Various Ways Employees Can Collaborate Online
The old cliche “teamwork makes the dream work” is becoming more relevant as digital transformation touches nearly every industry. Business solutions have become more complex and require inputs from multiple team members to solve. The age where one person calls all the shots for the shots has given way to the age of collaborating.
Another major transformation has happened alongside this change: the rise of the universal workspace. COVID-19 forced organizations to leave their offices behind. Remote work became the new normal, bringing new challenges to necessary collaboration. All of a sudden, companies were forced to adopt digital collaboration tools like Slack, Zoom, and Microsoft Teams.
The acceptance of digital collaboration helped stop the bleeding during the pandemic but like any large-scale transition, it’s brought about some challenges, too. Paul Leonardi, professor of Technology Management at UC Santa Barbara, points out a paradox he’s observed with any digital change. “Although it increases the need for collaboration in organizations, it also makes collaborating more difficult.” The digital transformation has made collaborating simultaneously more challenging and more necessary.
Organizations who learn to deal with the tension of this paradox will see their teamwork flourish with increased productivity, improved decision making, simplified communication, and more efficient workflows. But it all starts with digital collaboration.
What is Digital Collaboration?
Digital collaboration is the process of using various technologies or software to unite team members and co-workers as they work together towards a common goal. It focuses on bringing collaboration into the age of technology. Back in the day, team members might talk in the halls of an office or walk by a cubicle. Asking someone “you have a minute?” was commonplace.
Digital collaboration takes the idea of traditional collaboration and expands on it, eliminating the need for collaborators to be physically present with one another. The old-school work environment, while effective in some ways, also has the potential to limit collaboration. Only those in the building get a say. Digital collaboration broadens the network and allows a more diverse group of collaborators to participate, ensuring the whole team accomplishes its goals.
Remote working has made this type of collaboration particularly valuable, and that trend seems to be growing at a steady rate. The modern workspace looks less like a centralized office and more like a collection of individuals doing what they need to do wherever they want to do it. Still, co-workers will always need real-time access to their peers, even if they’re across the country from another. Digital collaboration tools make this possible.
What are Examples of Digital Collaboration?
There are an array of collaboration solutions out in the world. Nearly every modern professional has likely interacted with some sort of digital collaboration throughout their career. Some of these solutions include
– Instant Messaging: This could take place within a customer relationship management system or some sort of communication tool like Slack or Microsoft Teams.
– Social Media: Social media isn’t just for personal use. It can be a great tool to increase employee engagement during remote work.
– File Sharing: Tools like Onedrive or Dropbox help organizations get the right document to the right people at the right time. It’s like sending a fax (remember that?) in the modern-day.
– Document Editing: Some documents, especially written ones, require multiple inputs. Google Docs or other interactive writing software makes it easy for everyone to access the same document.
– Digital Conferencing: Meetings are a staple in the business world. Digital conferencing allows teams to gather together in a full audio/visual medium no matter where each person is calling in from.
– Brainstorming and Ideation: Whether your team is coming up with a new design, evaluating work processes, or whiteboarding a product roadmap, collaboration is key. Project teams get more work done when they can do the work together.
– Project Management: Keeping a project team on track is always challenging. Add in the complexities of remote work and you’ve got yourself the perfect storm for project management. Digital collaboration helps keep everyone on the same page and moving in the right direction.
What are the Top Digital Collaboration Tools on the Market?
The market has responded to the increased need for digital collaboration. Whether you’re a large enterprise or a small business, you’ve already heard of communication tools like Zoom and Skype, but plenty of other solutions exist, too.
Businesses can choose from all sorts of collaboration tools – from niche, point solutions to fully integrated collaboration platforms. Here are six of the top, all-around digital collaboration tools we found.
– Slack: At this point, you’ve probably heard of Slack before. The messaging application has taken the business world by storm, stretching across what seems like every industry. Communication is at the heart of collaboration, and Slack makes communication easier and more secure.
– Vowel: Vowel is improving the efficiency of collaborative meetings. From planning to hosting to recording and transcribing the conversation, Vowel makes video conferencing better. Vowels’ automated recording and transcribing tool allows collaborators to stay focused throughout the meeting while the software takes the notes. Users can keep notes along with the software or simply bookmark critical moments of the meeting so they easily can go back to the text or the recording later on. The application integrates with Slack, various calendar applications, Jira, and more, making it easy for users to incorporate the software into their daily workflows.
– Jira: Digital collaboration is especially necessary for software product management. Developers and engineers often work on small parts of a larger whole. Poor communication and a lack of teamwork can easily lead to things getting lost in the shuffle. Bugs don’t get fixed. Changes don’t get tracked, and progression on the product roadmap tends to slow way down. A strong software development tool like Jira enable agile teams to stay united as they collectively deliver the best product possible.
– Miro: This online whiteboard helps teams collaborate more quickly and efficiently by incorporating visuals. Users can choose from pre-designed templates to build out their storyboards, concept maps, growth charts, go-to-market strategies, product roadmaps, and just about any other business need. The free plan allows teams to get started with three editable boards and unlimited team members, so organizations can start using the tool immediately.
– ProofHub: A good project management tool can reduce issues and increase productivity. That’s exactly what ProofHub sets out to do. With an array of features including easy-to-use discussion boards, task assignments, and GANTT charts, Proofhub is one of the top all-in-one collaboration platforms. Simplify communication with dedicated request forms, chat, and announcements. Seamlessly share files with co-workers. And manage projects with ease in one dedicated software.
– Acquire: Collaboration doesn’t have to stop with the organization’s employees; it can include customers as well. Excellent customer experiences are necessary for success in the modern world. Customers are more informed about their options than ever before and are less interested in putting up with poor experiences. Keeping communication and collaboration open is key for CX teams to provide excellent experiences every time. Acquire gives users a single view of their customers so they can view all their engagements in one, dedicated space.
4 Values That Come From Digital Collaboration
Collaboration isn’t just a “nice-to-have” for businesses. It’s a must-have for companies wanting to reduce errors and maximize efficiency. In fact, Salesforce data found that 86% of business owners and employees said that the main causes workplace failures had to do with a lack of communication and inefficient collaboration.
Digital collaboration brings an organization’s workforce together no matter the location of each team member. As the traditional workspace becomes less common, finding ways to keep your teams connected will become more critical and will bring about at least four specific values to the company.
Increase Productivity: Digital collaboration gets every member of the team on the same page and gives them a vision for where they’re headed. This keeps the employees focused on the right tasks and reduces the wasted time spent on unproductive activities.
Simplify communication: Communication and collaboration go hand-in-hand. Organizations that adopt collaboration solutions will empower their team members to engage with one another more easily in real-time.
Improve Decision-Making: Stakeholders within the company don’t have to carry the weight of making high-level decisions alone. Running a successful business takes a village. As organizational leaders work together, they’ll have the benefit of hearing perspectives from various experts, ensuring a more holistic view of the problem and a better solution in the end.
Enable Efficient Workflows: Teams work best together when they have an efficient way of doing things. Digital collaboration tools enable efficient workflows by increasing visibility, guiding users to the next step, and assigning or managing tasks.
Efficiency and productivity are staples for any successful company in the modern world. Both of these require teams working together towards a common goal. Back when employees filled the halls of office buildings, collective collaboration could happen in-person, but things have changed. Remote work is becoming the new normal and digital collaboration is coming along with it. Resources exist that can help your company adapt and experience the benefits of united teams.
, Head of Marketing
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