Skip to main content

Des'ree Isibor

SFU Student Undergraduate
Beedie School of Business › Marketing
Work-Study

empty
person working on her laptop, sitting on the ground
Credit
unsplash.com
Working in teams remotely requires an extra amount of dedication and enthusiasm to produce excellent results. Remain open-minded and encourage others to be actively involved in any way you can

Have you been enjoying teamwork in the pandemic? Do you prefer working with others remotely or in-person? These are some questions that have put me in a reality check and on a quest to make teamwork very engaging remotely. About three weeks ago, I had an experience with my assigned team for a group presentation. Our task was to give a five-minute presentation on business communication in an international country.

During the entire period that we researched and held Zoom meetings... I never saw anyone’s face!

I had to create a face to match the voice of each team member. On the day of our presentation, I could match their voices to their faces eventually. Their faces certainly did not align with what I had imagined.

You may have had similar experiences or even more interesting stories on how you worked on a team project. Nevertheless, we all have the responsibility to bring enthusiasm and active participation in teamwork. This is not limited to just teamwork in classes. Active participation brings value to teamwork in volunteer opportunities, professional settings, student clubs and organization initiatives.

I've been thinking a lot about how we can make it easier to actively participate remotely. Here are five helpful tips that can significantly improve the quality of your teamwork experience in our current circumstances.

1. Turn on Your Webcam During Meetings

This goes a long way in creating an atmosphere of in-person interactions. You can do more than just hear each other’s voices or collaborate through Google Docs and other text-based collaborative documents. It will give room for building emotional connections and active involvement in the task or project given. If a group member cannot turn on their video, you can politely ask him/her to put up a picture showing their face as a display picture during the meetings. Try out different cool backgrounds on Zoom too!

2. Introduce Yourselves With an Icebreaker

This point makes me reminisce about the first tutorials of each class where the Teaching Assistant (TA) tfacilitates an icebreaker activity. At first, it may seem weird and awkward, but you could meet potential group mates and study buddies, right? This also applies to our remote interactions. I advise that you introduce an icebreaker question or activity to ease the tension or awkwardness and get to know one another. Let the topic be outside of academics and peek into each member’s personal life.

3. Bring Enthusiasm and a Positive Spirit to Each Meeting

I understand that we are living in very uncertain times and enthusiasm is not always easy to project. However, enthusiasm still creates an atmosphere that is welcoming and easy to collaborate. Be the sunshine in your team and encourage other team members to be positive. This is also why you need to find common ground among team members because knowing one another makes enthusiasm contagious! Start conversations and state ideas that can spur your teammates to action and get them more interested in the collaborative process. Learn more about different brainstorming prompts and questions here.

Here's some examples of brainstorming questions from Miro.com: 

  • What about this project excites you (or not)?
  • Which of these action items should we tackle first?

4. Communicate Openly and Encourage Input From Everyone

This is much easier said than done. There are truly people who will be more outspoken in presenting ideas or offering critique. But you should remember to seek the opinions of others and welcome their contrary perspectives as well. In communicating clearly, set clear expectations for each person’s roles. With our present circumstances, it is easy to be unaware of important dates or deadlines. For example, your team can create a document stating clearly what each member’s role or responsibility is, the deadlines and some agreed-upon rules for your collaboration. Simply put, a group contract. Format it in the best way your group members can easily use and refer to it.

5. Be Understanding and Tolerant

Teamwork may not always yield the results we want, and our team members may not exactly bring their 100% to every meeting or task. Regardless of this, remember to always be sensitive and understanding of the needs of others. The pandemic has changed and upset order and stability as we know it. Thus, it is important to also be flexible and not overly demanding. For example, the rose-thorn-bud technique is a creative and effective way for team members to share any concerns or highlights with the team.

  • Rose: "What has been a highlight of your day?"
  • Thorn: "What has been bothering you lately?"
  • Bud: "What are you looking forward to today?"

Overall, working in teams remotely requires an extra amount of dedication and enthusiasm to produce excellent results. Remain open-minded and encourage others to be actively involved in any way you can. Working remotely also has its perks, be glad about that and work to improve its inadequacies. Our physical distancing does not stop us from building social connections!

  • Des'ree Isibor Nov 16, 2020
    Like to recommend this item
    visibility  15

Author

Des'ree Isibor

SFU Student Undergraduate
Beedie School of Business › Marketing
Work-Study

Posts by Author

Researcher looking into a microscope
Blog
How to Get the Research Experience You Need to Kickstart Your Career

Gaining research experience, for many, is the first step to forging a rewarding career path in many fields across SFU. But are you confused about how to get the research experience you need? In this blog, Des’ree shares some helpful tips that help you find great research opportunities.

Image of the interviewee, Nhi smiling and looking at the camera
Blog
An Interview with the Project Lead of TEDxSFU: Nhi Nguyen

Wondering what it is like to work to work for TEDxSFU? Curious why you should seek leadership roles in student clubs? Des'ree interviews Nhi Nguyen, the former Project Lead of TEDxSFU and asks about her experience, lessons learnt and the challenges she faced in this position.

Six different hands stacked on top of each other, indicating teamwork
Blog
The Power of an Introvert as a Leader

Can introverts be outstanding leaders? Check out this article from Des'ree in which she talks about what kind of traits introverts have that can be harnessed for leadership roles.

You Might Like These... During the Work Term, Professional Development, Workplace Success, Workplace Transition, Communication

Co-op coordinator wth student during site visit
Make the Most of Your Co-op Site Visits

Your Co-op Coordinator, supervisor, and you in the same room -- time for a site visit! Co-op site visits are a time for reflection on your work term including what could be improved and what has been great so far.

person with their head in a book
Responsibility and Success

One of the most memorable parts of my time in co-op was the collection of accidents, errors, mistakes, and mix-ups that happened in the course of working in the laboratory.

 

Picture of Katelyn smiling
SFU Home to Canada’s Top Co-op Student

SFU Biology and Biochemistry Co-op student Katelyn Mueller was awarded the 2008 National Co-op Student of the Year award from the Canadian Association for Co-operative Education during National Co-op Week, March 23rd - 27th, 2009.

person working on her laptop, sitting on the ground
library_books
Blog
How to Boost Your Remote Teamwork Experience During the Pandemic
During the Work Term, Workplace Success, Professional Development, Working Remotely, Communication

As a university student, have you been having some trouble making remote teamwork fun and engaging? Des'ree shares what she's learned from her remote semester experience and provides some tips on how to improve the quality of your teamwork experience.

You Might Like These... Co-op Reflections

Fahad Faruque at PepsiCo
Small Fish in Big Pond: Working for PepsiCo

Fahad Faruque discusses highlights from his co-op semester in quality assurance at PepsiCo. 

girl smiling at Elim Village sign of two seniors
When Once Wasn’t Enough

If you are about to start applying for co-ops or trying to decide if another co-op term at the same organization is right for you, read about my experience of how a surprising situation can lead to a positive experience.

Vanessa at work in a booth
How I Survived in the World of IT: 3 Quick Tips for a Successful Work Experience

Working at an IT company was a refreshing experience for someone like Vanessa, who has never been exposed to this industry before. Here she shares a few tips on how she made it through and got the most out of her 12 months at BCNET.