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Effective Meetings Start Here: Tackling Issues in Drafting a Meeting Agenda
Project Management 10 min read

Effective Meetings Start Here: Tackling Issues in Drafting a Meeting Agenda

Meetings have become an essential part of our work lives. Some meetings are highly productive, leading to valuable discussions and decisions, while others can feel like a waste of time, leaving participants frustrated and unmotivated. So, what sets these meetings apart? The answer lies in the planning stage, specifically in the drafting of a well-crafted meeting agenda. Understanding the Importance of a Well-Drafted Meeting Agenda At its core, a meeting agenda serves as a roadmap for a productive meeting. It outlines the topics to be discussed, the sequence in which they will be addressed, and the objectives to be achieved. Without a clear and comprehensive agenda, meetings can quickly devolve into aimless discussions, resulting in wasted time and energy. How a Poorly Drafted Agenda Can Derail a Meeting A poorly drafted or incomplete agenda can lead to confusion, inefficiency, and ultimately, an unproductive meeting. Without a clear agenda, participants may arrive unprepared or unsure of what is expected of them. They may struggle to grasp the main ideas, leading to disjointed discussions and a failure to achieve meaningful results. Additionally, inadequate time allocation for certain topics or omitting important issues can result in rushed discussions or vital matters being overlooked, hindering the meeting's effectiveness. Key Elements of a Successful Meeting Agenda Creating an effective meeting agenda requires careful consideration of key elements that contribute to a successful discussion and decision-making process. Setting Clear Objectives Every meeting should have a specific purpose or objective. Clearly defining what you want to achieve during the meeting helps guide the agenda's content so that participants understand the desired outcomes. Whether it's making a decision, gathering feedback, or brainstorming ideas, the objectives should be communicated clearly in the agenda. For example, if the objective of the meeting is to discuss the launch of a new product, the agenda should clearly state this and provide specific discussion points related to the product launch, such as marketing strategies, target audience, and timeline. Allocating Appropriate Time Slots Time management is crucial in maintaining a productive meeting. Allocating sufficient time to each agenda item allows for thorough discussion without rushing through important topics. Prioritize the most critical items to make sure they receive ample time and avoid overloading the agenda with too many items that cannot be adequately addressed. When allocating time slots, it is also important to consider the complexity of the topic and the number of participants involved. For instance, if you have a complex issue that requires input from multiple departments, it may be necessary to allocate more time for discussion and confirm that all relevant stakeholders are present. Prioritizing Topics for Discussion Not all agenda items are created equal in terms of importance and urgency. Prioritizing topics allows for a structured and logical flow of discussions. Start with critical items that require immediate attention, followed by less urgent matters. This helps keep participants engaged so that important decisions are made first. Additionally, prioritizing topics also helps in managing time effectively. For example, if you are discussing budget allocations for different projects, it would be wise to prioritize the projects that are nearing their deadlines or have the potential to impact the organization's overall performance. Common Challenges in Drafting a Meeting Agenda While drafting a meeting agenda may seem straightforward, it is not without its challenges. Here are some common obstacles that meeting organizers may face: Balancing Different Stakeholder Interests Meetings often involve participants from various departments or teams, each with their own priorities and agendas. Balancing these different interests can be challenging, as it requires careful consideration and negotiation to create an agenda that meets the needs of all stakeholders. For example, imagine a company-wide meeting where the marketing team wants to discuss upcoming campaigns, the sales team wants to focus on revenue projections, and the operations team wants to address supply chain issues. The meeting organizer must find a way to include all these topics in the agenda while ensuring that each team feels heard and valued. This balancing act requires effective communication and collaboration with stakeholders before the meeting. The organizer may need to hold pre-meetings or send out surveys to gather input and understand the priorities of different teams. By actively involving stakeholders in the agenda-creation process, the meeting organizer can increase engagement and create a more inclusive and productive meeting. Dealing with Time Constraints Meetings are bound by time constraints, and fitting all necessary discussions into a limited timeframe can be demanding. Meeting organizers must prioritize essential topics and find creative ways to manage time effectively, such as setting time limits for each item or utilizing technology to streamline discussions. One way to address time constraints is by implementing efficient meeting practices, such as starting and ending meetings on time, setting clear objectives for each agenda item, and assigning timekeepers to keep discussions on track. Additionally, the organizer can consider using technology tools like online collaboration platforms or video conferencing software to facilitate virtual meetings, allowing for more flexibility in scheduling and reducing time spent on logistics. Lastly, the meeting organizer can explore alternative meeting formats, such as shorter, more frequent meetings or utilizing asynchronous communication channels, to address time constraints while still ensuring effective communication and decision-making. Managing Complex Topics Some meetings deal with complex or sensitive topics that require in-depth analysis and comprehensive discussions. Organizing such discussions within the constraints of a single meeting can be challenging. Meeting organizers must strike a balance between providing enough time for thorough exploration and avoiding overwhelming participants with exhaustive discussions. One approach to managing complex topics is to break them down into smaller, more manageable subtopics. By dividing the discussion into focused segments, the meeting organizer can allocate specific time slots for each subtopic, ensuring that all aspects of the complex topic are covered without sacrificing the overall meeting agenda. Additionally, the organizer can consider providing pre-reading materials or resources to participants before the meeting. This allows attendees to familiarize themselves with the complex topic in advance, enabling more productive and informed discussions during the meeting itself. Furthermore, the meeting organizer can leverage facilitation techniques, such as brainstorming sessions, small group discussions, or expert presentations, to encourage active participation and collaboration among participants. These techniques can help break down complex topics into more digestible components and foster a deeper understanding among attendees. Practical Tips for Drafting an Effective Meeting Agenda To overcome these challenges and design an agenda that leads to productive meetings, consider implementing the following practical tips: Using a Standardized Agenda Template Creating a standardized meeting agenda template allows for consistency and clarity. This template should include sections for the meeting's objectives, topics for discussion, time allocation, and any pre-meeting materials required. By using a template, you can save time and ensure that all essential components are included. For example, the objectives section can outline the specific goals you want to achieve during the meeting. This helps set clear expectations for participants and keeps the discussion focused. The topics for discussion section can list the specific issues or questions that need to be addressed, so that no important points are overlooked. Time allocation allows you to allocate sufficient time for each agenda item, preventing the meeting from running over schedule. Lastly, including any pre-meeting materials required, such as reports or presentations, means that participants come prepared and are well-informed. Involving Participants in Agenda Setting Allowing participants to contribute to the meeting agenda enhances engagement and ownership. Prior to the meeting, solicit input from attendees by asking for their suggestions or topics they want to address. Incorporating their input not only improves the agenda's relevance but also creates a sense of inclusivity and shared responsibility for the meeting's outcome. Furthermore, involving participants in agenda setting can help identify any additional agenda items that may have been overlooked. By giving participants a voice in the agenda creation process, you increase their commitment and motivation to actively participate in the meeting. Reviewing and Revising the Agenda An agenda should not be set in stone. As the meeting date approaches, review the agenda for accuracy and relevance. Take into consideration any new developments or changes that could impact the meeting's objectives. Additionally, be open to revising the agenda during the meeting itself if unexpected issues or opportunities arise. Regularly reviewing and revising the agenda allows you to adapt to evolving circumstances and ensure that the meeting remains focused on its intended purpose. By being flexible and responsive, you can address emerging issues or seize unexpected opportunities that may arise during the meeting. Overall, a well-drafted meeting agenda plays a vital role in the success of any meeting. It provides structure, clarity, and direction, ensuring that discussions are focused, decisions are made, and desired outcomes are achieved. By understanding the importance of a well-crafted agenda, implementing key elements, and overcoming common challenges, you can lead effective meetings that maximize productivity and leave participants feeling satisfied and motivated. Draft effective meeting agendas and tackle common issues with Wrike's robust tools. Sign up for a free trial and make every meeting a productive one. Note: This article was created with the assistance of an AI engine. It has been reviewed and revised by our team of experts to ensure accuracy and quality.

The Ultimate Guide to Crafting a Sustainable Operations Strategy
Project Management 7 min read

The Ultimate Guide to Crafting a Sustainable Operations Strategy

The role of sustainability has evolved beyond being a mere buzzword. It has now become a strategic imperative for companies across industries looking to thrive in the long term. A sustainable operations strategy not only helps companies reduce their environmental impact but also drives efficiency, enhances social responsibility, and improves overall economic viability. This ultimate guide will take you through the key elements of crafting a sustainable operations strategy and provide you with practical steps to implement it in your organization. Understanding the Importance of a Sustainable Operations Strategy Sustainability goes hand in hand with corporate social responsibility (CSR), as businesses are being increasingly scrutinized for their environmental impact and social practices. Organizations that embrace sustainability enjoy a competitive advantage by meeting customer expectations, attracting top talent, and mitigating risks associated with climate change and resource scarcity. The Role of Sustainability in Today's Business Environment Sustainability is no longer solely about addressing external pressures, such as regulatory compliance and stakeholder demands. It has become an integral part of business strategy, enabling companies to create long-term value while minimizing negative impacts. By adopting sustainable practices, organizations can reduce waste, optimize resource utilization, and minimize their carbon footprint. This not only helps protect the environment but also reduces costs and enhances operational efficiency.  Benefits of a Sustainable Operations Strategy Implementing a sustainable operations strategy brings numerous benefits to organizations. Build a positive brand image, which attracts environmentally conscious consumers and strengthens customer loyalty. Consumers today are more likely to support companies that align with their values and demonstrate a commitment to sustainability. Drive innovation, by developing eco-friendly products, reducing packaging waste, and finding alternative energy sources. This not only benefits the environment but also opens new markets and creates business opportunities.  Improve cost efficiency by reducing energy consumption, optimizing transportation logistics, and minimizing waste generation.  Reduce fuel consumption and lower carbon emissions via recycling and waste reduction programs.  Key Elements of a Sustainable Operations Strategy A robust sustainable operations strategy starts with a comprehensive understanding of the environmental impact of your organization's activities.  Incorporating Environmental Considerations In addition to identifying environmental areas for improvement, organizations can also explore innovative ways to minimize their impact on the environment. For example, they can invest in green technologies that reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions. Also, businesses can collaborate with environmental organizations and experts to develop strategies for responsible waste management, water conservation, and biodiversity preservation.  Social Responsibility in Operations While environmental considerations are important, it is equally crucial for organizations to consider the social implications of their operations. This includes the well-being of employees, the impact on local communities, and the ethical treatment of supply chain partners. Companies can prioritize social responsibility by ensuring fair labor practices, providing safe working conditions, and offering opportunities for employee growth and development. They can also engage in community development projects, such as supporting education and healthcare initiatives. Moreover, organizations can establish strong partnerships with suppliers who adhere to ethical standards, ensuring that the entire supply chain operates in a socially responsible manner.  Economic Viability and Sustainability A sustainable operations strategy must strike a balance between environmental and social considerations and economic viability. While sustainability initiatives may incur initial costs, they can generate long-term financial benefits through increased operational efficiency, reduced expenses, and improved brand reputation. Companies can achieve economic viability by investing in energy-efficient technologies that lower utility expenses and implementing lean manufacturing practices that reduce waste and improve productivity. They can also leverage sustainable practices as a marketing tool, attracting environmentally conscious consumers and investors. Also, it is essential to consider the financial implications of sustainability initiatives and establish key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure their impact on the organization's bottom line.  Steps to Develop a Sustainable Operations Strategy Here are several steps to develop a sustainable operations strategy. Assessing Your Current Operations Conduct a thorough review of your operations, identifying strengths, weaknesses, and areas with the highest environmental or social impact. During the assessment process, gather data on key performance indicators (KPIs) related to sustainability. This data will provide a baseline for measuring progress and identifying areas for improvement. Additionally, consider carrying out a life cycle assessment (LCA) to evaluate the environmental impact of your products or services throughout their entire life cycle. Engage stakeholders, including employees, customers, and suppliers, to gather valuable insights and perspectives. This collaborative approach allows for a comprehensive understanding of your organization's sustainability challenges and opportunities. By involving stakeholders, you can also foster a sense of ownership and commitment to the sustainability initiatives. Setting Sustainability Goals Set clear and measurable sustainability goals that align with your organization's overall strategy. These goals should be ambitious yet attainable, enabling continuous improvement and progress towards long-term sustainability objectives. Consider using frameworks, such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to guide your goal-setting process. By aligning with globally recognized sustainability targets, you can contribute to broader societal and environmental objectives and support initiatives such as poverty eradication, climate action, responsible consumption and production. You may also want to consider industry-specific sustainability standards or certifications. These standards can provide guidance on best practices and help benchmark your organization's performance against peers in the industry. Creating an Action Plan Developing a strategic action plan is crucial for successfully implementing your sustainable operations strategy. Break down your sustainability goals into actionable steps, assign responsibilities, and create a timeline for implementation. Consider conducting a risk assessment to identify potential barriers or challenges that may arise during the implementation process. Establish regular checkpoints to monitor progress, make adjustments if needed, and celebrate accomplishments along the way. Encourage employees to share their ideas and suggestions for improving sustainability practices, fostering a culture of innovation and continuous improvement. Lastly, consider investing in employee training and development programs to enhance sustainability knowledge and skills. By equipping your workforce with the necessary tools and expertise, you can empower them to drive sustainable change within the organization. Implementing Your Sustainable Operations Strategy Here is how to implement your sustainable operations strategy. Integrating Sustainability into Daily Operations Integrate sustainability practices into daily operations by embedding sustainable practices into standard operating procedures, employee training programs, and key performance metrics. By making sustainability a part of your organizational culture, employees will be more likely to embrace these practices and drive continuous improvement. Regular monitoring and reporting of sustainability metrics will provide insights into progress and areas for further development. Training and Educating Employees Provide comprehensive training and education to ensure everyone understands the importance of sustainability and their specific roles in achieving the organization's goals. Consider developing internal sustainability champions who can drive initiatives, share best practices, and foster a culture of sustainability throughout the organization. Continuous learning opportunities keep employees engaged and motivated to contribute to the organization's sustainability journey. Monitoring and Adjusting Your Strategy Regularly monitor your sustainability performance and assess the impact of your initiatives. This will help identify areas where adjustments are needed and allow you to seize new opportunities. Engage with stakeholders and leverage their insights to gain different perspectives and identify potential areas for improvement. Continual evaluation and adjustment of your strategy will ensure your organization remains at the forefront of sustainability practices. Overall, crafting a sustainable operations strategy is essential for organizations looking to thrive in the long term. By understanding the importance of sustainability, embracing key elements such as environmental considerations, social responsibility, and economic viability, and following the steps to develop and implement a strategy, businesses can enhance their competitiveness, build a positive brand image, and contribute to a more sustainable future. Craft a sustainable operations strategy with Wrike's ultimate guide. Start your free trial today and pave the way for ongoing business success. Note: This article was created with the assistance of an AI engine. It has been reviewed and revised by our team of experts to ensure accuracy and quality.

