When and why can you use an online whiteboard?
If you have never used an online whiteboard in your work, you’re missing out! Maybe you thought they were just for training and development, or more suited to certain domains. However, there are so many applications for them and so many fields in which they become indispensable, so it would be a shame for teams to miss out on the opportunities and possibilities virtual whiteboards offer.
We’ll take a look at some examples of when and why teams could use an online whiteboard to increase effectiveness, efficiency, and engagement. After all, digital whiteboards are a tool that can bring many benefits, so if you’re not using one in your business or workspace, maybe it’s just because you’re not sure how it would be useful, or when you could use one.
What can you do with a virtual whiteboard?
An online whiteboard can aid collaboration, creativity, and innovation and help teams work better together. Here are some of the things an online whiteboard can help you improve.
Working with others is made easier with a digital whiteboard. Whether teams are based remotely or share the same workspace, an online whiteboard makes collaboration easier. Your teams can share screens and make real-time updates to a whiteboard, so everyone can see and contribute to the same document. This helps reduce the number of versions that often fly backwards and forward via email and get lost in people’s inboxes.
Brainstorming and ideation
Just as traditional whiteboards are used for brainstorming sessions and to help generate new ideas, online whiteboards can be too. However, virtual whiteboards have additional functionality. Not only can everyone access and add to it at the same time, you can also add multimedia elements like images, videos, and links. Virtual whiteboards can also be saved and shared, and older versions can be accessed if necessary.
Using a digital whiteboard as a visual aid during presentations gives you the opportunity to share information with your audience in a more engaging and dynamic way.
Not everyone learns in the same way, and we assimilate visuals 60,000 times faster than text. Online whiteboards are a powerful visual management tool, and therefore are a great way to communicate information quickly and easily.
A shared whiteboard can help when you are planning and organizing projects, keeping everything in one place. Everyone knows what they need to do, when they need to do it, and how it all ties in with the project as a whole.
Learning and development
Traditionally used in educational settings, online whiteboards offer so many more possibilities than the traditional ones that many may still remember from their school days. Training facilitators and teachers can use them to create interactive, engaging learning with visual aids.
What sectors are online whiteboards useful in?
We would argue that virtual whiteboards are useful in all team settings, but here we’ll look at some of the main sectors in which they can be of particular benefit.
Using virtual whiteboards in manufacturing and industry
Factories can use online whiteboards to manage production processes, amongst other things, and they are becoming an essential tool for improving communication and productivity. Manufacturers need optimum productivity, and virtual whiteboards can assist greatly with this.
They can be used for production and maintenance planning, giving factory managers a visual overview of processes to more easily identify bottlenecks and problems, and see production and maintenance schedules and timelines. You can use an online whiteboard to create visual aids such as checklists and inspection logs, so workers can see if products are meeting quality standards in real time. The renowned Toyota Production System (TPS), for example, uses visual management to help reduce waste and focus on continuous improvement.
In factories, communication and collaboration can be challenging, whether it’s because of noise, working conditions, or teams spread in different workspaces. You need something to cut through the noise and these differences in workspaces. Online whiteboards can display information that is more easily communicated visually than via email, or in person, for example. This can help improve relations between management and workers. Visual whiteboards can help teams efficiently share project updates, assign tasks, track progress, contact suppliers, and so on.
Training and onboarding can also be a complicated process in manufacturing and industry. Virtual whiteboards can be used to create visual aids such as flowcharts and diagrams that explain complex production processes. New employees can also be added to team whiteboards, enabling them to collaborate with their team members and get to know their colleagues and work processes more quickly and easily.
Managers can use online whiteboards to track performance metrics and identify areas for improvement. Continuous improvement is more valuable than assessing a project or business area every now and then and seeking out weaknesses and ways to improve.
How virtual whiteboards can be used for training and development
Whiteboards have become an essential tool for training and development, with lots of educational establishments using them these days. Online whiteboards are a cost-effective and efficient way for teachers to create, share, and collaborate. Learners, whether in full or part-time education, or undertaking any type of professional training, can use virtual whiteboards in various ways.
Trainers and course facilitators can create programmes using visual aids and different media to illustrate complex concepts. Information and resources can be shared to facilitate discussions and feedback can be given and received in real time. Sessions can be recorded and distributed to those who are not able to attend.
Increase engagement in training
Learners can collaborate and work in teams or benefit from the visual and multimedia aspects of using online whiteboards. This can enhance the learning experience and improve the retention of information. We’ve all had teachers who have been dull and boring. It’s hard to focus and pay full attention if you are not engaged or invested in what you are learning. Greater engagement leads to better learning outcomes.
