Even during in-person meetings, it can be challenging to get input from all involved. People have different strengths and styles, which becomes apparent when they are tasked with some sort of collaboration. It’s easy for some team members to overshadow others. But that doesn’t mean quiet employees don’t have powerful ideas.
Most managers see the value of diverse thinkers and personalities because they make a team stronger. It still might be surprising to hear that in this day of hybrid work schedules, applying the right tools and process can actually improve teamwork and contribution—perhaps beyond what is possible in person. Asynchronous work may be the best thing to happen to business operations.
Personalities and Meeting Challenges
Sit in on almost any meeting and you can spot the extroverts, those who feel comfortable sharing opinions, the natural leaders, the speakers, drivers and strong personalities. It’s like the Myers-Briggs, DISC, CliftonStrengths and other workplace personality tests have come to life. These are the active participants who are easy to engage. It’s in their nature.
But managers may not know how to draw out the introverts, quiet types, deep thinkers or social team members who tend to clam up when the brainstorming starts. This could happen for a number of reasons, including:
- Lack of confidence.
- Self-consciousness about knowledge or experience.
- Creative, but non-linear, thinking that might not be easy to follow.
- Non-native language speakers.
- The need to think, process and then present ideas.
- Natural tendency to first observe, gather information and absorb what is being said.
Spontaneous brainstorming is often necessary and convenient, but it may not be the best way to get input from everyone. Interestingly the concept of asynchronous work, introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic, offers an attractive way to secure input and collaborate.
What is Asynchronous Work and How is it Executed?
Asynchronous work takes the real-time component out of collaboration. Employees are free to work a schedule they prefer. They can contribute feedback and ideas at their pace, independent of scheduled meetings. In many ways, this takes stress and disruption out of the day and allows for better focus. But it can also lead to being or feeling disconnected from the immediate team or organization at large.
A few things alleviate this and make asynchronous work…work:
- Fewer but specific meetings.
- Specific tasks and instruction from managers.
- A communications tool, plan for how to interact with the team and ability to share documents. Cloud-based platforms with centralized file storage and real-time documents are ideal.
- Meticulous project management process and an effective project management tool.
The meetings you do hold will be more productive and inclusive when expectations are clear and time is allotted for securing ideas and input. Asynchronous work does require strong leadership, and while it is revered for its employee-friendly schedule, it’s also a great opportunity for managers to grow and develop.
Microsoft Teams Gives You the Best Bang for Your Buck
Microsoft leaders have long acknowledged asynchronous collaboration as a foundational aspect of Microsoft Teams, and it’s evident in ongoing feature development. With a hybrid workforce and custom schedules, there needs to be a virtual meeting place. And Microsoft Teams offers much more than that. It supports:
- Communications channels and the ability to maintain individual, group and meeting conversations.
- Video conferencing via scheduled meetings via Outlook and spontaneous calls.
- Visual collaboration using white boards and other tools.
- File storage (and knowledge management) for all documents in SharePoint, and they are real-time versions.
- Task management using Task by Planner.
- Flexible use in desktop app, web UI and mobile app versions, so work can be conducted and furthered in any view and version.
These are just basic features. Microsoft Teams is heavily invested in improving the hybrid work and meeting experience and supporting IT admins as they navigate using Teams as a major organizational focal point.
Capitalize on Teams Service Desk for Better Employee Support
Microsoft Teams integrates with a number of applications, which extend its functionality. Only one service desk application provides a native Teams experience: Tikit. It feels like the service desk experience is occurring in Teams, because it is!
Tikit uses an artificial intelligence (AI) virtual agent to engage with end users in line with Teams’ conversational nature. Behind the scenes, it also uses AI to streamline service desk operations, improving the analyst experience as well.