4 Ways You Can Work Seamlessly Between Spreadsheets and Project Management Tools
Productivity 7 min read

4 Ways You Can Work Seamlessly Between Spreadsheets and Project Management Tools

Project management apps, customer relationship management platforms, dynamic databases … it seems like there’s no shortage of tools for every kind of task. And yet spreadsheets are still everywhere. Should you be trying to replace them at every turn? Or should you just learn to embrace them after all? Neither, really. Instead, you should be bringing spreadsheets and your other tools together. That way, you avoid endless copying and pasting of data and other manual work. Here are four ways you can consolidate your work and make the most out of using spreadsheets with your other tools. Try Wrike for free Recognize when they’re the best tool for the job Despite how truly massive the SaaS market has become in recent years, some still prefer spreadsheets for some jobs. Here are just a few examples of tasks where a spreadsheet is the favored option: Budgeting: Between its robust formulas and its databasing features, the spreadsheet is still a great way to track your budget for specific projects, teams, or even the whole business. Working with data from multiple sources: Because most of the tools you use can export data as a CSV file, spreadsheets are perfect for working with all this data without constantly paying for new software integrations. SEO management: Search engine optimization (SEO) tools are best-in-class when it comes to tracking how well your content is ranking in search results, but the data in these tools isn’t always very shareable. A spreadsheet is perfect for sharing that data — and analyzing it, too. These are just a few tasks that spreadsheets are useful for. But just because they’re useful doesn’t mean they have to replace any of your other tools. You can easily find ways to integrate spreadsheets into your workflow, even if the majority of your work happens in a project management tool like Wrike. Just make sure to plan where they’ll fit in your process, and take steps to make that inclusion as seamless as possible — whether that’s by outlining best practices in your workflow process or using an integration. Learn to rely on the spreadsheet experts Every team has that one spreadsheet master that can do just about anything with a few minutes, a couple of rows, and some data. Whether it’s building a detailed report, creating a dashboard, or finding ways to solve specific problems for your team — like taking attendance in big meetings — a spreadsheet expert can really make these tools sing. Even if you have the best-in-class tools for project management, scheduling, managing databases, or any other function, spreadsheets are still a great tool to have. Without acquiring any new software, you can get your local spreadsheet master to quickly spin up a solution for a particular use case and use that until you get the budget for whatever new platform you need. Spreadsheets can help patch the holes in an otherwise stellar tool stack. But just because your local spreadsheet expert can turn a spreadsheet into just about anything doesn’t mean they should. Project managers and team leads can set clear boundaries defining when certain tools should be used over others — and turn your spreadsheet experts loose when needed. Try Wrike for free Embrace the teams that love them For some teams, it really doesn’t matter what else is out there; spreadsheets are the way they’ve worked for years and nothing can come close. It might be because they’re some of the most accessible tools — every business with a Microsoft Office or Google Workspace plan has a spreadsheet tool — or just because they’re part of the training people get for specific roles. Think of accountants, data analysts, and human resources specialists. When you spend a lot of time in spreadsheets, it’s easy to see them as the solution for every problem. You could try convincing these teams to get their work out of their spreadsheets. But is that really the best use of anyone’s time? It might be best to just accept that some teams will use spreadsheets for everything. Because guess what? There’s a way you can work with them seamlessly, even if you use Wrike for the majority of your work. Pair their strengths with your favorite tools With the right platform, you don’t even have to worry about teams who work exclusively out of spreadsheets. You can collaborate with them seamlessly without ever leaving your tool of choice — or even noticing that they’re working out of a spreadsheet. How? With Wrike Sync by Unito. Work from Wrike all while benefiting from the spreadsheets other teams are building. Wrike Sync is a no-code integration add-on that pushes data from spreadsheets to Wrike — and back — all while keeping everything in sync in both tools. So what can you do with it? Pull data from a spreadsheet for your Wrike reports: Wrike has some powerful reporting features, but if you need to use data from other platforms, manually exporting everything can take a ton of time. With Wrike Sync, you can make sure all that data is in Wrike and automatically kept up to date. Get Wrike data into your databases: When a team is using a spreadsheet for an important database, you’re almost expected to make sure your data gets into their tool. With Wrike Sync, you can skip the manual work and make sure your data is where it needs to be. Connect Wrike with any tool your teams use: Wrike Sync isn’t just for spreadsheets. No matter which team you need to work with, you can connect Wrike with their tools and make sure everyone stays in the loop. Sync Wrike tasks with Zendesk tickets, HubSpot tasks, Jira issues, Miro cards, and a lot more. Spreadsheets don’t always have to be replaced. Whether you’re dealing with a team that won’t give them up or a task where they’re actually the best option, you can keep spreadsheets in your workflows. And as long as you’re using a platform like Wrike Sync, you can do all your work from your best-in-class project management app without having to plug the gaps between tools with hours of manual work.

Dark Matter of Work: The Cost of Work Complexities in Professional Services
Productivity 5 min read

Dark Matter of Work: The Cost of Work Complexities in Professional Services

Over the past few years, modern work complexities have been eating away at your bottom line through an invisible yet powerful presence in your organization — what we call the Dark Matter of Work. Just as CERN identified Dark Matter as the “invisible” content that makes up 95% of the mass of the universe, the Dark Matter of Work represents activity and details that we can’t immediately see but that have a significant influence on everything around them. From the tools we use to conduct our work to where and when we execute it, work complexities have truly exploded in recent years and will only become more complicated over time — making it increasingly difficult for employees and business leaders to get visibility and truly understand work in progress.  Wrike is focused on shining a light on the Dark Matter of Work. That’s why we recently commissioned research to investigate its impact on professional services leaders, employees, and organizations as a whole. We wanted to understand to what extent Dark Matter exists and discover the financial cost of Dark Matter affecting us all. The results are staggering and can point business leaders towards key ways they can increase efficiency to endure the unknown economic future. Let’s dive into what we found. Impact on professional services While we cannot “see” the Dark Matter of Work, we can identify where it exists. It lives in asynchronous applications and unstructured work, such as instant message threads and video calls, as well as the gaps between systems and applications that aren’t integrated. Without a single work platform that is powerful and versatile enough to track, manage, action, and align all work to goals across an organization, there exists a dangerously low level of visibility amongst knowledge workers and leaders. At present, most professional services leaders generally have little visibility into the work their teams are doing and can’t track the progress of much of that work in real time. And if we ask knowledge workers, they say employer visibility into their work is even lower — suggesting there may be more Dark Matter of Work than we think.  Wasted time Time wasted on activities such as repeating work that’s already been done, attending unproductive meetings, or following up on actions and statuses costs the average enterprise millions. The cost of the Dark Matter of Work The total cost of Dark Matter for professional services teams is quite substantial and will continue to increase exponentially unless addressed. Low visibility For business and professional services leaders, visibility into work has only increased slightly since 2020 — from 51% to 57%. And other professional services workers are struggling to view their assignments and expectations. More human costs Amid the Great Resignation, mass layoffs, and continuing remote work environment, professional services teams must work to address the human costs of the Dark Matter of Work, as well. Too many applications As hybrid work continues, professional services teams rely more and more on applications to connect them. But many of these tech tools don’t integrate with each other, decreasing visibility, increasing wasted time, and resulting in duplicative work. Plus, app integration is also moving at a slow pace from 2020 (46%) to now (53%). Illuminating the path ahead If left unchecked, Dark Matter will increase by 49% in the next five years. According to the survey, the projected cost of Dark Matter in 2027 looks to be: How can you minimize these costs? A single source of truth is essential. Professional services teams need an approach that is robust enough to manage and orchestrate complex workflows and simple enough for team members to use. The organization with full visibility into these workflows and applications and the data they create will be best equipped to overcome the impacts of the Dark Matter of Work and come out on top. For more on the Dark Matter of Work, its costs, and the solutions, check out the full report here — and usher in a new age of digital collaboration. Or start a free two-week trial of Wrike today to see how our work management solution can centralize work and increase efficiency for your professional services team!

