How to make working digitally a success

The Corona crisis is turning the labour world upside down. Virtually overnight, processes have become digital and entire workforces are keeping their companies afloat as they work from home. Digital tools support the exchange and networking of teams and are also used for conferences, workshops and lectures. But which tools are used for what? The Alumniportal Deutschland provides an overview.

Conferences and meetings

During social distancing, virtual meetings are replacing traditional meetings in the conference room. A wide range of possibilities exists, from video chats with colleagues to conferences with over 200 participants. Depending on the requirements, users should therefore pay attention to the various capacities. By comparison: while Skype offers video conferences for a maximum of 50 people, larger meetings can also be organised via Webex or Google Hangouts, for example.

A survey of the German higher education community (German only) showed that the overwhelming majority uses Adobe Connect. This web conferencing tool is suitable for reviews as well as trainings. Users can upload their own files and present them to participants via their own desktops. GoToMeeting and Microsoft Teams are also popular, as is Zoom, the shooting star of the Corona crisis. The cloud-based video conferencing system is easy to use and connects up to 1,000 participants, depending on the tariff, but it has been criticised due to security and data protection concerns.

For those who prefer open source solutions, BigBlueButton is a web conferencing system that supports the collaborative use of several audio and video formats and presentations with advanced whiteboard features. However, the installation and initial set-up process on internal servers is considered demanding. The open source software Jitsi Meet, which is also freely available, is easy to use. Video chats and conferences can be conducted directly via the browser, without the need to create an account or install it onto the user’s desktop. There is also an app for iOS and Android. However, end-to-end encryption is not guaranteed, so users with high security needs should host Jitsi as a separate instance.

Project management

Brainstorm, make plans, monitor progress: where several tasks and processes need to be defined and communicated, project management tools, both digital and analogue, provide key support. Systems like Microsoft Teams, Slack, Asana and Trello are based on the Kanban principle. This Japanese method visualises organisational processes with the help of lists and cards. So-called Kanban boards provide an overview of the virtual collaboration and support remote teams in keeping processes under control. Some of the tools can also be combined. Trello offers numerous integration possibilities with Slack and other services, for instance.

Networking

Almost everyone feels the need for exchange during social distancing. And, in theory, we finally have the time to establish new contacts and maintain existing connections. This is reflected in the fact that activity in business-focussed social networks such as LinkedIn is increasing noticeably. Seeing acquaintances again, getting to know new people from one’s own field of expertise, discussing and sharing knowledge – Alumniportal Deutschland offers all these opportunities. In this context, various alumni networks – some with a subject-specific focus, some regional – promote exchange and bring people together. Not all are freely accessible. However, questions, new members and collaborations are always welcome.

Event planning

At the moment, conferences, meetings and trade fairs are being moved online day by day. The Alumniportal Deutschland is also rescheduling, with an alumni meeting earmarked for 19 May 2020 now being held virtually in the wake of the Corona crisis. The technical requirements are fulfilled by the tool meetyoo, a digital events and virtual conferences provider in Europe. While conference software solutions (see above) are sufficient for smaller events or for association work, specialist providers take over the complete handling of large-scale, complex events. Virtual trade fairs can be planned on platforms like expo-IP (German only). Exhibitors design their virtual stands independently and connect with visitors via digital channels.

Author: Gunda Achterhold

 

Comment on the topic of digital work:

How has the Corona crisis changed your daily work routine and which digital tools do you use most frequently? Lat us know in the comments!

May 2020

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