Every business knows good communication is key to success. Especially during collaborative projects and other group efforts, communication among employees and managers, as well as messages from managers to employees, needs to be quick and clear.
Collaborative technologies can help businesses improve staff interactions in many ways. According to a 2016 Harvard Business Review survey, 79 percent of respondents said use of collaboration tools resulted in greater efficiency. Seventy-six percent said they saw more productivity, and 69 percent made better business decisions.
Obviously, communication and collaboration in the workplace have come a long way since paper notes and phone calls. Smartphones such as the Blackberry made texting popular and email much easier to access outside the office. Video-calling apps such as Skype allowed groups to gather and work together without having to physically meet in the same room.
Creating instant connections
Now, the business world is seeing yet another new wave of collaboration technology. Software specifically for the workplace, such as Cisco Spark, makes it easier than ever to reach co-workers and managers in real time. Software like this can allow for quick creation of group chats and incorporate audio and video calls into conversations. Users on some collaborative apps can also split chats into channels, keeping conversations on different topics separate and easier to track.
Collaboration technology not only provides instant connections, but it also helps with accountability. Unlike texts, messages in these apps are searchable, which can be really helpful when someone is trying to remember who came up with a specific idea, or who offered a certain suggestion. These tools provide a record of all conversations that is much easier to keep track of than numerous texts and email threads.
Besides increasing efficiency, collaboration technologies can allow employees to connect outside of work. Some apps are designed like social media platforms, where users can create groups around common interests and follow each other’s profiles for updates. By encouraging co-workers to openly communicate in and out of the workplace, collaboration can happen much more quickly and naturally.
Much more than messaging
Collaboration technologies don’t just have to be about messaging. Tools such as Microsoft SharePoint and OneNote can also be a place for users to share and edit documents and provide links to articles and websites. Putting all of a project’s resources into one interface can eliminate wasted time trying to remember names of documents and searching through emails for links.
Tools for collaboration can operate only on a company’s network, or they can be cloud-based and portable. Businesses can pair mobile devices with secure apps to allow users to take their projects with them outside the workplace. On the flip side, these tools can also bring people into the workplace. Hardware such as Cisco and Roomba’s Ava 500 video collaboration robot allows employees not only to video-call into the office, but also to roam the halls remotely.
More and more collaboration tools are popping up in the growing market, increasing the number of options available. How does your business leverage collaboration technology? What benefits has it provided?