How Enterprise Consulting Professionals Use Project Management Software To Succeed
Project Management 7 min read

How Enterprise Consulting Professionals Use Project Management Software To Succeed

As an enterprise consultant, your main goal is to help your clients increase efficiency, reduce costs, and improve their bottom line by delivering high-quality results. One of the most powerful tools at your disposal is project management software. In this article, we will explore how you can use project management software to succeed.   Try Wrike for free   Key Features of Project Management Software for Consultants There are a few key features of project management software to be aware of, like: Task management and assignment: Break down a project into smaller, manageable tasks and assign them to team members based on their skills and availability. Resource allocation and scheduling: Allocate resources such as personnel, equipment, and materials to each task in the project and create a schedule that takes into account the availability of resources and the deadlines for each task. Progress tracking and reporting: Monitor the progress of each task in real time, identify any issues that may arise, and generate reports that provide a detailed overview of the project's status, including its progress, budget, and timeline. Team communication and collaboration: Communicate with each other in real time, share files and information, and collaborate on tasks.  Document management and version control: Store and manage project-related documents, such as contracts, proposals, and reports, in a centralized location.  Benefits of Implementing Project Management Software By implementing project management software, enterprise consulting professionals can enjoy a range of benefits.  For example, it can help them increase efficiency and productivity by streamlining their workflows and automating repetitive tasks. It can also help them manage their time and resources more effectively, ensuring that projects are delivered on time and within budget. Improved communication and collaboration are also key benefits of project management software. By providing a centralized platform for team members to communicate and collaborate, teams can reduce misunderstandings and verify that everyone is working towards the same goals. It also promotes greater transparency and accountability, as team members can easily see what others are working on and how their contributions fit into the overall project. Project management software can also help enterprise consulting professionals deliver higher-quality results and increase client satisfaction. By providing a structured approach to project management, it ensures that projects are delivered to a high standard and that client expectations are met or exceeded. This can help to build long-term relationships with clients and establish a reputation for excellence in the industry. Selecting the Right Project Management Software for Your Consulting Business Choosing the right project management software for your consulting business can be a daunting task. However, by following these key steps, you can make an informed decision. Assessing Your Business Needs and Goals Assess your business needs and goals by identifying the key features and functionality that you need in a project management software solution. Consider the following questions:  What types of projects do we typically work on? What are our most common challenges and pain points? What specific features and functionality do we need? What is our budget, and what’s our timeline? Comparing Top Project Management Software Solutions Once you've identified your business needs and goals, it's time to compare top project management software solutions. Some of the most popular options include Wrike, Trello, Basecamp, Asana, and Monday.com. Each of these software solutions has its own strengths and weaknesses, so it's important to evaluate them based on your specific needs and goals. For example, Wrike is known for its power, versatility, and scalability, while Trello is popular for its visual boards and collaboration tools. Evaluating Pricing and Scalability Make sure to consider pricing and scalability. Some software can be free or low-cost, while others are much more expensive. Also, some software can be better suited for smaller teams, while others accommodate larger organizations. Choose a software solution that fits within your budget and can scale with your business as it grows. This will ensure that you get the most value out of your investment and can continue to use the software for years to come.   Try Wrike for free Best Practices for Implementing Project Management Software Once you've selected the right software for your needs, it's important to consider the following best practices for implementation: Establishing Clear Processes and Workflows Establish clear processes and workflows by defining how tasks will be assigned, how progress will be tracked, and how team members will communicate with one another and with clients. Doing so keeps everyone on the same page so that projects are completed efficiently and effectively. Also, it’s important to involve all relevant stakeholders in this process, including project managers, team members, and clients. This will help ensure that everyone's needs and expectations are taken into account and that the software is configured to meet the specific needs of your consulting business. Training and Onboarding Team Members Train and onboard all team members who will be using the software. This includes not only project managers but also employees who will be responsible for completing tasks and updating project status. Training should be comprehensive and cover all aspects of the software, including its features, functionality, and interface. Remember to provide ongoing support and resources to team members to ensure that they feel comfortable and confident using the software. Integrating with Existing Tools and Systems Project management software should integrate seamlessly with any existing tools and systems your consulting business uses. This can lead to greater efficiency and productivity, as well as reduced errors and duplication of effort. Before implementing project management software, it's important to evaluate your existing tools and systems to identify any potential integration issues. The goal is to have the software configured correctly so that all data is transferred accurately between systems. Measuring the Success of Project Management Software Implementation Simply implementing project management software is not enough. It's important to measure the success of the implementation process and continuously improve your processes in order to maximize the benefits of the software. Identifying Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) Key performance indicators (KPIs) are measurable metrics that help you track progress and assess success. Some examples of KPIs for project management software include on-time project completion, client satisfaction, and team productivity. By identifying these KPIs, you can set specific goals and track your progress toward achieving them. If your goal is to improve on-time project completion, track the percentage of projects that are completed on or before their deadline. If your goal is to improve client satisfaction, survey clients after each project and track their responses over time. Monitoring and Analyzing Data Remember to monitor and analyze your data regularly in order to identify trends and patterns, as well as areas for improvement. By tracking your KPIs over time, you can see whether your efforts to improve are having an impact. If you notice that your on-time project completion rate has improved since implementing project management software, analyze the data to determine what specific changes led to this improvement. Did you assign tasks more effectively? Did team members communicate more frequently? By understanding what is driving success, you can replicate these processes in the future. Continuously Improving Processes and Utilization Finally, continuously improving your processes and utilization of project management software is critical to long-term success. This involves regularly reviewing and optimizing your workflows and implementing new features and functionality as needed. If you notice that team members are struggling to use a particular feature of the software, provide additional training or make adjustments to the feature to improve usability. You can also regularly review your workflows to identify areas where you can streamline processes and eliminate inefficiencies. Conclusion As an enterprise consulting professional, project management software is a powerful tool that can help you succeed and take things to the next level. By selecting the right software, following best practices for implementation, and continuously measuring and improving your processes, you can deliver exceptional results for your clients and help your consulting business thrive. Boost your consulting success by leveraging Wrike's expertly crafted project management software for enterprise professionals. Begin your free trial now to improve client engagement, collaboration, and project delivery. Note: This article was created with the assistance of an AI engine. It has been reviewed and revised by our team of experts to ensure accuracy and quality.

How to Create an Efficient Workload Management Process
Project Management 10 min read

How to Create an Efficient Workload Management Process

Efficient workload management helps maximize team productivity and reduce the risk of overwork or burnout. Learn more about workload management tools with Wrike.

How to Take Better Meeting Notes
Productivity 10 min read

How to Take Better Meeting Notes

Knowing how to take better meeting notes will help make the most of your meetings. This guide shares the best way to take notes in meetings — and why it matters.

How to Create Your Team Charter (and Why You Should)
Leadership 10 min read

How to Create Your Team Charter (and Why You Should)

Have you ever experienced conflict on a team? Friction and disagreements happen pretty frequently and, in most cases, they all tie back to the same thing: misunderstandings and miscommunications. Somebody didn't realize something was their responsibility. Somebody didn't understand the norms of the group. Somebody did something out of turn and messed up the workflow. Wouldn't it be nice if you and your team had one single source of truth you could use to align your expectations? That's exactly what a team charter is. A team charter is a document that spells out the nuts and bolts of your team — whether it's a formal department or a team that was assembled for a specific project.  Some project charters are short and simple, acting almost as a straightforward directory of the team members. Others are more complex and dig deep into the team's core values, norms, processes, and other elements that help the team work together effectively.  Regardless of whether it's one page or 10 pages, a team charter serves the same purpose: It's essentially the roadmap for a team, bringing them back to the most important details of who they are and how they function — which can easily get lost in the hustle and bustle of the actual work.   What is the purpose of a team charter for project management? Many people create team charters for their departments or work teams — and there's a lot of value in doing so. Having a team charter for your department: Clearly outlines roles, responsibilities, and other important information Rallies the team around a shared goal or purpose Reduces confusion and miscommunications Improves onboarding of any new team members All of those are true when you use a team charter for a specific project team too. However, a charter for a project team could arguably be even more important Particularly for cross-functional projects that involve pulling team members from disparate departments, the team charter is what gives them a shared understanding of how they'll work together. When all of their departments typically have their own norms, expectations, and approaches, the team charter unites them with a shared understanding right from the get-go.  Additionally, a team charter used in project management will likely spell out more details related to the actual project (and not just the team makeup), such as the budget and resources, workflows, and success metrics.  To put it simply, the point of a team charter in project management is to ensure all relevant team members understand what they need to do in order to achieve the ultimate goal: delivering a successful final project.  What are the benefits of creating a team charter? The above section already gave a bit of a sneak peek at some of the key benefits of a team charter. But let's dig into each of those advantages of a team charter.  Clearly outline roles and responsibilities You might think that a job title is enough clarity, but that's usually not true — especially on project teams where people aren't as familiar with the strengths and expertise of the people they're working with. Who's the best person to approach to get the data they need? Who should they talk to if they need feedback?  A team charter explicitly outlines every single member on the team, their role or title, and what their responsibilities are. That ensures everybody understands their own expectations and contributions, as well as what everybody else around them is doing. That gives them a more holistic understanding of the team and how they fit in — which is especially important when so many teams are now remote or hybrid.  Rally the team around a shared goal or purpose Teams need to have their sights set on the same horizon and that's another key benefit of a team charter. It spells out the team's objective so there's no debate about what everybody is working toward. If you're creating a team charter for a department or long-standing team (for example, a customer support team), the objective you put on your team charter might look something like this:  Deliver prompt, helpful, and unmatched service and support to our customers. If you're creating a charter for a team that was assembled for a one-time project, then your objective will likely go beyond explaining the purpose of the team itself and also encompass the goal of completing the project. Here's an example:  Redesign our customer knowledge base to make it a comprehensive and intuitive destination for troubleshooting and self-service.  Either way, the team charter sets the north star for your team — everybody understands exactly what they're working toward.  Reduce confusion and miscommunications When you explicitly state what you're working toward and how each team member plays a part in getting there, confusion (and as a result, the potential for crossed wires) is already greatly reduced. But your team charter can take clarity even further by spelling out norms and expectations, outlining workflows, hashing out budgets and resources, and more.  Put simply, everything that makes your team and project tick is right there on paper. Everybody is operating with the same information and understanding from the outset — reducing miscommunications, frustration, and resentment down the line.  Improve the onboarding of any new team members Maybe your team has made a new (or a couple of new) hires. Or perhaps you need to bring in another contributor or even a freelancer to help with the project you're working on.  When you bring them onboard, you can send them your team charter. It'll serve almost as a user manual that helps them quickly get up to speed on who does what and how your team generally operates.  Oh, and when you bring on somebody new? Don't forget to add them to your team charter too.  How to create a team charter: Eight steps to follow You're sold on the benefits of a team charter and you're ready to create one for your own team. Here are eight steps to follow to pull it together. 1. Cover the basics The top of your team charter is the easiest part. It's where you'll write down basic information like: Your team's name (if you have one) Your team's leader The date your charter was created The date your charter was last updated Those are important details for people to know up front. Plus, including the dates helps with version control of your document when your charter inevitably needs to change.  2. Define your team's purpose Here's the first question you need to ask yourself: Why does your team exist? Do you offer a distinct service? Fulfill a specific function? Are you completing a certain project?  This could be a simple statement — or it could be several bullet points or statements explaining your team's objective and how that feeds larger business goals. Regardless of how much detail you provide, this section of your team charter should give everybody a clear idea of the purpose behind your team.  EXAMPLE GOAL OR PURPOSE: We will design and create a new customer service knowledge base that will launch in Q2 of 2023.   3. State your core values Your goal is an important uniting force for your team. However, there are other expectations and shared beliefs that will dictate how you work together. Those are your core values. Listing them on your team charter helps everybody get a sense of what's important to your team. And, when they work to embody those values, collaboration is smoother — and conflicts are minimized.  EXAMPLE CORE VALUES: Be honest and accountable Empower and respect others Maintain a growth mindset Communicate proactively and transparently 4. Establish your roles and responsibilities  Your team is at the center of your team charter. Consider this section the "who's who" where you list out the different team members and their roles or titles.  This section that focuses on people can be as detailed as you'd like it to be. Some people leave it as a straightforward list while others dig into team members' responsibilities, strengths, weaknesses, availability, and other information about group members. EXAMPLE ROLES:  Safiya, Head of Customer Support/Team Leader  Timothy, Customer Support Specialist Beverly, Customer Support Specialist Joshua, Content Writer and Editor MaryBeth, Graphic Designer Jose, Web Developer 5. Determine your norms and expectations There are a ton of different norms, patterns, and behaviors that regulate how you and your team work together — whether they're spoken or not. Maybe everybody automatically knows to keep themselves on mute during Zoom meetings unless they're the one speaking. Or perhaps everybody understands that Slack is used for quick requests and personal chatter, while meatier information should go in an email or in Wrike. It's tempting to take those for granted as widely-accepted and inherent truths. But what about if somebody new joins the team? They should have insight into the various expectations, routines, and rituals. That's why it's worth spelling out your most important ones directly in your team charter.  EXAMPLE NORMS:  We practice active listening by summarizing what someone has shared with us We don't interrupt other people in meetings We post and share anything relevant to our projects in Wrike and not in siloed channels  6. Define your project workflow These next few sections of your team charter can vary, depending on whether you're creating a charter for your department or you're creating a charter for a team that was pulled together for a particular project. If you're creating a charter for your department or a longer-standing team, then you can use this section to spell out your typical workflow for new work.  If you're creating a charter for a specific project, then this section can be more detailed and briefly outline some of the phases, deliverables, and timeline of your assigned project. Much like any other section of the charter, you have flexibility here to create something that works best for you.  EXAMPLE PROJECT WORKFLOW:  Receive a work request through our team's request form Team leader investigates and approves or denies the project Approved projects are discussed in a project kickoff meeting 7. Set your success metrics Again, this is another section that varies based on the context of your team charter. You might use this to establish the success metrics for your entire team or you might use it to lay out what success looks like for a specific project. Either way, try to be as specific as possible. The goal you set earlier in your team charter provides a lot of unity and clarity — but people also need to be on the same page about what success ultimately looks like. EXAMPLE SUCCESS METRICS:  Deliver 85% of our projects on time and under budget Receive at least a four out of five rating on our employee engagement scores 8. Explain your budget and resources When creating a charter for a project team, you can use this section to quickly highlight your finances and available resources. Don't feel the need to get too detailed here — a lot of the in-depth information will be included in your project plans. But a brief overview is helpful context for the entire team. When creating a charter for your department, it's tougher to get nitty-gritty about the actual budget or resources, as they can vary widely.  Instead, you can use this section to explain your typical approach to budgeting, how resources are allocated or approved, and other general information about how these processes typically work.  EXAMPLE BUDGET AND RESOURCES:  Annual budgets are approved each December Project budgets are approved as needed by the team leader Resource needs should be discussed during project planning and kickoff  When you've completed all of that, you have your first draft of your team charter ready to go. Review it yourself and share it with your team to see if anybody has any feedback or changes. Once it's finalized, keep it somewhere accessible so everybody can reference it when needed. And remember, this document is never actually finished. Teams change and your charter will too. Revisit it frequently to make any necessary updates as you complete projects, add team members, revise budgets, and refine your norms and expectations.  Three examples of team charters to inspire you Need a little more creative inspiration before you put pen to paper (or your fingers to the keyboard) on your own team charter? Here are three team charter examples to get your wheels turning.  Example #1: Human resources team charter Team Name: Human Resources Department Team Leader: Marie Charter Created: April 18, 2020 Charter Updated: November 2, 2022 Team Purpose:  Supporting and developing the full potential of our staff and entire organization Team Members:  Marie, VP of Human Resources Cole, Director of Human Resources Wes, Recruiting Manager Faith, Payroll Manager Dorothy, Benefits Specialist Noah, Human Resources Coordinator Core Values: Focus on people Demonstrate passion for work Maintain a growth mindset Team Norms:  No communication after hours, on weekends, or during PTO Cameras always on for Zoom meetings Project Workflow:  All requests flow through the VP of Human Resources Priorities are set during weekly team meetings Success Metrics:  Employee engagement scores of at least a 4.5 out of 5 stars Employee retention rate of at least 93% Average time to fill a posted position of three weeks Budget and Resources:  Team's annual operating budget: $725,000 Every team member gets a LinkedIn Premium or LinkedIn Recruiter plan Example #2: Agile team charter Team Name: Team Ticketing System Team Leader: Yusif Charter Created: January 8, 2022 Charter Updated: January 23, 2022 Team Purpose:  Launch a new customer support ticketing system within the app Team Members:  Yusif, VP of Development/Team Lead Courtney, VP of Customer Support/Product Owner Thai, Software Developer and Stakeholder Lucy, Software Developer and Stakeholder Noah, Customer Support Specialist and Stakeholder Core Values:  Remain adaptable and flexible Eagerly seek improvement Focus on the customer  Team Norms:  Acknowledge receipt of all messages Ask questions before jumping to conclusions No devices in daily Scrum meetings Project Workflow:  Default to Scrum with sprints of one to three weeks Daily Scrum meetings for the entire sprint Burndown charts will monitor daily work Success Metrics: Ticketing system is launched by May 2023 Ticketing system reduces live customer support calls by at least 20% Budget and Resources:  Sprint-to-sprint budget management Example #3: Blog redesign project team charter Team Name: Team Blog Redesign Team Leader: Michael Charter Created: November 15, 2022 Charter Updated: N/A Team Purpose:  Redesign the CompanyXYZ blog to improve usability and navigation Team Members:  Michael, Head of Marketing/Team Lead Savannah, Content Writer Kristin, Content Editor Marcy, Content Designer Oscar, Web Developer Mark, Graphic Designer Core Values:  Communicate honestly and respectfully Eagerly seek feedback Follow through on promises Team Norms:  Post all project-related resources and updates directly in Wrike Ask clarifying questions before providing constructive criticism Project Workflow: Project kickoff meeting to start the project Updates regularly posted in Wrike Weekly team meeting to discuss progress Success Metrics:  Blog redesign launched by April, 2023 Increase time-on-page by 40% Budget and Resources: Project budget is $15,000 Access to CompanyXYZ's freelance pool for help writing content and creating new graphics Manage your teams and projects with Wrike Solid teamwork doesn't automatically happen when you pull people together or assign a project. For people to work well together, they need clarity about their purpose, their roles, and their approach. That's why a team charter is so helpful. It's a single source of truth for everybody on the team to align their expectations and set themselves up for success. Want even more clarity? Manage your team and all of your projects in Wrike. With collaborative work management software, you can: Get visibility into everybody's work Clearly assign tasks, owners, and deadlines Centralize communication and resources Easily monitor progress and course correct when necessary Streamline and simplify your work intake process Save time with templates Ready to empower your team to do their best work? Create your team charter and use Wrike to store it and manage all of your day-to-day work — while honoring those rules and expectations. Get started with Wrike for free today. 

