Besides making workers more mobile, collaboration also makes a broader range of engagement within a company possible. It increases speed to market, the pace at which iterations of a particular document can occur, and ultimately drives efficiency. This means decisions can be made faster and with more accuracy. On the other hand, not being able to collaborate distances the members of your team from each other, which slows down your business workflow, because your employees will spend too much time waiting for guidance and feedback in improving their work.
So what is standing in the way of greater collaboration in your workspace? Without the infrastructure of a large enterprise, CEOs of many small businesses might find themselves making decisions without all the correct figures, facts and stats at their disposal. When this happens, it is more likely that their decisions could unintentionally hamper their employees’ ability to communicate and collaborate, which spells trouble for productivity and the business’s future success. The question is, what are these decisions?
Not using collaboration enabling tools
If email-enabled devices are your idea of collaboration tools, you might not be aiming high enough. To build more efficient channels of communication, you need to think more along the lines of Instant Messaging, Video Chat, Intranet and Social Networking. These are the tools that will allow your employees to work from anywhere, but still be able to communicate face-to-face with colleagues and co-workers when the need arises, all at the touch of a button.
Not focussing on uniformity
Giving your staff a device pre-loaded with an arsenal of collaboration applications or instructing them to make use of ‘Instant Messaging’, for example, may be too broad or narrow of an approach. Instead, you need to get specific and implement uniform business processes and tools, or your staff will make their own decisions … which brings us to our next point.
Letting your staff call the shots
If your staff are, quite literally, left to their own devices, they probably won’t end up making the same choices. Each individual is more likely to choose the tools, applications and processes that suit their working style best. While each individual tool is selected with the best intentions and may even make that particular employee more proactive in their job, it can ultimately mean that people can’t work together in a simple manner. This can result in company workflow being disrupted every time the work needs to change hands, if files need to be converted or a new tool needs to be installed and learnt. This will put your employees in a position where they need to keep consulting back and forth between each other to understand what comes next. This will cost you time and money.
Using free tools
Free tools are great, but there are a number of limiting factors to take into consideration when it comes to using free offerings in your business. They may place restrictions on user capabilities, such as the number of people that can participate in a call or chat group, and you might also have to forgo a certain level of privacy due to a lack of end-to-end encryption.
Achieving optimum collaboration requires constant and efficient planning, management and decisive action. That’s why you should ask yourself the same thing every time you sign off on the next step your company is taking towards a hyperconnected workspace. Is it better? Is it faster? And what could go wrong?