What are the benefits of using an online whiteboard?
If you work in a team – and let’s face it, we all do at some point, even if it’s just trying to get things done in a meeting – you might be wondering how an online whiteboard could offer any tangible benefits. Beyond the obvious one of it being a board you can write on, of course! However, virtual whiteboards can enhance your teamwork in many ways. They can help increase efficiency, engagement, participation, creativity – the list goes on!
We’ll take a look here at how an online whiteboard can be a must-have virtual tool with many applications and uses. And how it can benefit you and your team. Read on for our insights.
How does an online whiteboard help teams become more efficient?
Firstly, a virtual whiteboard can serve as a centralized hub for all the information your team might need for a project. Unlike traditional whiteboards, online ones are not limited in size or scope, project timelines, tasks, and deadlines. This makes it easier for team members to ensure they are, and stay, on the same page. It gives them an immediate access to the most up-to-date information.
Managing work and collaborating with other team members
Have you ever searched numerous file folders and trawled through various versions of a document to find out which one you actually need? And then discovered that you don’t even have the most up to date one because your colleague had changed something and forgotten to send it on? Luckily, virtual whiteboards can be used to manage documents and files.
Working together in real time can save time and effort. You can avoid numerous versions of documents being relayed back and forth. You might need someone to action a task or make a change before sending it on to the next person to do their bit. Maybe your timelines change, and this changes something else too. If you can work in real time together and collaborate effectively, this is invaluable.
Hybrid work in a collaborative way
Not all teams can work in one room together, particularly after the Covid-19 pandemic. We now have many people choosing to work remotely, or maybe they work on a hybrid basis and are not always in the office. Maybe they are not even in the same time zone. Using an online whiteboard creates a level playing field: it doesn’t matter where anyone is based, everyone can work together on the same project.
The use of visual aids can make things quicker and easier for team members to understand. An online whiteboard can be used with visual aids, which can make complex workflows or production lines, for example, easier to visualize. With drawing tools, diagrams, charts, virtual sticky notes, and the option to import templates, images, and even videos, teams can communicate and assimilate information much more efficiently.
How can virtual whiteboards help improve performance?
Using an online whiteboard can be a valuable tool for improving performance, both personally and professionally. For example, you could create a visual representation of your goals, whether it is for your team and the project they are working on, or for you as an individual. This can help team members stay motivated, focused, and accountable for their contributions to a project, and individuals more likely to produce what they need to in a timely manner. Virtual whiteboards can be used for time management to help prioritize work and ensure deadlines will be met.
Using virtual whiteboards for the design thinking process
Virtual whiteboards are an integral part of the design thinking process. They can be used in each of its 5 steps (empathize, define, ideate, prototype, and test) used to create new and innovative products and services.
Brainstorming with teams
For example, brainstorming is a key element of the design thinking process. You are likely to get far better results from using the right brainstorming template and a virtual whiteboard than a traditional or interactive whiteboard. You can add visual aids if that would be helpful, and everyone can contribute regardless of their role or where they are based. The more creative and collaborative team members can be, the more innovative and useful the ideas that come out of the session are likely to be, too.
Step-by-step project management
Teams that can plan and organize their work well are likely to perform better in the long run. Whether you need to plan around different projects, within a project, or just to stay organized on an individual level, your whiteboard will give you many ways in which you and your team can stay on top of what is going on.
Training and development goals
Whiteboards are often used in educational settings and for training and development at work. Virtual whiteboards make it easy to create training materials and engaging content. Investing in continuous professional development will pay dividends for organizations: it should improve performance as well as creating more engaged employees.
How can online whiteboards be used to increase engagement?
Meetings and workshops are an essential part of daily work life, but how often have you sat through a boring one and wondered how you’ll stay awake? Dull and unengaging meetings can lead to minimal participation and decreased productivity. Using an online whiteboard can help you combat this.
Better engagement, better outcomes
Interactive presentations will help keep participants more engaged and interested than someone talking for hours on end. You can add multimedia elements such as videos, images, and audio to make them more visually appealing and dynamic. You can also use your online whiteboard to allow real time collaboration, for example with group tasks or an exercise designed to demonstrate something you have been discussing in a workshop.
Participants can contribute with their ideas and feedback, and you can allow everyone to see the results in real-time if applicable. This can help to promote teamwork and foster a sense of shared ownership of the meeting's outcome, again making people feel more engaged.
