Wondering if you should buy whiteboards? 10 Unique uses for whiteboards
There is a reason why you will usually see whiteboards in every classroom and board room – they are useful tools with endless possibilities for learning, brainstorming, presentations, and planning. Your whiteboard is a blank slate, and you can use it to have fun, build your business, and teach complex topics.
If you are wondering whether you should buy whiteboards for your home, classroom, or office, you might already have some uses in mind. Maybe you plan to use them for graphs and charts, for team contests, or to project your Powerpoint slides. However, there are plenty of ‘outside the box’ uses that you might not have considered.
Get the most out of your whiteboards by incorporating them into all aspects of your business and learning activities.
Here are ten unique uses for your whiteboard.
1. Use it for a fun team or individual competition
One of the best ways to motivate your staff is to launch a competition. Use your whiteboard to keep track of the results, post motivational quotes, and spell out the competition details and rules.
You can organise the contest as a team challenge, or you can make it an individual skills competition. The challenges can be based on sales figures, efficiency, or customer service compliments – the sky is the limit. Remember – sometimes competition can get out of hand, so it’s a good idea to keep it healthy and friendly!
2. Use your whiteboard to explain complex topics
You’re likely familiar with the image of a mad maths genius scribbling formulas and equations on a chalkboard or whiteboard. After all, this image has been in countless films and televisions programs – just think of Good Will Hunting.
That said, whiteboards are not just useful in a classroom setting, or in a university lecture hall. They are equally at home in a boardroom, office space, artist’s studio, and even in a family home. Friends use them to plan group holidays, families use them for chore boards, and managers use them to explain complex concepts to their team.
Some people need a visual aid in order to truly grasp a concept, and so whiteboards can be the perfect way to help them learn. Drawing and writing on a whiteboard can be a part of a broader strategy that includes online resources and tools in order to enhance the overall learning experience.
3. Whiteboards can be a valuable task management tool
Whiteboards are a brilliant canvas for calendar planning and time management. Not everything has to be high tech and advanced – sometimes the most effective tools are the simplest. A whiteboard can give you an immediate visual overview of everything on your team’s plate.
Divide your whiteboard into three columns titled To Do, Doing, and Done. Arm your team with blank Post-it notes, and empower them to write down their most important tasks and move them around as they are develop. The beauty of a whiteboard is that you can always adapt it to your needs.
4. Plan your software and aid in the development process
Developing any piece is a creative and complex process that takes time and regular brainstorming. Software developers get a lot of use out of whiteboards, using them to sketch architecture, create task lists, plot how to build features, and plan through dependencies.
In addition to planning the features and development of the software, you can also use your whiteboard to plan how to test the software. Planning all possible scenarios and use-cases can be done on a whiteboard, as it is simple to sketch out flowcharts that can act as a base guideline for testing. Doing this as a team with the whiteboard as your focus allows you to get feedback quickly, and saves time in the long run.
5. Plan your business goals and carry out a SWOT
Some people thrive with words, while others need visual accompaniments to make data come alive. Cater to everyone’s needs by planning your business goals on a whiteboard. Using dry erase markers, you can write brief notes and include simple visual aids. If you want more complex notes and images, you can project your computer’s screen onto the whiteboard, or even use magnets to affix printed charts and graphs to its surface.
One of the most common business planning exercises is a SWOT, which stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Divide your board into 4 quadrants, and label each one with one of these words. Have your team brainstorm together in order to identify the strengths (things you already do well), weaknesses (things you need to work on), opportunities (factors you can leverage for your success) and threats (things both within and outside of your control that are threatening your business). You can use this tool to plan your future goals.
6. Project Google Earth on your whiteboard to understand new markets
If your business is thinking about entering a new region or opening a storefront in an unfamiliar neighbourhood, you might find yourself taking many trips. However, travel to your new locale might not be possible on a regular basis, or for your entire team.
That’s where projecting Google Earth on a whiteboard can come in handy. Geography teachers and entrepreneurs alike know the value of Google Earth’s street view function, allowing you to take a virtual stroll through an area. Presenting it on a central whiteboard allows an entire team (or class) to see the same image at the same time, enabling effective brainstorming and visualisation sessions.
7. Planning your content and posting schedule
We all know that creating good content is difficult, and takes a lot of thought and planning. Tweet schedules, Facebook group moderation, blog posts, SnapChat posts, Instagram likes – these all take effort, time, research, and planning. Plotting out your content visually can be a big help. Try the following:
- Write or draw all ideas for a topic on your whiteboard, with no filter – write them all down, no matter how silly or off the cuff.
- Next, go through the ideas and start to erase the ones that won’t work, and connect the rest into groups by rewriting them or connecting with arrows.
- Organise them based on the order you want to write and post them.
- Add context and detail to each topic.
8. Renovation planning and design
Renovation and construction planning might sound simple, and can be quite fun when you are at the ‘Pinterest’ stage. However, when you are getting down to the nitty gritty details it takes a lot of organisation and planning prowess. Use your whiteboard to sketch out ideas, affix photos and inspiration, keep track of contractors, and maintain a running to-do list of everything that needs to be done.
When you get to the construction stage, you can post up the architecture maps and blueprints on the board so that they are visible and accessible in a common area.
9. Create a large shared calendar
A lot of workplaces and teams today operate using Slack, Google Calendar, and other shared calendars. They keep everyone organised and on the same page in the face of looming deadlines. However, if your team prefers a tangible calendar, a dry erase calendar on your office whiteboard is a good solution. Everyone will be made aware of the same deadlines, and the data can be changed easily and clearly.
Use painter’s tape or a permanent marker to create the calendar, and have plenty of different coloured dry erase markers on hand. Deadlines can be written in red, meetings in green, and other milestones in blue. This is a completely customisable idea, so you can make it work for you and your team with just a little effort.
10. Create a Q&A section that everyone can access
Some questions are hard to ask – perhaps the asker is worried that they will look ‘stupid,’ or maybe there isn’t enough time in a packed meeting to cover all of the least pressing concerns. Consider designating one of your whiteboards as a ‘Q & A’ space, where people can write down their questions and others can answer them. You can make this anonymous, or have people write down their names alongside the info. This can turn into a fun learning experience for people at all levels of your organisation.
As you can see, there are plenty of unique uses for your whiteboard. Plan more effectively, collaborate with your team, and get things done! If you have questions about which whiteboards are best for your office, classroom, or home, get in touch. Our Red17 team is on hand to help answer questions you have before you buy whiteboards.