The last two years accelerated our move to hybrid work, but that’s not when remote collaboration started. With a growing reliance on digital tools, we’ve been working together across vast distances for a number of years.
But some creatives still use collaboration methods best suited for in-person offices. That means that if you’ve been struggling to work together over the net, you might just need to upgrade your methods. These are the 6 steps for making sure your next collaboration works.
1. Restriction breeds creativity, so briefs are your best friend
Starting your project off right can be half the battle. Projects can turn unwieldy when even a handful of creatives are in a room together. We all know brainstorming is an important part of the process, but so is deciding on a direction for your project.
If you need to level up your briefing skills, you can learn 6 tips for writing creative briefs to give you a head start. With a great creative brief, everyone knows their roles and can row in the same direction. And know that time you spend now on the brief will save you time later.
2. Set up a kick-off call
Some people believe that if you spend enough time on the brief, there’s no need to hash it all out again. But a kick-off ensures that everyone is clear on the direction of the project and its objectives.
It’s also the best place to ask questions – after all, sometimes it takes an outsider’s eyes to see what we missed. So make sure to open the floor for a Q&A after you go over everything.
And of course, the most important part of a kick-off call is agreeing to a timeline. Flexibility is important, but so is finishing a project. Working out a timeline is also the moment to make sure everyone knows which parts of the projects they own and are ultimately responsible for.
Make sure to review the 3 things to do before your kick-off call for pro tips.
3. Go frictionless
Working remotely means that our feedback loses its tone and context. That holds true for external stakeholders who might not be used to giving constructive criticism to creatives. That’s why it’s essential to equip everyone with the ability to give clear feedback in an easy-to-use way (even if someone’s not tech savvy).
But frictionless workflow doesn’t end there – we’ve all been stuck in the feedback stage of a project with multiple stakeholders asking for opposite things. That’s why there’s an owner for each step. The buck stops with them, and they will need to give their ultimate approval.
4. Find the right tool
We’re almost a quarter of the way into the 21st century, it’s time that we all start using purpose made technology designed to support our work. That includes our creative endeavors.
Having a tool that seamlessly combines feedback, automates the approval process and gives ultimate version ownership to a project owner will make everything easier.
Purpose made tools will also help keep track of the work you do, the version you make and the time you spend on a project. If you don’t know already, knowing what you put into a project helps you know your worth (and helps you make sure you’re fairly compensated!).
5. Use integrations
When you’re looking for the right tool, make sure it takes advantage of integrations like plugins for outlook and adobe. With the right integrations, you can receive and review comments without ever having to leave your Photoshop project window.
And as we all know, not everything requires a meeting or needs an email. Sometimes you just need to ask someone a quick question, and using integrations ensures nothing gets lost in the shuffle.
The best integrations are so seamless, you’ll barely know they are there. That’s especially great for creatives, because distractions can keep us from getting into the zone.
6. Have fun and keep everyone engaged
Creatives can sometimes have a reputation as luddites – and let’s admit it, some of us would rather be working with 200-year-old printing press than a 2-year-old laptop.
But just because we can’t get our hands dirty doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy our work. Our technology is exciting, and we should make sure to take advantage of it.
Whether you’re sharing the freshest memes, responding with emojis or making your coworker into a gif, having fun along the way makes the work easier.
Go forth and create. With these 6-steps, you have a blueprint for ensuring you can creatively collaborate across the web.