Connected team working
Tools and tips for working in a team
At FAU, no-one works alone. We all have an active part to play in our departments, units, working or research groups and deal with various colleagues on a daily basis. Team work is, however, always a communicative and organizational challenge, no matter whether we all work together in one office, split over several buildings or even from home. There are also tools and equipment that can help when it comes to working with colleagues, making it easier for you to coordinate and organize your tasks.
Even if instant messages and e-mails give the impression of being quick and easy: sometimes the best way to clarify something is still to contact colleagues directly. Regular phone calls with colleagues help and can save you e-mailing back and forward with each other. Sometimes, it is best just to pick up the phone or arrange a video call to clarify anything you are unsure about before writing each other innumerable e-mails.
Staff phone numbers are listed in UnivIS. If people are still working from home as a result of the pandemic, it is worthwhile sending a brief e-mail asking your colleague to phone you back or arrange an appointment for a video call.
E-mails are often sent to several people at once because the information is relevant to all of them, or because it has not yet been clarified which colleague is responsible. A shared mailbox and a shared e-mail address could be the perfect solution for cases such as this. Each team member can access the mailbox and read all e-mails. Conversely, the sender can be sure that all the relevant recipients have the option of reading the e-mail and none of them are forgotten.
The postmasters at Erlangen Regional Computing Center can help you to set up a shared mailbox.
If your team receives a lot of queries, it can make sense to introduce a ticket system. This allows you to coordinate requests within your team. Each request, for example a complaint or a question, that is submitted by e-mail or via a web form is registered as a ticket. The tickets can be bundled according to topic and allocated to a specific employee.
The Erlangen Regional Computer Center offers a ticket system, at a charge. This can be used, for example, to define standard replies.
Ever since the coronavirus pandemic, video conferences have become the norm for many FAU employees. That apart, there are some situations where a video conference can make more sense or be more practical than organizing a meeting in person, for example if some of the participants live further away.
At FAU, you can choose between several tools: DFNConf, Jitsi, Zoom and Teams. The Erlangen Regional Computing Center has published a decision-making tool describing how to choose the right tool for you. Valuable tips for making sure your virtual meetings run as smoothly as possible are available in a article published by the Erlangen Regional Computing Center.
FAUbox facilitates the straightforward exchange of files across different departments or groups. FAUbox acts in principle like Dropbox: you can create joint folders or create a link to share folders and files. It is available both online and as a desktop application.
You can register free of charge using your IdM.
MOVE@FAU stands for the major digitalization project for University Administration at FAU. Its aim is to improve collaboration between the departments and in the departments.
MS Teams provides FAU employees with a comprehensive collaboration tool. You can use Teams to send instant messages, share files, assign tasks, start video conferences, create shared notebooks and draw up Wikis. This works both for permanent teams and for temporary working groups. All FAU employees can use MS Teams free of charge.
The Erlangen Regional Computing Center has also set up brief instructions with useful links.