A forward-thinking workplace needs to connect employees both to information and to one another, and they need to have that access “anywhere, anytime, and on any device”. That means they need a strong collaborative platform.
Workplace collaboration is a common buzzword these days. But are your employees really working together effectively, or are they just lip-synching? Your office is filled with bright people who do solid work, but you’ve noticed that there are consistent breakdowns in communication. Deliverables occasionally get dropped when handed off from one person to the next and it seems like people sitting just a few feet from each other aren’t sharing information.
When left to employees to figure out how to collaborate, the free app-based technology out there is a complete free for all and in many organizations, it’s had the opposite effect, creating pockets of collaboration in an extremely siloed environment. This creates additional risk since folks outside the pockets aren’t contributing their valuable insights and critical business documents are often being saved in employees’ personal cloud storage in an attempt to facilitate collaborative efforts.
Whether in the office, working remotely, or travelling on business, it’s difficult to keep employee productivity high. You know they expect to be able to collaborate and be productive wherever they are – and you want to keep them happy – but it’s difficult to work efficiently when half of employees need to access 6 or more data repositories and less than 1 out of 5 companies enable search across all of them.
Workplace collaboration is a common buzzword these days and it’s ironic, because in some ways we’re more connected now than ever before. Supply chains are global, and employees, partners and contractors are no longer chained to their desks — with a smartphone or a laptop, they can work from anywhere. But too often they find themselves buried under an avalanche of email in-box filled with action items, follow ups and questions because they weren’t physically sitting beside a fellow “collaborator”.
Sound like your organization? Don’t worry, you’re not alone.
Getting workplace collaboration right
Nearly 40% of employees say there isn’t enough collaboration in their workplace.[i] When we enable employees to share their thoughts and insights seamlessly across an organization, the benefits are powerful and impactful. Organizations where workplace collaboration works well, products come to market faster, customers are serviced faster and problems are solved more quickly. They are more competitive and reinforcing a strong bottom line. Delays in projects can be expensive. Projects that get everyone’s input from the beginning are less likely to get stalled later and bouncing ideas off other people generates a creative spark that can take programs – and outcomes – to a whole new level.
A forward-thinking workplace needs to connect employees both to information and to one another, and they need to have that access “anywhere, anytime, and on any device,” says Jacob Morgan, the futurist and author of The Future of Work. That means they need a strong collaborative platform.
So, where to start?
Get everyone on the same page
When companies use a hodgepodge of technology solutions for things like messaging and file sharing, it can create major productivity and security issues. Work with your employees to determine their needs and what they’re using currently, then standardize around a set of approved tools. Use the opportunity to gather information about non-tech breakdowns in the way employees work together as well.
Focus on information mobility
Employees need to be able to access the documents and data they need, whenever and wherever they need them. To get there, your information must move fluidly between paper and digital formats and be accessible across a range of devices and platforms. Consider adopting a company-wide file sync and share solution to enable information mobility.
Secured collaboration platform
Another critical factor is security. Make sure the platform not only keeps hackers out, but also allows you to restrict access and require internal authentications for sensitive company documents.
Collaboration works best when it’s standardized across an organization and those organizations that strike a balance between collaboration and individual achievement are performing at the top of their industries. Figuring out the best way to improve collaboration and help employees work together can help reduce friction, increase employee engagement, lower costs and develop a sustainable competitive advantage for your business.