Virtual Cooperation


coop 2

With the technological tools available, many of us begin to understand that escaping the 9-5 routine might be a healthier way of working and living. An office setting includes various modes of friction and limitations. How can we find fluency without losing productivity? Cooperating beyond physical restrictions has lots of advantages and few disadvantages.

Below we have three lists to consider.

Some of the office friction that can be avoided in a virtual setting:

  • small talk and trivial news
  • controlling: project related work is voluntary and self-motivated, no police necessary
  • individual rhythms can be followed: who is efficient when and how is decided by each participant
  • meetings can be scheduled around necessity and fun, cutting away self-importance or hierarchial self - promotion
  • cheating: there is a feeling of accountability that we perceive when voluntarily working with others that we often don't apply in an office setting
  • intrinsic motivation gets multiplied because it is contagious

The virtual 'office' we describe here has a string of advantages. One can feel the intimacy of direct cooperation without feeling distracted or controlled. Fluency comes with flexibility.

I Sometimes Try To Imagine What Would Have Happened If We'd Known The Bonobo First And The Chimpanzee Only Later - Or Not At All. The Discussion About Human Evolution Might Not Revolve As Much Around Violence, Warfare And Male Dominance But Rather Around Sexuality, Empathy, Caring And Cooperation. What A Different Intellectual Landscape We Would Occupy!

Frans de Waal

There are many ways of voluntary personal communication:

  • skype
  • email
  • social networks (facebook, twitter etc)
  • apps (new ones coming in quicker than one can count them)
  • 30 Day Groove
  • sending each other works in progress
  • mutual motivation
  • spontaneous interactions
  • having quick celebrations
  • playing ideas to each other
  • joint awareness, developing and cultivating anti-distraction strategies
  • tell each other jokes

Once we decided to follow the path of virtual collaboration we may want to

  • find at least one or more co-operators who want to work on individually different tasks of a project
  • find an actual time frame together (even if on different continents)
  • use a communication method for any direct exchange (like skype etc)
  • remember: this is not a chat opportunity, its about working on our task (schedule extra times for the chat)
  • start working at the task at hand, knowing that elsewhere co-operators do exactly the same
  • enjoy and tell the others about your progress

The only travels you really have to make are if you actually want to drink a cup of coffee together and embrace, smell, feel, listen to one another in person. We all need something to look forward to, don't we?


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