How To Create a Fillable Form in Word for Your Clients
Collaboration 7 min read

How To Create a Fillable Form in Word for Your Clients

Need to create fillable forms for your clients? Learn how to create a fillable form in Word with this easy-to-follow guide from Wrike.

Teamwork Works: Benefits and Strategies for Maximizing Your Team's Collaboration
Leadership 10 min read

Teamwork Works: Benefits and Strategies for Maximizing Your Team's Collaboration

Chances are, you've worked as part of an incredible team at some point in your life. The team members trusted and respected each other, people met (or even exceeded) expectations, and you all generally enjoyed getting your work done together.  Unfortunately, you've also probably had the opposite experience: working on a team where teamwork was a struggle. Frustration ran rampant, resentment brewed, and it felt like you couldn't get anything done without a crisis or three-alarm emergency.  Those are two vastly different experiences, right? But what's the difference-maker between them?  What caused one team to move forward seemingly effortlessly, while the other repeatedly ran off the rails? There's no simple answer. Teamwork is common (you'll find it everywhere, from sports to workplaces), but it's also complex.  Understanding the ins and outs of teambuilding and how to improve teamwork requires some flexibility and commitment — but it's well worth the effort.  What does teamwork actually mean?  Let's start by getting a solid grasp of the definition of teamwork. Speaking quite literally, teamwork is a collaborative effort of a group of people working toward a shared goal. However, the term "teamwork" usually isn't used to describe any team that's working toward a common objective. More often than not, teamwork describes a team doing that in a positive and productive way. Essentially, "teamwork" means a group is working toward a shared finish line in a way that's effective, efficient, and respectful.  What are the benefits of good teamwork? It's a pretty widely-accepted fact that solid teamwork is important. But why does good teamwork matter in the workplace? When a team can collaborate well together, it leads to many advantages for individual employees, the whole team, and even the entire organization.  Here are a few of the most notable benefits of teamwork: Better productivity: Fewer crossed wires, fewer dropped balls, no missed deadlines. When your team is running like a well-oiled machine, it makes sense that they'll be able to get more done (with less stress, to boot). Less burnout: Speaking of less stress, solid teamwork can also reduce burnout. In one study that looked specifically at healthcare workers, teamwork was proven to reduce the emotional exhaustion of the team members. It makes sense — people can rely on more hands to carry the load, as well as trusted confidantes they can turn to when they need advice or encouragement. Higher employee happiness and satisfaction: Research has proven that our relationships and connections at work greatly impact our overall wellbeing and even our sense of purpose. In order for teams to work well together, team members need to trust and respect each other. Those positive bonds can improve happiness, satisfaction, and well-being. Improved employee retention: Less burnout? Happier employees? That all leads to better employee retention. When recent data from Pew Research Center found that 35% of employees who quit their jobs cited "feeling disrespected at work" as their major reason for quitting, fostering a team environment where people feel valued and supported can encourage people to stick around. Increased autonomy: When a team is working together cohesively, effectively, and efficiently, managers inherently have more trust. That means they're far more willing to step back and give the team more ownership over their work and decisions. More innovation and creativity: Have you heard the old saying that two (or many) brains are better than one? Research backs it up, proving that high-quality teamwork can improve creativity and innovation. So, working together can help your team develop their biggest, boldest, and most meaningful ideas.  In short, there really aren't any drawbacks or disadvantages to high-quality teamwork. This level of top-notch team collaboration leads to less frustration, more support, and, ultimately, the delivery of more winning projects.  What are the qualities of good teamwork? Those benefits are compelling, but simply having a team doesn't mean you'll reap the rewards. Teamwork is a skill — it's something that can be taught, learned, and practiced. So, what types of qualities does it take to be able to work well with other people?  Here are some of the most crucial skills and characteristics required for being a good team player:  Accountability: Taking responsibility for completing your tasks and meeting your expectations Collaboration: Being willing to work with others rather than completely independently Communication: Clearly sharing information with others, as well as actively listening to understand their point of view Emotional intelligence: Recognizing and managing your own emotions, as well as the emotions of other people on the team Flexibility: Being able to adjust your plans, consider different viewpoints, and roll with the punches Respect: Showing consideration for all other team members, whether you agree with them or not Time management: Successfully prioritizing your tasks and allocating your hours to ensure you're able to meet your assigned deadlines It's not an exhaustive list, and plenty of other soft skills and competencies — from problem-solving to decision-making — will also play an important role depending on your unique position, team, and industry.  But the above are some of the most basic building blocks of successful team-building.  Making teamwork work: Eight strategies for next-level teamwork Once you've confirmed that you and your team have the right skills for teamwork, what actionable steps can you take to improve how you work together? Remember that there's no quick fix — improving teamwork takes diligence and, perhaps even more importantly, patience.  As you commit to the process, here are eight impactful tactics that you and your team can put into practice together.  1. Provide clarity about shared goals The definition of teamwork itself says that people need to work toward a shared goal. In order to do so, they need to know what that goal is.  After all, your team won't get much accomplished if they all have their sights set on different finish lines. It’s up to you to set expectations and make sure your team knows how to reach them.  Whenever you and your team kick off a new quarter, project, or initiative, have a team meeting to discuss the goal you're working toward. Document it and store it somewhere that's easily accessible for everyone. Get as nitty gritty as you can with your goals. Using the SMART goal framework will help you set objectives that are: Specific Measurable Attainable Relevant Time-bound For example, if you and your marketing team are kicking off a new webinar series, your team's SMART goal might look like this: Create and host three webinars by the end of Q2 to advance our expertise and build trust with our customers.  That statement alone provides a lot of clarity. Now everybody on your team has insight into what you're doing, why you're doing it, and when it needs to be done by. But as you outline your team's common goals, it's important to take things a step further by: Connecting your team's goals to individual goals: People don't just need to understand the shared effort — they need to clearly see how their individual role and work play a part in that bigger objective. It boosts accountability and gives them a greater sense of purpose. Connecting your team's goals to company-wide goals: Your team members should also understand how your team's objectives feed the broader organizational goals. Will that webinar series help you build more authority in your industry? Draw that parallel so that team members have visibility into how their work is not only pushing your team forward, but the entire company.  Finally, it's also helpful to set some metrics that will help you and your team understand how you're progressing.  Objectives and key results (OKRs) are helpful indicators as you work toward bigger goals. Plus, they're easy to set and track in Wrike.  2. Understand team members' strengths and weaknesses Teamwork feels the most effortless when team members are able to handle tasks that play to their unique strengths — and skip the ones that are daunting and disheartening.  To do that, you need to have a solid understanding of what each of your team members brings to the table, as well as what areas they struggle in. You can do this through a more formal assessment. Here are some of the most common and popular ones that leaders use to get a deeper understanding of team members:  CliftonStrengths Assessment DiSC Assessment SDI 2.0   SWOT Analysis  Those types of assessments will help you dive deep. But you can also learn a lot by having some candid conversations — both with individual team members and your team as a whole. Questions to ask team members:  What type of work makes you feel excited and energized? What type of work drains or frustrates you? What's one previous project that you really enjoyed contributing to? What's one skill or area you would like to work on improving?  Questions to ask the entire team:  What do we do well as a team? Where do we struggle as a team? What's one past project we're really proud of? What's one past project we found particularly challenging? Are there any skills we think we're missing on our current team? Are there any processes or workflows that need to be improved? These types of conversations will help you spot skill gaps and other areas of improvement. They'll be especially helpful as you break up projects and assign out tasks (more on that in a minute).  In short, the more you can leverage strengths and address weaknesses, the better off you and your entire team will be.  3. Assign clear roles and responsibilities It's hard for your team to work well together if nobody knows what they're supposed to do. Work gets duplicated, tasks get skipped entirely, and people become increasingly frustrated by the lack of clarity.  On your team, there should be no doubt about who does what. On a broad level, a lot of that is implied based on their role. Your graphic designer is obviously the one that people will approach with design needs, while your SEO specialist is the go-to person for any keyword questions. But when it comes to specific projects, you need to get even clearer by breaking projects down into individual tasks and then clearly outlining not only who is handling certain tasks, but also when those tasks are due.  It can also be helpful to note any task dependencies so that people have visibility into how their individual piece connects to the entire project. Want to make this easier? Look for a work management platform or project management software (like Wrike!) that allows you to create tasks and then assign team members and due dates to them.  Whether you're managing remote teams, in-person teams, or hybrid teams, that level of transparency will ensure that everybody understands not only what they need to do, but what everybody else is doing too.  4. Prioritize knowledge sharing Effective knowledge management — which is a fancy term for effectively sharing information and resources with each other — is a major struggle for teams. In fact, Deloitte says it's one of the top three issues affecting company success. It can be challenging to keep everybody in the loop, especially as your team grows. But there are things you can do to boost transparency across your team including:  Hosting frequent team meetings where everybody can provide updates and hear about current happenings. This can be a daily check or weekly, depending on how quickly your team moves. Pairing up newer team members with more experienced team members Pulling everything — tasks, goals, status updates, documents, resources, and more — into a single work management platform like Wrike so everybody sees what's happening across the team, and teamwork online becomes easier Reducing competition so team members don't feel like they need to hoard information as currency Leading by example by openly sharing information yourself Your team will always struggle to work well together if they feel like they need to hide information and resources in order to get ahead or simply don't think to openly share with others. By prioritizing knowledge sharing, you give everybody the visibility they need to get their own work done — and support others in the process.  5. Refine processes and workflows Does your team do similar work and projects over and over again? There's no need to start from scratch each time.  Coming up with standardized processes and workflows removes the guesswork, improves consistency, and supports better teamwork.  Let's say that your team is responsible for creating the same report every single quarter. To simplify that process, you could: Understand what is and isn't working so you can make improvements Break down the steps involved and create a custom workflow that you can copy and use each time Create templates for necessary documents and resources When that report is on your team's plate next time, they'll feel extra confident in their ability to pick it up and get started because they have an existing framework to lean on. They aren't starting from square one.  This is especially helpful for a virtual team working from home. The shift to remote work has meant that many employees working from home may struggle with communicating processes to one another and getting caught up in silos. Ensure that your refined processes are communicated to all team members in real time, and remote employees are trained in how to engage in them.  6. Cultivate psychological safety Psychological safety means that team members feel secure enough to take risks, make mistakes, and be vulnerable with each other — without the fear of judgment or reprimands.  This level of comfort and support is crucial for high-performing teams, but figuring out how to cultivate it can be challenging. Here are a few ways to ensure your team has a high degree of psychological safety: Host brainstorming sessions where there's no such thing as a "bad idea" and team members are only there to generate ideas — not critique other ones Candidly talk about your own personal successes and mistakes to model that there's no shame in failure or missteps Encourage your team to remove personal language during collaborative discussions (for example, "that idea" instead of "your idea") Even seemingly small steps can make a big difference in the level of confidence team members have in voicing their opinions and sharing their big ideas.  