5 steps to make group chat totally efficient

, Product Marketing | December 01, 2016

This is a guest post by Bryn Huntpalmer, Editor-in-Chief at Modernize.

Here at Modernize, our work is helping homeowners improve their spaces by keeping their energy profile at the forefront. But we don’t think energy efficiency has to end at the home’s front door. We take our ethos of conservation with us into everything we do, from helping a homeowner remodel to making our business work more smoothly than ever. And we do it all with the help of group chat in HipChat.

Here are 5 ways we’ve adapted our principles of efficiency to our team’s group chat.

1. Work smarter (not harder) by prioritizing the details

Customize group chat room notification settings from the onset.

Whether it’s your home’s heating or a project with a tight deadline, when you’re overloaded, there are more chances for inefficiencies. Working too hard for too long leads to burnout. Just like we tell homeowners to change air filters, seal ducts, and get units serviced, your team can only work well if all the parts are shored up.

To avoid burnout, we use essential rules of efficiency within our team communication. By prioritizing the “little” details on the onset, we’ve set our team up for better communication and a more productive workflow.

In group chat, these important details are all in the settings. We are heavy users of per-room notification settings that ensure we’re seeing the most important messages first and not getting distracted by noise. This step alone minimizes clutter and allows our team to focus and remain efficient.

Quick Tips: Upon starting group chat, customize your HipChat Settings.

2. Eliminate communication barriers

Create group chat rooms for each project, then archive them.

The number one problem between homeowners and contractors is lack of communication. We’ve all been there—when communication breaks down, things often go haywire fast.

At Modernize, we’re proponents of frequent and open communication. For this, we create HipChat rooms for every project, so everyone knows where to discuss different issues and conversations remain focused.

Chat takes the burden out of keeping the group up to speed. We create rooms for our collaborating teams, like an SEO/Marketing room to get the word out quickly on any spur-of-the-moment adjustments. It’s just like we tell our homeowners: get it in writing.

Once a project is done, we archive the room, setting it aside for when we may need the information but not cluttering our workspace. By setting up an efficient workflow, our whole team works together better and gets work done faster.

Quick Tips: Create group chat rooms for each project, then archive them once the project is over.

3. Keep the energy alive

Add fun elements to group chat to keep the team energized.

At Modernize, we believe that home isn’t just a collection of parts. It’s where you spend your life and make your memories. So we encourage our homeowners to enjoy their remodel by giving them tools like our solar calculator or access to one of our on-demand representatives to make the job as stress-free as possible.

The same goes for our communications in HipChat. Our team creates “fun” group chat rooms to share memes and inside jokes, adding much-needed levity during a hard day. We love the wide range of goofy emoticons that let us express ourselves in creative ways. We’re also huge fans of bots like Giphy Bot that send GIFs into chat rooms.

We’ll even create subgroups for upcoming area events (hello, Austin City Limits!) or interests so that coworkers can meet up outside of work hours using the mobile app.

Quick Tips: Install bots, have fun with emoticons, make your own custom emoticons, and create rooms for fun and interests.

4. Search, find & get to done faster

Use search and right sidebar to find what you need faster.

We’re always looking for ways to streamline our workflow and get jobs done faster, with less legwork in between. Our whole team works together like a home’s energy profile. You can’t just get a new solar energy system and call it a day; you’ve got to make sure that your windows are energy-efficient, your home’s insulation is up to snuff, and your heater isn’t gobbling up all your hard-earned energy before you can use it.

HipChat’s simple interface makes it easy to view shared links, social, and files with the click of a button. We use search to find anything and everything we need within HipChat rooms (whether open or archived). Utilizing search gives us quick access to all of our work on the go, without digging through emails or searching through the cloud.

The right sidebar is another great resource for finding what we need in a pinch. With all the links and files we’ve ever shared in a room stored in the right sidebar, we know how to find what we need efficiently.

Quick Tips: Utilize search and your right sidebar to find any and all files and links shared in a room.

5. Celebrate your victories—big and small

Set up ways to celebrate and encourage teammates.

Every project, no matter how big or small, is really a collection of tiny tasks. While it may seem contradictory, it’s important to pause every once in a while to give yourself a pat on the back. This step helps maintain energy and determination until the end.

We make sure to do the same thing in HipChat, taking time to share successes, congratulate each other, and celebrate wins.

We use HipChat rooms to share links and publicity with the whole team. For instance, when Mashable featured an article we’d written about the Most Instagrammable Sunsets, we took to chat to spread the good news. And when an individual team has a definable victory, they let us know through our company-wide room.

Another great group chat feature—bots! We use Karma Bot to celebrate our teammates. With Karma Bot, we send karma points to teammates, and this neat little bot keeps tally. It’s a simple but fun way to show our teammates appreciation.

Quick Tips: Share links and files that demonstrate great work, install Karma Bot, and mention teammates to call them out in a room.

Whether it’s home improvements or team communication, taking the steps to make processes more efficient is an investment in your future (money back in your pockets and time saved in your day). Learn more about HipChat’s free group chat and home improvements with Modernize.

Bryn Huntpalmer lives in Austin, Texas where she currently works as editor-in-chief of Modernize with the goal of empowering homeowners with the expert guidance and educational tools they need to take on big home projects with confidence.