On a couple of projects I’m working on, I’ve proposed having two different types of meetings – the usual type and the co-working session.
With the co-working meeting, all people in the project agree to be available at the same time, for say 2 hours, to dedicate to the project. This can be working on the same task together such as a writing a document, or working on respective tasks. Either way, everyone has made a commitment to spend ‘X’ amount of time to GET THINGS DONE.
When I’ve proposed this idea, my colleagues have loved it, not only because it’s an efficient and productive way of working, but it allows them to block off time in their schedule. Knowing that other people are there to do the same thing creates a sense of momentum and responsibility and as a result it’s difficult to let things slip. There’s a sense of achievement by the end of the session – a specific task has been completed and something crossed off the to-do list, rather than added.
The co-working meeting can be face-to-face or virtual. Either way, here are some tips that I’ve found to work:
- Use online tools that have real-time editing (such as Google Docs) so that you can all get stuck in.
- If you’re working virtually, ensure everyone makes a commitment not to multi-task or get distracted by their other work. A conversation tool, whether that’s skype or IM is essential to keep checking that everyone’s on track.
- Be clear about what you’re all there to do. Re-state this at the start of the session and then review again at the end.
- Don’t mix up the usual type of meeting and the co-working session. Create separate lists for what needs to be ‘discussed’ and what needs to be ‘done’. If necessary cover the former at the beginning of the session, but have a cut-off point for this.
If you have various projects you’re working on with others, you might find the co-working meeting a refreshing addition to your collaboration methods. Give it a go and see how you get on.
Image by db photographs on Flickr