7. Foster trust and social bonding You might guess that team members work better together when they know each other. Teamwork really gets kicked up a notch when they don't just know each other, but when they like each other — when they've found some common ground and interests.  That won't happen if they never have an opportunity to connect with each other outside of meetings and daily to-dos.  You don't want team bonding to feel like a burden or something that eats into the time they need to get their work done.  However, coming up with some different social interactions will help them forge deeper relationships with each other. Here are a few ideas you can use, whether your team is sharing an office or you're looking for some virtual team-building activities:  Save time at the beginning or end of your team meetings for icebreaker questions or personal catch ups Start dedicated Slack channels for people to connect on non-work-related topics, like sharing recipes or setting up book clubs Create a collaborative playlist where all team members can add their favorite music Host game nights, trivia contests, happy hours, coffee chats, or other informal opportunities (virtual or in-person) for team members to get to know each other socially Start a photo challenge for your team where they share photos in a different theme — from their pets or home office spaces to their yearbook photos or favorite vacations Set up a Zoom room that remote workers can pop into if they want to enjoy a beverage and a chat with a coworker There's no shortage of ways that you can encourage stronger connections between team members.  Make sure to regularly collect their feedback on these types of building exercises so that you can continue to offer things that they find enjoyable. You don't want these to feel like an obnoxious obligation.  8. Regularly solicit feedback You don't just need to gather your team's feedback on their social opportunities — you need to collect it about, well, everything.  As the leader, it's your job to keep your finger on the pulse of how things are going so that you can make changes and nip problems in the bud. Feedback shouldn't be something that happens once or twice a year during performance reviews or formalized surveys.  Hearing from your team members needs to be continuous and ongoing. Not sure how to regularly tap into how they're thinking and feeling? Here are a few ideas to gather valuable and helpful feedback:  Reserve a portion of your team meeting to talk about roadblocks, frustrations, and successes Host project retrospectives to discuss what went well and what needs to be improved next time Regularly use employee surveys (anonymous or not) to collect feedback Come prepared with feedback questions to ask employees during their one-on-ones Not only does this give you insight that you can use to take action, but it also shows your employees that you value their thoughts and opinions — which can go a long way in boosting their engagement.  How will you know if you're getting teamwork right?  How will you know if your efforts to improve teamwork are actually working?  Effective teamwork can be difficult to quantify — in many ways, it's one of those "you'll know it when you see it" types of things.  However, here are a few telltale signs that your team is meshing well together: Work is being completed on time and with fewer errors Team members seem enthusiastic, energized, and motivated Scores from employee surveys or feedback are improving Miscommunications are becoming less frequent Team members are stepping in to support and help each other Conflicts and disagreements are decreasing Those signs will help point you in the right direction, but rest assured that you'll also get a gut feeling when teamwork is improving. The whole morale and culture of your team will likely shift in a more positive direction.  How Wrike can help make teamwork work for you There's a lot that goes into effective teamwork. Fortunately, a collaborative work management platform like Wrike can help make teamwork less stressful and more successful.  Here's how Wrike can help you reap the rewards of teamwork (while steering around all of the potential pitfalls): Setting goals and OKRs to keep your team focused on their shared objective Assigning task owners, due dates, and dependencies so everybody understands their role Providing visibility into the whole picture so everybody sees how they fit in Centralizing communication so nobody has to dig through folders, email threads, or instant messages Improving knowledge sharing by keeping all of your team’s tasks, plans, calendars, updates, and resources in one place Increasing consistency with custom workflows Saving time with a huge variety of templates that you can copy and customize And that's only the start! Teamwork shouldn't be guesswork — and Wrike is the resource you need to keep your entire team on the same page.  Teamwork doesn't mean perfection So, what's the difference between a team that works together effortlessly and one that's ripe with chaos and confusion? As it turns out, quite a bit. Teamwork isn't simple. And even when you get it right, that doesn't mean that things will always be smooth sailing.  Conflict is inevitable in a team environment and it doesn't mean that something is wrong. In fact, it's an important and healthy part of teamwork, provided that you and your team are equipped to work through it in a respectful and productive way.  That becomes a lot easier when you already have the foundation of solid teamwork in place — and the above strategies can help you get there.  Put them into play on your team and stay committed as you all transform from frazzled and frustrated to streamlined and supportive.  Ready to take your teamwork to the next level? Get started with Wrike for free today. 

Myers Briggs Personality Types & What They Mean for Your Team Dynamic
Collaboration 7 min read

Myers Briggs Personality Types & What They Mean for Your Team Dynamic

The Myers Briggs personality test can give you insight into your team’s strengths and weaknesses. Discover how the Myers Briggs types can impact team dynamics.

Collaborative Work Management Stands for Productivity
Wrike Tips 7 min read

Collaborative Work Management Stands for Productivity

When it comes to managing work, there are a lot of different solutions out there. You may have heard acronyms like Collaborative Work Management (CWM), Adaptive Project Management and Reporting (APMR), and Portfolio and Project Management (PPM) thrown around, but what do they all really mean? And how do you choose the right one that fits the needs of your team in a digital work environment?  You need a solution that is intuitive, powerful, and can easily flex to meet the varying needs of your organization, and we’ll explain why a CWM solution can do just that. First up, what is CWM? Collaborative Work Management is a market term that represents a category of work platforms where teams, departments, and even entire businesses can manage their work in one place. If you’ve ever felt frustrated or disappointed after managing a complex project (or multiple projects) using a mix of spreadsheets, email, Slack, and other apps, you’re not alone. 70% of knowledge workers feel stressed having to juggle multiple apps and systems every day, according to our Dark Matter of Work research.  Most common tools are only designed for very limited use, or simple data analysis and basic work plans, and don’t meet the needs of today’s workers. Much of our daily work is complex, involving processes, people, technology, timelines, and budgets that require alignment to strategic initiatives, reporting to executives, and constant cross-functional collaboration. When you consider the complexity of all of this — a reality that is costing organizations 60M dollars each year — choosing a CWM platform to manage all of your work is a no-brainer.  CWM solutions have been used by companies of all sizes since the 2000s, but they really took off in the 2010s. They are affordable (even for very large deployments), can evolve and update quickly to meet customer needs, and they represent significant cost savings for organizations that want to maximize productivity and run more efficiently. The best CWM tools can connect work in a myriad of ways across people and initiatives; they have smart features like AI to automate workflow processes, as well as robust mobile apps designed to keep work moving when you’re away from your desk. Understanding the categories: CWM vs. PPM CWM sits in the sweet spot of workplace productivity between ad-hoc collaboration tools and more niche offerings like PPM. It can be thought of as the connective tissue that streamlines work happening in disparate tools like your Microsoft Office or Google suite and email and messaging apps, and it provides a single source of truth for internal and external teams to create, plan, manage, collaborate, and report on work and processes.  Portfolio and Project Management, on the other hand, represents a category of work platforms that are function-specific, and intended for planners to align programs and projects into portfolios. PPMs are designed primarily for project management offices (PMOs) with dedicated portfolio, program, or project managers, and they are much more cost-prohibitive.  If you’re familiar with PPM, it means you're serious about organizing and reporting on your work, but it also means that you recognize one major deficiency of these technologies: very few people actually use them, and even fewer can use them for their actual work. This is due to limitations such as: Outdated UI (versus work platforms designed to balance planning and delivery) Complex feature sets that most of us will never use Rigid structures and hierarchies that don’t represent the workflows we use daily The need for both technical integrations (some PPMs even require integrations from their product into their own product) and long deployments with ongoing oversight CWM has actually subsumed a significant portion of PPM capabilities over the years in order to provide a universal solution to host all work at a lower cost. Understanding the categories: CWM vs APMR In another niche corner, you will find Adaptive Project Management & Reporting (APMR) — a market term for a category of technology that represents how project managers, citizen developers, and individual contributors can execute detailed project plans more seamlessly than by using point technology, like a spreadsheet, or traditional portfolio and project management technology. APMR is a subcategory of CWM technology and represents the evolution away from planning-centric technologies.  If you’re a project manager or lead an outcomes-focused PMO, you’ll recognize that you sit in the middle of an imperfect Venn diagram between planning and execution. On one hand, you need the work to get done (ideally on time or even ahead of schedule) and on the other hand, you need to report progress to your executives to show how that work is helping the company achieve its goals and objectives.  Companies often try to manage project timelines and progress reporting with APMR, but when you take a closer look at what makes a good work management technology, you probably need to consider collaborative work management tools instead. CWM software works for every team and every business because it’s quick to get started, speaks the language of different departments, is easy to use, scales work – no matter how complex – and brings teams together across entire organizations, all in one place. Bottom line: it’s the only work management solution your team will ever need.  Why is a CWM, and Wrike specifically, the most powerful choice? Regardless of the new names and claims out there, we have been in the game for more than 15 years and understand that more technology isn't always better. Today's modern workers need a single platform — not disparate applications — that allows them to manage a multitude of workflows to streamline all work, while also having visibility into what‘s happening across the organization.  This need to “work as one” is further magnified as companies are forced to take a closer look at the bottom line in this uncertain economic climate. We can confidently say that Wrike has the tools to get the job done.  Wrike’s platform includes some of the most commonly-requested capabilities from our customers, and the tradeoffs customers have made with other solutions – in our category and in others – prior to selecting Wrike as the best CWM platform for their business. With Wrike, there are no tradeoffs.  Top features the Global 500 demand today Custom Item Types to go beyond standard tasks and projects and enable users to create their own work item types tailored to their team’s specific culture and style; Wrike is able to define different types of work to support any team’s workflows and keep cross-functional work connected within a single source of truth Detailed project and work demand intake using dynamic request forms Basic demand prioritization and selection using either financial terms or strategic inputs Resource capacity planning and modeling across different project teams Detailed project and work planning and management Resource assignment and allocation to ensure work is assigned appropriately Task management with multiple view types like table, Kanban, calendar, and lists, that includes time-tracking and status reporting Project and work risk management Project and work change management Features, including commenting, live editors, and built-in approvals, that allow for real-time collaboration Analytics that support decision-making and help form business strategy across multiple dimensions, not just at the highest portfolio level Rich analytics, either natively within the platform or exported directly into your business intelligence and analytics stack to help guide progress on goals and objectives Artificial intelligence (AI) that supports work creation, allocation, and risk Mobile access and support across all major mobile platforms Advanced integration strategy including integrations to popular applications like Microsoft, Google, Zoom, and Slack; workflow specific integrations like Hubspot, Salesforce, and Quickbooks; data syncs between technologies like Wrike and Jira, an integration platform that connects and automates technologies across an enterprise or even an advanced API for teams that really need that configurability What to do next? We understand how important it is to have the right tools to mitigate both the financial and human costs of work complexities. If any of the above features resonate with you, it’s time to consider implementing collaborative work management.  If you want to learn more, I encourage you to take a tour of Wrike or hear it straight from our customers at Wrike Collaborate, our free work management conference. If you want to get started right away, begin a free trial now! Authored by John Notman, Senior Director, Product Marketing at Wrike

