clunky and difficult to use, which slows down collaborative project management, hinders team progress, and doesn’t translate to ROI.
- Different collaboration preferences: Some team members may prefer to collaborate asynchronously while others may prefer more real-time meetings. Unsurprisingly, personal preferences make it difficult to find online collaboration tools everyone is happy with.
5 Steps To Improve Real-Time Collaboration
Improving real-time collaboration within your workplace starts by being proactive. Here are five ways to solve some of the most commonly faced real-time collaboration challenges across your team:
1. Vet and choose the right real-time collaboration tool
The first step is to choose a real-time collaboration tool that’s right for your team. There are tons of options available which requires taking the time to find the tool that integrates well with your team and your processes.
2. Set clear teamwork expectations
This includes general guidelines, SOPs, team etiquette, or even a code of conduct to set the expectation of how members are to show up in meetings and projects
Pro tip: Guided training and webinars are great learning resources for teams who are new to real-time collaboration!
4. Encourage engagement
Engagement happens more naturally when open communication plays a pivotal role in your team dynamics. It’s a way to promote transparency and improve alignment. The more team members feel enabled to talk, share, and ask questions, the less you’ll face disengagements or issues.
5. Publicly celebrate good work
You always want to recognize and reward good work (preferably in real-time too) so team members feel proud and motivated by the outcomes they helped produce.
Each of these steps can be implemented today! They ensure the entire team is on the same page and properly prepared to start working together in real time.
How To Collaborate in Real-Time Using ClickUp
Let’s talk tools. 🛠
If you’re looking for a real-time collaboration tool that’ll take your team’s efforts to the next level, then it’s time to check out ClickUp! It’s the only all-in-one productivity platform designed to provide wall-to-wall solutions for all of every team’s needs—no matter your industry or use case.
ClickUp is loaded with hundreds of flexible features and powerful enough to bring all of your work together across apps. With ClickUp, you can:
- Talk with your team in using its in-app instant messaging feature, Chat view
- Edit the same document without overlap and share via URL using the ClickUp Docs and ClickUp’s Collaboration Detection feature
- Easily structure and manage complex projects down to the last subtask with its flexible Hierarchy
- Create and visually convey task dependencies and relationships
- Customize and manage tasks to fit your team’s processes and projects
- Assign tasks to multiple team members to increase visibility and collaborate on content
- Receive customizable notifications when tasks are updated by the team in real-time
And so much more. 🔥
One of ClickUp’s most collaborative and versatile features for teams of any size is its highly-visual Whiteboards. If you already use and love ClickUp, then you already understand the major benefits ClickUp Whiteboards have to offer, but here are a few of our favorites. 🎨
How ClickUp Whiteboards Unlock Real-Time Collaboration
Your ClickUp Whiteboard is an infinite digital canvas where you and your team can work together to brainstorm ideas, plan projects, and collaborate in real-time. Plus, it’s inclusive to members who work in different ways—especially visual learners who present and understand ideas better by seeing them rather than reading them on paper.
There are tons of dynamic features to capture ideas the moment they happen and develop them into actionable tasks or entire workflows directly from your board. Drag your cursor across your canvas to draw a mockup, flesh out a flow chart, or create a Mind Map from scratch without ever having to hit the save button—so you can return to your work at any time without missing a beat.
Whiteboards are available on every ClickUp plan and even guests can access them! So you never have to worry about a client or stakeholder feeling locked out of your creative process when sharing resources outside of the organization.
Still not convinced? Here are even more ways ClickUp Whiteboards can boost your team’s creativity, productivity, and engagement with its real-time collaboration capabilities. ✅
Check out these stakeholder management tools!
It’s easy to learn and simple to use
Whiteboards are easy to use—even if it’s your first time.
This is a huge plus for busy teams that want tools that deliver with minimal hassle, and a breath of fresh air for members who’ve had to overcome steep learning curves in the past!
Whiteboards are as creative as they are collaborative
Whiteboards are simple and effective—packed with features that make collaboration easy.
Add comments, @mention team members, context, files, media, and so much more without ever running out of space for new ideas.
Avoid starting from scratch with pre-built templates
When it comes to ClickUp, you’re never alone. 💜
As exciting and creative as Whiteboards can be, the blank canvas can also feel intimidating to some. Instead of facing that writer’s block feeling head-on, turn to one of ClickUp’s pre-built templates for virtually any use case.
Whether you’re planning a remote brainstorming session, agile project planning, or putting together the team retrospective, ClickUp’s got you covered. Choose from the nine templates linked directly on the toolbar in your Workspace or from the thousands available for free using ClickUp’s Template Library.
Still not sure where to start? We suggest the Introduction to Whiteboards Template by ClickUp! 💯
Build your board ASAP using shortcuts and hotkeys
Hotkeys are available on Whiteboard! Use them with your Whiteboard to quickly add objects like sticky notes, images, and shapes—even navigate your entire Workspace!
To view your list of available hotkeys, simply press Shift + ? and customize as you please! With the Add button, you can include additional commands for images, videos, audio files, and more.
Download your Whiteboards to save and share
Did we mention that ClickUp Whiteboards can be downloaded as image files?!
This is handy for sharing and presenting ideas outside of ClickUp or if you feel the need to keep a backup. You can never be too thorough! Amirite? 🤓
Real-time Collaboration Doesn’t Have To Be a Failed Experiment
The quest for better collaboration can feel like an ongoing, uphill battle—but it doesn’t have to be.
The intention behind designated real-time collaboration tools has always been to get everyone working on the same page at the same time. But that’s often easier said than done.
Luckily, you’re not alone on this journey! Refer back to our five proven steps to improve team collaboration, and when you’re ready to take productivity to new heights—simply download ClickUp.
And since ClickUp is both cost-effective and powerful, there is a plan for every team. Access ClickUp Whiteboards, unlimited tasks, unlimited members, tons of project views, and over 1,000 integrations at absolutely no cost when you sign up for ClickUp’s Free Forever Plan. 💸
Get started for free with ClickUp and start taking real-time collaboration to new heights. 🏔