Visual communication can be used to get complex ideas across in a way that can make them easier to understand. There’s nothing worse than not being able to visualize something that someone is trying to explain. It’s easy to lose your audience if they get frustrated and tune out. An online whiteboard will give you the tools to provide information in a way that team members can easily understand, leading to greater engagement.
Engaging activities can then easily be included in team meetings and workshops to help promote participation and interaction. For example, you can use a whiteboard to create quizzes, games, or polls that encourage active participation. Icebreakers can be useful for ensuring that people get to know each other in relaxed way. They are then more likely to want to engage and interact and share their ideas and insights.
Managing teams with an online whiteboard
An online whiteboard can be an effective tool for managing teams, especially if you have remote or hybrid workers.
Task management can be made much more efficient. You can use a visual whiteboard to assign tasks, track progress, and update deadlines, and so on. Workflows and processes can be managed and streamlined and the whole team can see them.
Teams that collaborate well get results
Collaboration tools can help teams work better together. Teams can share ideas, brainstorm solutions, and work together to achieve common goals. This can help improve the sense of team and make them into a tighter unit that is both more effective and easier to manage.
Effective project planning is a vital element of a team’s success and an online whiteboard can help to plan and manage projects. Using a virtual whiteboard to create project timelines, allocate resources, and track progress can help manage the team process better.
Teams that have individual and shared goals and members who are accountable to others are more likely to be successful. An online whiteboard can be used to set and track these goals, helping with motivation and creating a sense of purpose and direction. It can also track performance goals.
How virtual whiteboards can help visualize and prioritize tasks and projects
The visual nature of online whiteboards means they are useful for visualizing tasks and projects. This makes it easier to categorize and prioritize tasks based on their urgency and importance. With collaboration and input from various team members, you can get new perspectives and ensure tasks are given the right weight when being assessed for priority. A priority matrix template will help with this. Time management is also key: setting deadlines for tasks and projects and tracking progress can ensure they will be completed on time.
The Toyota Production System (TPS) is a visual management system that communicates information visually, and helps reducing waste and work on continuous improvement. By using an online whiteboard to look at the tasks you have and prioritizing them to the greatest effect you can become more efficient.
Visual management and continuous improvement
The concept of continuous improvement is at the heart of the Toyota Production System. An online whiteboard is a valuable tool for promoting this. By creating a virtual space to track the progress of processes and improvement initiatives, you can monitor progress and identify issues before they escalate. You can then adjust your approach as needed. And online whiteboards can be used to easily collaborate on improvement initiatives with team members or others.
You can import data into an online whiteboard and use it to create charts, graphs, and other visual aids to illustrate your progress. You can also map out the underlying causes of problems or issues with the aim of identifying areas for improvement and developing solutions. There are various methodologies for continuous improvement and you can use specially designed templates to help you with this, including ones based on the principles of Kanban and Lean Six Sigma.
You can also use virtual whiteboards to develop action plans for improvement initiatives and continuous learning opportunities.
Collecting feedback and making strategic analyses with a virtual whiteboard
There are various ways in which you can use an online whiteboard to collect feedback and then analyse the data to make strategic decisions. Whether it’s through brainstorming or asking for feedback on specific projects or initiatives via a whiteboard, team members can ensure that feedback is timely, specific, and actionable.
Visual feedback is also an option with online whiteboards and can be useful for specific designs or concepts. It works whether people are together or based remotely, ensuring it is inclusive and comprehensive.
When you have collected your data, you can analyse it in various ways, and one of the benefits of an online whiteboard is that it supports both traditional and more creative methods. Whether you are looking at applying a SWOT analysis or any of the established matrices that can help you with your strategic analysis, there is a template for you.
Visual mapping can help you organize your thoughts, ideas, and data to get a better overview and identify patterns and connections that may not have been obvious before. Data visualization allows you to create charts, graphs, and other tools to help analyse and communicate your findings.
Using an online whiteboard with your teams
There are so many benefits to using a virtual whiteboard and here at Klaxoon we have the tools and templates you need to help your teams become more efficient and effective. Online whiteboards help drive creativity and innovation, as well as increasing engagement and productivity.
The visual management tools that are available are useful for all teams and help promote teamwork and more effective collaboration, regardless of the sector, industry, or business requirement. Why not check out our resources page to see how our tools and templates can help your business work better?