Understanding the Importance of Peer Relationships at Work
Collaboration 10 min read

Understanding the Importance of Peer Relationships at Work

Peer relationships at work can lead to higher productivity, increased retention, and boosted morale. Here’s your guide to building better bonds.

How to Stop Letting Your Coworkers Undermine You
Collaboration 7 min read

How to Stop Letting Your Coworkers Undermine You

It's probably happened to you more times than you'd care to remember. You're at the top of your game in the office. Your tasks are done, your projects successful. As a result, your quotas and goals have been reached and decimated. But then suddenly, you discover nasty rumors about you brown-nosing a supervisor or supposedly working your way up the ladder using unsavory tactics. Somehow coworkers take any opportunity to undermine your achievements by knocking you down a peg with their comments or actions. And you thought your colleagues were the best mates ever. Australians have an informal phrase to describe this phenomenon —tall poppy syndrome — the disparagement of someone who's risen to a level that's higher than the other poppies in the same field. In other countries, you're more likely to hear expressions such as the familiar, "Stop making the rest of us look bad." Whatever form it takes though, the results are the same: High-performing individuals sometimes have to endure negative backlash — even social undermining — from their peers because of their work ethic. The psychology of social undermining There are many negative social consequences to excellent performance in the workplace. A study in the Journal of Organizational Behaviour defines social undermining as behavior intended to hinder a worker's success, reputation, and positive relationships over time. This behavior might look like: Someone badmouthing your work or reputation Someone competing with you in order to gain status or prominence over you Someone purposely withholding information you need to do work Someone intentionally giving you false information about a task you're doing so you miss a deadline That same study considers social undermining a form of workplace aggression and identifies three main distinguishing factors, namely: This behavior is intentional. It's done on purpose and with a negative goal in mind. This behavior seeks to interfere with work relationships by influencing how coworkers or supervisors view the victim. This behavior assumes that the above negative outcomes will occur. An article in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology studying 1,087 recently unemployed respondents shows that those who experienced social undermining in the workplace reported having poorer mental health that manifested itself in feelings of irritation, anxiety, depression, and more. It impacts the worker and their output in a significant manner. In short, it's an attack meant to slow you down and bring you back down to the attacker's level. And its effects are detrimental to a person's psychological well-being and relationships at work. How to deal with undermining behavior So how does a top performer deal with being the target of resentment in the workplace? Or, what advice can we give to "tall poppies" and overachievers alike? Talk to your colleagues Once this undermining starts impeding your output, you should take concrete steps to alter the situation. First off, confront the people talking about you. If you know who they are, have a simple talk with each person one-on-one, and explain that you want the behavior to stop. This is often the most effective way to solve the problem. Report it But if your plea falls on deaf ears, take it up the chain of command. Talk to your manager, your department head, Human Resources, and so on. File a formal complaint with HR stating just the facts. Make it clear you will not accept this behavior. Pack your bags The simplest option is to weigh your pros and cons and figure out whether it's worth the mental aggravation to come in every day and work in a pit of vipers. If your "cons" column weighs heavier, then begin a new job search and find a friendlier workplace. TIP: Read the reviews of your next company on websites such as Glassdoor. Those anonymous reviews typically spill all the beans. Just remember: no company is perfect. Or... ride it out When confronted with a reader's dilemma that sounds exactly like the opening paragraph of this blog post, HR leader and Forbes columnist Liz Ryan shares this nugget: They say that the emotion most likely to follow intense dislike (even loathing) is boredom. Ryan's point is: If you don't let your sniping colleagues have the satisfaction of seeing you hurt and panicking, they'll eventually move on to another target. This is assuming, of course, you choose to stick it out in a toxic work environment where you have to deal with childish treatment from supposedly adult coworkers. And if you're unsure whether your workplace culture is toxic or safe, then rate your current office with the checklist in this piece: 10 Signs Your Workplace is Toxic. Control what you can: Yourself Finally, the age-old adage is true: you can only control your own reaction to a situation. You can't control what other people say about you or your work. If they're catty or passive-aggressive, you can choose to ignore them and refuse to take the bait. If they're hostile, you can choose to walk away. Meanwhile, you continue to do the work you were hired for to the best of your ability. Because doing it any other way (i.e. slacking off and choosing to produce mediocre work) is an insult both to your capabilities as a performer and to your employer's trust in you. Protect your mental health If you find the stress of dealing with toxic colleagues is bleeding into your personal life, it's time to reach out. Talk to a friend or trusted family member. Research the resources your company offers to support mental health. Remind yourself of the skills and expertise you bring to your organization and why you were hired in the first place.  You can only do so much Excellence is divisive in an organization where mediocrity rules. Realize that you can only do so much to fit in or to try and change the culture before you yourself are tainted. It's better to find a company where your skills and your drive can be appreciated. And where, instead of worrying about colleagues stabbing you in the back, you work with people who have your back.

4 Reasons Why Communication Fails (and What to Do About It)
Collaboration 7 min read

4 Reasons Why Communication Fails (and What to Do About It)

We have some effective communication tips to keep in mind next time you're providing feedback or thinking about scheduling that meeting. You'll learn how to improve communication skills in the workplace and out.

6 Different Team Effectiveness Models to Understand Your Team Better
Collaboration 7 min read

6 Different Team Effectiveness Models to Understand Your Team Better

Understanding these 6 team effectiveness models can help you figure out which model to adopt for your own team. Or it may simply help shed light into what's working in your own group, and how to help improve what's lacking.

How to Work Effectively: 13 Simple Strategies to Work Smarter
Productivity 7 min read

How to Work Effectively: 13 Simple Strategies to Work Smarter

Productivity at work is something that ebbs and flows. We all have off days where we feel we could have done more. But the important thing to remember is that productivity is a habit — it's something you can build over time and become better at every day by choosing the methods and tricks that work for you. No matter your job or industry, we all want to learn how to be effective at work and achieve our professional goals. But true productivity is more than simply checking tasks off a to-do list—it’s about doing more of what matters. Luckily, all it takes is a few adjustments to your daily work habits to see an improvement, so start with these simple tips and watch your productivity soar.  13 ways to be more effective at work  Trim your task list  We all know how paralyzing it can be to start a big project or tackle a crazy to-do list. So don’t overwhelm yourself with a massive task list! Give yourself three to five important items you need to accomplish in one day, and focus on those. If you get them done early, you can always add a few more things to your list, but keeping it manageable will keep you productive — instead of just keeping you busy.  Swap your to-do list for a schedule Sit down, look at your available time for the day, and be realistic about what you can get done. Then make a game plan: Schedule specific slots of time for each of your important tasks—and be sure to include breaks. By dedicating time and structuring your day, you can take advantage of the times of day you're naturally more focused and motivated, make tangible progress on important work, and ensure you take the necessary breaks to stay mentally fresh.  Stop while you’re still on a roll One of the biggest reasons we procrastinate is that we simply don’t know where to start. But if you stop working on a task for the day knowing exactly what you need to do next, it’s much easier to get started again. End every task with a defined “next step” to quickly get back in the zone next time.  Stay organized Highly effective people have systems in place to help them find the exact information they need right when they need it. A simple system like David Allen's Getting Things Done method (GTD) can ease the mental burden of storing reminders and ideas and free up brain space for more meaningful and effective work. Get a 20-second overview of the famous GTD method here. Make bad habits more difficult to indulge Constant distractions tank your productivity and IQ, and you can't work effectively if you're not performing at your best. So create some simple barriers to help you focus. If you’re constantly pulling out your phone while you work to text a friend or check social media, for instance, put your phone in a locked desk drawer and keep the key in an upstairs closet, or ask a trusted co-worker to hold on to it until lunch.  Prioritize  A big part of being effective at work is learning to say no. Figure out what really matters — which tasks actually move the needle on your primary goals? Which projects have the biggest impact on your bottom line? Cut the busy work that doesn’t actually amount to anything. Using a data-driven goal-setting technique like OKRs (objectives and key results) is a practical way to focus your daily efforts on clearly-defined, measurable goals that directly contribute to larger business objectives.  Tackle your most important tasks first Your motivation and creativity are at a high point in the morning, So instead of starting your day by checking emails (which can quickly derail your plans, as what you intended to accomplish gets pushed off or lost among incoming requests), wait a few hours to check your inbox and work on a more significant project while your mental energy is still high.  Plan tomorrow tonight While you shouldn't stay up agonizing over all the work waiting for you tomorrow, creating a short list of simple to-dos at night can help you hit the ground running in the morning, establishing a productive momentum that will carry you through the rest of the day. Try to include at least one moderately challenging task in your list — according to Dr. Mihaly Csiksgentmihalyi, there's a sweet spot where your brain more easily enters that "flow" state where your brain is humming and you're doing your best work. It happens when the degree of challenge and your abilities intersect at a high point. (If the task isn't challenging enough, you'll get bored, and if it's too high, you'll get anxious and stressed).  Use idle time to knock out admin tasks Waiting in line at the grocery store, bus stop, bank, etc., doesn't have to be wasted time. Bring a book you’ve been meaning to read, clear a few emails, or catch up on status updates. Or simply let your mind wander and observe the world around you. You never know when your next great idea will hit you!  Schedule meetings with yourself Create a distraction-free zone where you can go to focus when necessary. Block time off on your calendar where you won’t be disturbed, turn off your email and message notifications (or better yet, disconnect from the internet entirely), and focus on a single important task for an hour or two.  Change your self-talk  Instead of saying, “I have too much to do today!” and “I’m so stressed out right now!” say, “These are the two things I need to focus on today." A simple shift in perspective can do wonders for your motivation and energy levels. Communicate and clarify  We all have to collaborate with others at some level to do our jobs, so learning how to work effectively with others is an essential part of improving your effectiveness at work. One of the best ways to avoid unnecessary rework and wasted time is to eliminate misunderstandings and miscommunications. Get it right the first time, and you’ll save yourself a ton of time and mental energy revising and redoing tasks.  Find ways to do more of the work you enjoy When you're interested in, challenged by, and good at your work, you're more engaged — and more effective. Consider which aspects of your job you look forward to, which skills you get the most praise for, and which types of projects your colleagues ask you for help with.  While not everything you do at work can be a passion project, with a little creativity, even tedious tasks can be fun or challenging. The next time you have to generate a timesheet or expense report, time yourself and see if you can beat your personal high score. Do your best to learn something new every day, or push yourself to try something you haven't before.  More tips and resources to improve effectiveness at work Whether you work in marketing, project management, software development, or any other field, our collection of tips and tools on productivity and motivation will help you learn how to be more effective at work.  Using a work management system like Wrike can help you take your productivity to the next level by looking after the small tasks so you can concentrate on the big ideas. Features like 400+ app integrations to collaborate across platforms, intuitive automation to free up time spent on admin, and customizable workflows and work views to suit your needs all lead to doing the best work of your life with software that works for you. Try it now with a free two-week trial. 

