All businesses, no matter their size, are composed of different departments, each with distinct yet overlapping responsibilities. The ability to effectively establish processes that allow for these different departments to collaborate can make or break a business. Did you know that 30 percent of employees believe that there is poor collaboration in their organization? And that a stunning 96 percent of executives list the lack of collaboration as one of their biggest downfalls?
Failure to enlist appropriate collaborative processes and tools can lead to high employee turnover as well, stalling progress within departments and increasing costs in recruiting, interviewing and training.
No matter what business model your company uses, collaboration is a key component. However, as remote work becomes more common, successful collaboration becomes more important in order to keep things running smoothly.
Founder and CEO of PGi, Boland Jones, defines two categories of collaboration technology: synchronous (real-time) such as conference calls or asynchronous (near-time) such as virtual offices and collaborative tools. Enlisting a combination of these two types of tools make for effective communication that enhances productivity.
Here are some borderless technologies you can use to improve your business’ collaborative efforts:
Virtual offices – Virtual office platforms offer a lot of benefits. They give employees the opportunity to communicate with each other, share documents and media files, comment and assign tasks in one spot, basically recreating an office environment in digital form. Tools like Slack allow you to organize your business’s communication into segments so that only team members who are working on a specific project will receive messages about it. It allows for group and private messaging and face-to-face video calls. Drag-and-drop file sharing and the ability to get all your notifications within Slack as well as the easy syncing across your devices make it a popular collaboration tool.
Mobile applications – Approximately 80 percent of employees use more than one device to finish tasks at work. The importance of mobile as a collaborative and communication platform make it a useful tool for businesses. Many companies develop their own in-house apps in order to maintain control over the flow of company information and to prevent potential leaks. An app that enables messaging and document sharing helps create a digital trail and makes for a more seamless internal communication system. Apps can also be used to communicate more effectively with clients and other company stakeholders, providing a convenient point of contact. For example, Kaiser Permanente uses an app to monitor patients and conduct virtual consultations.
Virtual meeting platforms – Keeping in touch with your remote team or setting up a client meeting can be done through applications like GoToMeeting. GoToMeeting allows you to schedule upcoming meetings and send out recordings of the meeting so everyone can have a record of it, including those who couldn’t attend. It mimics a live meeting by including a virtual whiteboard for brainstorming and the ability to share keyboard and mouse control with other attendees.
Project management tools – Tools that allow your teams to track project progress can improve productivity and give team members access to the same information in real time. Trello is a tool whose simple structure creates a virtual corkboard. Members can create “cards” with specific tasks for different projects, message team members, comment and keep track of a project’s progress from start to finish.
After selecting collaboration tools for your business, provide simple training programs to ensure your team members understand how to use the features and also help them make the most of each tool. Implementing these borderless platforms can greatly enhance in-house communication, productivity, and enhance collaboration no matter where your employees and customers are located.