McKinsey found in a report about the so-called Great Attrition, where employees are leaving their jobs following the Covid-19 pandemic, that ‘lack of career development and advancement’ was cited as the top reason for quitting a job in the year April 2021-April 2022. Offering relevant and valuable learning opportunities at work is one of the best ways to retain and attract talent.
Online whiteboards can be used for assessment and evaluation, through gamified sessions and quizzes, as well as for teaching. It’s easy to create polls or surveys, for example, which can be used for assessments, and that can also track the progress of learners or evaluate a programme’s success.
This can all be applied to the day-to-day working environment of companies and for internal training and education in particular. Say, for example, you have a new product or service you want to introduce to the workforce or sales team: you could send emails or notify your teams’ in their workspaces, but the information will not necessarily be easy for them to find, comprehend or refer to. However, you’ll find that an online whiteboard is an easily accessible space for the team to reach the information they need.
Online whiteboards are a useful tool for retailers
You might not think a virtual whiteboard would have much offer retail spaces, but they are a useful tool. They can be used to streamline operations, improve teamwork, and enhance customer experience. For example, you can design visual merchandising plans, store layouts, product displays, and marketing campaigns with an online whiteboard. In a similar way to production lines in factories, retailers can use them to manage inventory, whether to keep track of stock levels, place orders, or schedule deliveries.
Virtual whiteboards can be helpful for planning employee shifts and communicating information including sales targets, promotions, and customer feedback. They can also be used for customer feedback surveys and polls as well as to promote customer engagement.
Project management with online whiteboards
Effective project management tools are evermore important with the new ways of working following the pandemic. With so many workers now working remotely or on a hybrid basis, it can be harder to keep track of tasks, timelines, and progress for projects. An online whiteboard ensures that everyone is on the same page. They can help reduce miscommunication and missed deadlines. And all employees can access the same board regardless of where they are.
Virtual whiteboards are a vital part of the design thinking process, which helps teams innovate and come up with creative ideas. Brainstorming sessions can be made even more productive with the help of a visual whiteboard. They help to promote collaboration and teamwork. Whiteboards can be customized to fit the specific needs of any brainstorming session and are also useful for visualizing complex ideas and concepts.
Project updates, sketches, and designs can also be shared with clients, giving them the opportunity to provide suggestions and feedback, helping to ensure that the final product meets the client's expectations. This saves time and money and increases the chances of quickly producing something that meets the client’s expectations. Online whiteboards can also be used to create presentations that are engaging and interactive, whether for team members or clients.
Product and service development
Product and service development is a vital part of business. Without new and innovative ideas and ways to work, businesses run the risk of stagnating. The design thinking process is a popular way in which teams can target solutions and focus on solving problems. It considers the role a product or service ultimately needs to fulfil and takes a five-phase approach to finding answers. An online whiteboard is a powerful tool for all stages of this product and service development method.
The 5 phases of design thinking – empathize, define, ideate, prototype, test – are all made more effective with an online whiteboard. They can be used with various templates to help teams work together more effectively and get the most out of their sessions together. Whether it’s creating customer personas to better understand your users’ needs, goals, and pain points, customer journey mapping to identify issues or areas for improvement, brainstorming ideas, designing prototypes, gathering feedback, or any of the numerous ways you can use a virtual whiteboard, they will become an integral part of effective teamwork.
The day-to-day business uses of a whiteboard
Where should we start? We’ve covered plenty of the ways in which online whiteboards can help your business or organization, regardless of what sector you are in or what aspect of business you are looking at. But virtual whiteboards don’t just have to be reserved for large projects or factory production lines. They are invaluable in your daily working life too. They help improve teamwork and will increase your teams’ efficiency and engagement.
In meetings, you can use them for taking minutes, for example. Use them to explain workflows and concepts. If you need to make a presentation, why not use a visual whiteboard? You can use templates, add multimedia files and annotate and create in real time.
It’s easy to add sticky notes to virtual documents, just like you would to hard copies. Use your online whiteboard to create roadmaps and timelines for who needs to do what and when for your project. You can save previous versions and all the information is in one location for all the team to access.
Virtual whiteboards can be used to create a better sense of team and collaboration. For example, before a workshop or training session it can be difficult for people to relax, especially if they do not know each other very well. This is particularly true now that we have so many teams splintered, either because some or all of its members are working remotely. Or perhaps they have not worked together in person for a long time. Introducing an icebreaker at the start of a session can thus make it more productive.
Using an empowering online whiteboard
Klaxoon’s virtual whiteboard will help your teams manage their work better, drive creativity and innovation, and use visual management tools to greater effect regardless of the sector, industry, or business requirement. Why not check out our resources page to see how our tools can help?