13 Awesome Team-Building Games (Infographic)
Collaboration 3 min read

13 Awesome Team-Building Games (Infographic)

Whether you want to do new hire orientation icebreakers or just bond your team closer together, check out our list of awesome team building games that you and your team will want to play over and over again.

Google Workspace for Project Management Guide
Project Management 10 min read

Google Workspace for Project Management Guide

Google project management tools include Google Sheets, Docs, and Slides. Read on to discover everything you need to know about Google project management.

Ultimate Guide to Team-Building Activities Your Team Will Actually Like
Leadership 10 min read

Ultimate Guide to Team-Building Activities Your Team Will Actually Like

A team that works well together is more effective, more productive, and more successful — not to mention happier and more fun to work with! But team building at work can be tricky, especially when typical team-building activities tend to induce more eye rolls among teammates than high-fives. Whether you were hired to put together some team-building initiatives or you think your team just needs to get together and do something fun, workplace team-building activities are the way to go. There are even lots of options available for online team-building activities when your team is distributed. Adults can have fun, too! Try Wrike for free Team bonding activities don’t have to be contrived Don't be seen as the Michael Scott of your office, trying to organize team bonding ideas that involve egg and spoon races and hotdog eating contests. Corporate wouldn't stand for that. Your goal for team-building exercises should be to include everyone on the team in an activity that encourages collaboration and builds trust.  A proper team-building activity should build better communication pathways, improve problem-solving skills, and improve company culture. While individuals sometimes feel like these games are annoying or unnecessary, just 30 minutes of team building can boost morale, increase productivity, and improve work output.  This list is going to become your go-to for office team-building and can even be modified as games to play with remote employees. Everything from small team-building activities to problem-solving exercises, we've scoured the internet to create the ultimate list of fun team-building activities for the workplace to laugh, learn, and connect with your team. Team building games and activities for work 1. Zombie Escape For: Creative Problem Solving & Collaboration Exercise What you'll need: 1 rope, 1 key, and 5-10 puzzles or clues, depending on how much time you want to spend on the game Instructions: Gather the team into a conference room or other empty space and "lock" the door. Beforehand, select one team member to play the zombie — dead eyes, arms outstretched, muttering "braaaaiiiinnnnssss" and all. The volunteer zombie will be tied to the rope in the corner of the room, with 1 foot of leeway. Once the team exercise starts, every five minutes, the rope restraining the hungry zombie is let out another foot. Soon, the zombie will be able to reach the living team members, who will need to solve a series of puzzles or clues to find the hidden key that will unlock the door and allow them to escape before it's too late.  2. Battle of the Airbands  For: Team Bonding What you'll need: Speakers, smartphone or mp3 player Instructions: Ever watched Lip Sync Battle? (Tom Holland's is a personal favorite.) Expand the idea to a full battle of the air bands. Split your group up into teams of 3-4 people and let them decide who will be the singers, guitarists, drummers, etc. Give them some time to choose, rehearse, and perform a lip-synced version of whatever work-friendly song they like. If they have a few days, teams can dress up or bring props. After the performances, teams can vote on the winner (with the caveat that no one can vote for their own band). Or, let a neighboring department in on the fun and have them choose the winner.  3. A Shrinking Vessel  For: Creative Problem Solving  What you'll need: A rope, blanket, or tape to mark a space on the floor Instructions: Make a space on the floor and have your whole group (or a set of smaller teams) stand in that space. Then gradually shrink the space, so the team will have to think fast and work together to keep everyone within the shrinking boundaries.  4. Back-to-Back Drawing  For: Communication Skills What you'll need: Paper, pens/markers, printouts of simple line drawings, or basic shapes.  Instructions: Split your group into pairs and have each pair sit back to back. One person gets a picture of a shape or simple image, and the other gets a piece of paper and a pen. The person holding the picture gives verbal instructions to their partner on how to draw the shape or image they've been given (without simply telling them what the shape or image is). After a set amount of time, have each set of partners compare their images and see which team drew the most accurate replica.  5. Office Trivia  For: Team Bonding What you'll need: 20-25 trivia questions about your workplace Instructions: Looking for a quick and easy team-building activity that is also suitable for remote cultures? Come up with a series of questions specific to your workplace and test your team's knowledge. "What color are the kitchen tiles?" "How many people are in the IT department?" "How many windows are there in the entire office?" "What brand are the computer monitors?" "What month of the year is most common for birthdays among our employees?" This is a quick team-building activity that tests how observant your team is and can be done in both a conference room and over Zoom. 6. Marshmallow Spaghetti Tower  For: Creative Problem Solving & Collaboration Exercise What you'll need: 20 sticks of uncooked spaghetti, 1 roll of masking tape, 1 yard of string, and 1 marshmallow for every team.  Instructions: Using just these supplies, which team can build the tallest tower? There's a catch: The marshmallow has to be at the very top of the spaghetti tower, and the whole structure has to stand on its own (that means no hands or other objects supporting it!) for five seconds. 7. Community Service For: Team Bonding & Icebreakers  What you'll need: A few hours out of the workday Instructions: Participate in Adopt-a-Family programs during the holidays, organize a beach clean-up, take on a community beautification project — find an activity that appeals to your team or reflects your company values, get out of the office, and do some good for your community and your team. 8. Salt and Pepper  For: Communication Skills What you'll need: Tape, a pen, a small piece of paper for each employee, and a list of well-known pairs (think peanut butter and jelly, Mario and Luigi, or salt and pepper).  Instructions: Write one half of each pair on the sheets of paper (Mario on one piece, Luigi on another, and so on). Tape one sheet of paper to each person's back, then have everyone mingle and try to figure out the word on their back. The rule: they can only ask each other yes or no questions. Once they figure out their word, they need to find the other half of their pair. When they find each other, have them sit down and find three things they have in common while the rest of the team continues.  9. Masterpiece Murals  For: Team Bonding & Icebreakers What you'll need: Pre-drawn canvases, paints and brushes, a drop cloth or tarp Instructions: Give each member of your team a canvas and brush, and let everyone create a colorful masterpiece on their canvas. Once they're dry, they can be put together and displayed in your office as a mural or placed throughout your workspace. 10. Afternoon at the Races  For: Collaboration Exercise What you'll need: One pinewood derby car kit for each team, chalk for start and finish lines Instructions: Have teams build and race their own mini pinewood cars. If you want, go all out and let teams create mascots and themes, and host a mini-tail gate with snacks and music.  11. Toxic Waste  For: Creative Problem Solving & Collaboration Exercise What you'll need: 1 small and 1 large bucket, 1 rope, 1 bungee cord loop, 8 bungee cords, 8 plastic balls or tennis balls Instructions: Use the rope to make an 8-foot circle on the ground that represents a toxic waste radiation zone. (You can make the radiation zone bigger to increase the difficulty.) Put the balls in the bucket and place the bucket in the center of the circle to represent the toxic waste. Place the large bucket about 30 feet away. Teams must use the bungee cords to find a way to transfer the toxic waste balls from the small bucket to the large bucket within a certain amount of time (15-20 minutes). Anyone who crosses the line into the radiation zone will be "injured" (you can blindfold them or make them hold one hand behind their back) or "die" (must sit out for the rest of the game). Dropping toxic waste balls will similarly result in injury, and spilling the entire bucket means everyone on the team is dead.  Solution for referees: Attach the bungee cords to the bungee loop, then have everyone hold and pull on the cords to stretch the loop and guide it over and down around the toxic waste bucket. Loosen the cords to contract the bungee loop so that it grips the bucket. Use the cords to lift the bucket and tip the balls into the large "neutralization" bucket.  12. Company Coat of Arms For: Team Bonding What you'll need: Paper, pens, markers Instructions: Have teams create your company coat of arms. In the first space, draw something that represents a recent achievement. In the second space, draw something that reflects your company values. In the third space, draw something that represents where you see the company going in the future. Post the finished coat of arms in your office.  13. Campfire/Memory Wall For: Team Bonding & Icebreakers What you'll need: Post-It notes or a whiteboard Instructions: Write a few general work-related topics on the whiteboard or on sticky notes posted to the wall: “My first day,” “Teamwork,” “Work travel,” etc. Gather your team together and have everyone choose one of the topics and share a story from their time with your company to laugh and bond over shared experiences. You can also pass out sticky notes and have everyone write down positive memories of working together or special team accomplishments. They can use words or pictures to record these memories. Then have everyone share their memory and post it on the wall, forming a positive memory cloud.  14. Frostbite  For: Creative Problem Solving & Collaboration Exercise What you'll need: 1 packet of construction materials (like card stock, toothpicks, rubber bands, and sticky notes) for each team, an electric fan Instructions: Your teams of 4-5 are no longer sitting in your office — they're Arctic explorers trekking across the frozen tundra! Have each team elect a leader to guide their expedition. When a sudden storm hits, the team must erect an emergency shelter to survive. However, both of the team leader's hands have frostbite, so s/he can't physically help construct the shelter, and the rest of the team has snow blindness and is unable to see. Give each team a set of construction materials and start the timer. When time runs out, turn on the electric fan's arctic winds and see who successfully built a shelter that will keep them safe. Adjust the difficulty with sturdier construction materials (provide popsicle sticks instead of toothpicks, etc.), change the fan's settings, or have the fan running while the team constructs their shelters.  15. Minefield  For: Creative Problem Solving & Collaboration Exercise What you'll need: An empty room or hallway, and a collection of common office items Instructions: Use boxes, office chairs, water bottles, etc., to create an obstacle course of "mines" within your empty space. Divide the group into pairs, where one partner is blindfolded. The other must guide that person from one end of the course to another without setting off any mines. The person guiding their partner cannot enter the course and must only use verbal instructions to get their partner through. Depending on the number of people you have and how difficult you want this activity to be, you can vary the number of pairs trying to complete the course at the same time so that pairs have to work harder to listen to each other and communicate clearly.  16. Egg Drop  For: Creative Problem Solving & Collaboration Exercise What you'll need: A carton of eggs; basic construction materials like newspapers, straws, tape, plastic wrap, balloons, rubber bands, popsicle sticks, etc.; tarp or drop cloth, parking lot, or some other place you don't mind getting messy! Instructions: Divide the group into teams and give each one 20-30 minutes to construct a carrier that will keep an egg safe from a two-story drop (or however high you choose). If you end up with a tie, gradually increase the height of the drop until you're left with a winner.  17. Scavenger Hunt  For: Collaboration Skills & Team Bonding What you’ll need: Pen and paper Instructions: A classic team bonding game that we did ourselves! Split everyone into groups and make a list of fun things to find or do outside your office. Make it each team's mission to find and photograph everything on that list within a certain time limit. The first team to complete each item on the list wins!  18. Plane Crash  For: Creative Problem Solving & Collaboration Skills What you'll need: 20-30 minutes Instructions: Imagine this: the plane carrying your team has crashed on a desert island. Have your group work with 12 items from around the office that they think would be most useful in their survival, ranking each item in order of importance. Alternatively, have individuals make their selections first and then have the group discuss and come to a consensus. This game focuses on communication and negotiation skill-building. 19. Spider Web  For: Creative Problem Solving & Collaboration Exercise What You'll Need: String and tape Instructions: Tape two pieces of string across a doorway, one at about three-and-a-half feet and the other around five feet. This string is the poisonous spider web. Teams must get all their members through the opening between the strings without touching them. Increase the difficulty by taping more pieces of string across the doorway. 20. Paper Plane Contest  For: Collaboration Exercise What you'll need: A long hallway, tape to mark the launch line, measuring stick, card stock Instructions: This game can be played either indoors or outdoors. Each team gets a piece of card stock to construct a paper plane. Show them a variety of airplane designs and let them work together to construct one they think will fly the farthest. Add to the fun by decorating the planes before launch. The team whose plane flies farthest wins all the glory! 21. Dare Jenga For: Team Bonding & Ice Breaking What you'll need: A Jenga set (preferably with large blocks) Instructions: This one is a fun team-building icebreaker for work that will get your team to test their limits. Write a dare on the surface of each block. Make them fun dares around the office, such as: doing 15 pushups, singing "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" out loud, or wearing the oversized sombrero for the rest of the workday (yes, we have an office sombrero). When all the blocks have dares on them, stack them up like in Jenga. When people pull a block out, they have to perform the dare that's written on it. 22. Crystal Challenge For: Team bonding, problem solving, and communication What you'll need: A set of physical or mental challenges, timer, small "crystals" or tokens as rewards Instructions: Divide your team into smaller groups and create physical or mental challenges that require teamwork, problem-solving, and communication. Assign a time limit and award "crystals" or tokens to groups that successfully complete the tasks. Encourage friendly competition and celebrate the successes of each team. 23. Human Knot For: Team bonding, communication, and cooperation What you'll need: A group of 8-16 people, open space Instructions: The team should stand in a circle, shoulder-to-shoulder, and each person grabs the hand of another team member with their other hand. The goal is to untangle themselves without letting go of each other's hands, forming single or multiple smaller circles. This activity requires effective communication, cooperation, and problem-solving to succeed. 24. Football (Soccer) Tournament For: Team bonding, physical activity, and friendly competition What you'll need: A football (soccer ball), open space or a field, goal markers Instructions: Organize a round-robin or knockout-style tournament to encourage friendly competition and teamwork. Focus on having fun and building relationships, not just winning.   Try Wrike for free Team-building activities for remote teams Team-building activities are not just for staff in the office. Whether your team is fully remote or operates a hybrid model, involving everyone in team-building activities is crucial for building team morale. Check out these virtual team-building games that can be played by staff working remotely, so you can try them out wherever you're based.  1. Whose Office Is It, Anyway?  For: Team Bonding & Icebreakers What you'll need: Internet connection, file sharing tool Instructions: Have your team members send a photo of their home offices, and then have everyone guess whose workspace is whose. Keep the game going with photos of everyone's coffee mugs, desktop backgrounds, or the view outside their window.  2. Conference Call Trivia  For: Team Bonding & Icebreakers What you'll need: Internet connection Instructions: Divide into teams and play trivia. You can find good trivia questions and answers online or pull out some Trivial Pursuit cards. It's a great way to learn about people's non-work interests and personalities. 3. Online Multiplayer Games For: Creative Problem Solving & Collaboration Exercise What you'll need: Internet connection Instructions: Pick a game that will let your team work together to strategize and problem-solve, like Travian, or browse the many free and paid co-op games on Steam. Use your computer's built-in microphone and speakers to chat, or use headsets.  4. Charades or Catchphrase via Video Hangout or Skype For: Collaboration Exercise & Team Bonding What you'll need: Internet connection, video chat app Instructions: Divide your group into two teams, and play classic party games like Charades or Catchphrase via video call. You can send everyone the link to an online Charades or Catchphrase ideas generator that will provide word prompts for you.  5. Online Karaoke Party For: Team Bonding & Icebreakers What you'll need: Internet connection Instructions: Let loose with an online karaoke party! Use your computers' built-in microphones and speakers to challenge teammates to a karaoke battle, compare high scores, or just have fun showing off your singing skills.  6. Virtual Scavenger Hunt For: Team Bonding & Collaboration  What you'll need: Internet connection, video conferencing app Instructions: Make a list of items that team members have to find in their homes or on the internet and set a time limit. There are some great online scavenger hunt generators or you can create your own list. Make sure the items are varied and challenging enough to require a little bit of a search.  In order to account for each individual potentially missing an item or two in their list, you can set a time limit to see who finds the most items, or you can declare a winner once someone finds a certain number of items from the list. 7. Virtual Escape Room For: Creative Problem Solving & Collaboration  What you'll need: Internet connection, virtual escape room platform Instructions: Engage your team in a virtual escape room challenge, where the team will have to work together to solve puzzles and riddles to escape the virtual room.  There are tons of different virtual escape room platforms available online, such as Escapely, which offer different themes and difficulty levels. This activity is great for promoting creative problem solving and teamwork. Since there are so many options, you should be able to keep virtual escape rooms in your team-building activity roster without it feeling too repetitive. 8. Virtual Coffee or Lunch Break For: Team Bonding & Socialization What you'll need: Internet connection, video conferencing app Instructions: Set up a virtual coffee or lunch break where team members can connect and chat about non-work-related topics. This activity is a great way to promote socialization and build relationships among team members.  You can even organize a virtual potluck where everyone shares a favorite recipe and enjoys their meals together. Do note, however, that this may be more difficult to implement across global teams than with those on similar time zones. 9. Remote Book Club For: Team Bonding & Personal Development What you'll need: Internet connection, e-book or physical books, video conferencing app Instructions: Choose a book that everyone on the team can read and discuss it during virtual meetings. This will encourage more introverted team members to participate, as they can connect with others on a shared interest rather than engaging in mindless small talk. While remote book clubs are best for small groups, they can also work with well-organized larger groups. Remote book clubs are particularly beneficial when you nurture the individual skills and preferences of each team member. Consider assigning roles, such as discussion leader or note-taker, to different team members for each meeting to foster a better sense of collaboration. 10. Mindfulness and Wellness Challenge For: Team Bonding & Health and Wellness What you'll need: Internet connection, mindfulness app Instructions: Mindfulness and wellness challenges are a novel way to reduce work stress. Team members can participate in daily activities aimed at promoting mental and physical wellness. These activities include guided meditations, yoga, gratitude journaling, or even taking breaks throughout the workday to stretch or go for a walk.  You can also encourage team members to lead certain activities in areas where they have knowledge or a particular interest. Set daily or weekly goals and milestones for the challenge and offer rewards for participation. 11. Virtual Movie Night For: Team bonding and relaxation What you'll need: Internet connection, video streaming platform, group chat app Instructions:  Choose a movie or documentary relevant to your team's interests and industry. Schedule a virtual movie night with a group chat app to share thoughts and reactions. Host a follow-up discussion to discuss the movie and its themes. 12. Online Custom Puzzle For: Team bonding and problem solving What you'll need: Internet connection, custom online jigsaw puzzle maker, video conferencing platform Instructions: Create a custom online jigsaw puzzle using a team photo or image relevant to the team's work and share the link with team members to collaborate in real time. 13. Virtual Coffee Breaks For: relationship building and casual conversation What you'll need: Internet connection, video conferencing platform Instructions: Schedule regular virtual coffee breaks to encourage team members to discuss non-work topics, share hobbies, or discuss their favorite books, movies, or TV shows. 14. Remote Team Vision Board For: Team bonding and goal setting What you'll need: Internet connection, shared digital whiteboard or cloud storage Instructions: Team members should create and share images, quotes, and symbols to represent their goals or collective objectives. The goals should be shown on a shared digital whiteboard or cloud storage folder and discussed in a virtual meeting to align them with the team's vision. 15. Online Storytelling For: Team bonding and creativity What you'll need: Internet connection, video conferencing platform, shared document Instructions: Start a story with one sentence and have each team member contribute one sentence at a time. Share the completed story during a virtual meeting to discuss the team's creative process and how the story evolved.  Try Wrike for free Team-building activities for hybrid teams Team building activities for hybrid teams should be inclusive, engaging, and accessible to both remote and in-person team members. Here are ten team-building activities that can help bridge the gap between remote and on-site employees and foster strong working relationships: 1. Hybrid Idea Jam For: Creativity and problem solving What you'll need: Internet connection, video conferencing platform, shared digital whiteboard Instructions: Team members divide into smaller groups and collaborate on ideas and solutions, using a shared digital whiteboard. After a set time, each group presents their ideas to the whole team, with the best ideas being voted on or combined. 2. Picture Scavenger Hunt For: Team bonding and fun What you'll need: Internet connection, video conferencing platform, messaging app Instructions: Divide the team into pairs or small groups and create a list of picture prompts. Teams work together to find or recreate each prompt and share their pictures in the messaging app. The first team to complete the list wins. 3. Hybrid Pictionary For: Team bonding and icebreakers What you'll need: Internet connection, video conferencing platform, shared digital whiteboard Instructions: Divide your team into two groups and have one member draw on the shared digital whiteboard while the rest guess the word or phrase being drawn. Keep score and the group with the most points wins. 4. Hybrid Office Olympics For: Team bonding and friendly competition What you'll need: Internet connection, video conferencing platform, list of challenges Instructions: Organize a series of challenges that can be completed both in-person and remotely. Participants can compete individually or in teams, with scores recorded on a shared leaderboard. Celebrate the winners with a virtual or hybrid awards ceremony. 5. World tour presentations For: Cultural awareness and team bonding What you'll need: Internet connection, video conferencing platform, presentation software Instructions: Assign each team member a country and research it, creating a short presentation highlighting facts, customs, and landmarks. Schedule a virtual meeting to share presentations and learn about different cultures. 6. Hybrid Charades For: Team bonding and icebreakers What you'll need: Internet connection, video conferencing platform, list of charades prompts Instructions: Divide the team into two groups and have one member act out a word or phrase on camera while the rest guess what they're acting out. Keep score and the group with the most points wins. 7. Remote and In-Person Cooking Challenge For: Team bonding and creativity What you'll need: Internet connection, video conferencing platform, shared ingredient list Instructions: Choose a theme or specific dish and divide the team into smaller groups. Each group has a set time to create their dish and can share their creations and recipes through pictures, videos, or live demonstrations. 8. Strengths and Skills Swap For: Skill sharing and professional development What you'll need: Internet connection, video conferencing platform, shared document or spreadsheet Instructions: Team members should list their top three strengths or skills, pair or group them based on complementary skills or areas of interest, and schedule virtual meetings to share expertise and learn from one another. This ensures a mix of remote and in-person participants. 9. Virtual Time Capsule For: Team bonding and reflection What you'll need: Internet connection, video conferencing platform, cloud storage, or shared drive Instructions: As a team, decide on a theme for their virtual time capsule and each team member contributes an item related to the theme. Collect all items in a cloud storage folder or shared drive and schedule a virtual meeting to discuss and reflect on the contributions. Set a date to "reopen" the time capsule and see how the team has evolved. Try Wrike for free How Wrike can bring the collaborative spirit to your team Team-building activities are a great way to build morale and team spirit in your organization. But for this to carry over into your everyday work, you need to ensure your employees have the tools they need to collaborate seamlessly. Wrike's versatile collaboration software allows teams to work as one, fostering an environment of accountability, productivity, and growth for every person, regardless of where they're based. Features like collaborative workspaces, custom-field request forms, customized workflows, real-time updates and approvals, and powerful reporting tools all help teams to do the best work of their lives from anywhere. Try it now with a free two-week trial.  Try Wrike for free Additional team-building resources for work The Escape Game — Offers a wide range of adventures for your team to explore outside the office Gamestorming blog — Browse a collection of group brainstorming activities Gamestorming facilitator resources UC Berkeley HR Team Building Kit — Tips for people planning and facilitating team building activities, lists of activities, and additional resources, including recommended books and online resources Ohio State University Team Building Resources — Recommended games and icebreakers GoSkills Employee Engagement Ideas — 11 of the best employee engagement ideas for building a strong corporate culture Sources: RoomEscapeAdventures.com Escapely.com TeachThought.com InsiderMonkey.com RefreshLeadership.com Wilderdom.com LeadershipCenter.osu.edu Gamestorming.com Vorkspace.com InnovativeTeamBuilding.co.uk Pridestaff.com Teampedia.net KaraokeParty.com

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