Why Businesses Need Collaboration Tools

It’s no secret that more and more businesses are allowing employees to work remotely, both as a work perk and as an incentive for productivity. As millennials take up more of workforce, in fact, this option will become more commonplace and expected in the work environment. Can your business support that change?

Why Businesses Need a Budget for Collaboration ToolsBesides establishing expectations and providing the appropriate equipment to employees, it’s critical that businesses provide remote workers with another critical element: collaboration tools.

When people think of collaboration, they often think of big meeting rooms where teams are gathering to discuss ideas or solve a problem. Those meeting rooms, however, are now virtual a lot of the time, and businesses need to make sure they can accommodate collaboration wherever their employees are and whenever their employees want. That’s where tools like audio and video conferencing software, internal social networks and mind mapping solutions become imperative to a successful work environment.

While collaboration tools require an investment, this investment has a proven return. Here are a few reasons your business should have a collaboration tool budget:

1. Remote workers are less stressed and more engaged, which increases productivity and work output. 

In fact, according to a Dell and Intel Evolving Workplace Study, 52% of people believe that employees working from home are just as productive or more productive than in the office. However, they need collaboration tools to stay connected without workers so they can do their jobs.

2. Collaboration tools can help the whole company communicate better.

Do you have a problem with effective meetings? Are employees not getting the answers they need in a timely fashion? Does your company have a communication problem?

While traditional tools like emails and meetings can be helpful, it’s also been proven that people haven’t used them as effectively as they could either. Collaboration tools could help your company as a whole communicate better, providing better results.

3. It prevents your company from becoming siloed.

We see it everyday with large enterprise companies. Sales doesn’t talk to marketing who doesn’t talk to HR who doesn’t to IT, and so on. Silos prevent your company from scaling as a whole, as well as creates interdepartmental problems that require effective communication. By investing in collaboration tools, your company can prevent these issues and encourage communication across teams and departments.

Your business needs to invest in collaboration so it can realize it’s true potential. As the old adage goes, “Two heads are better than one.” In this case, if all of your employees can collaborate across different departments and teams whenever and wherever they want, don’t you have a better shot at company-wide success?

 

Blog Series: The Future of Work Experiment, Episode 5

We’ve spent the better part of this past month getting settled in our almost home of Michigan. It’s been great to catch up with family and old friends, while preparing to grow some roots in our old stomping grounds. Being home has been a great reminder of the reason we started this adventure in the first place. However, we haven’t let ourselves get too settled. We are embarking on an international tour testing the limits of the future of work, and to see some of the most beautiful corners of our planet.

Ep5

We’ve departed Detroit, and face nearly 30 hours of travel before our final destination of Christchurch, New Zealand, where we’ll be embarking on a three week whirlwind tour of the South Island. Our accommodations include a tiny rental car, several hostels, and some backpacking here and there (Gerty chose to stay home for this one). New Zealand, though far flung, isn’t exactly a disconnected land. We expect some form of connectivity in most places, but we have an emergency satellite messenger just in case anything goes awry in the backcountry. It will certainly be interesting to experience the pace of life in New Zealand, as their reputation is one of an extremely friendly, laid-back people who are crazy about adventure.

The future of work truly knows no international boundaries. I expect the most disruptive part to be the time change, though with high quality asynchronous collaboration applications like UbiMeet it really won’t matter. I plan to make my ReadyTalk cohorts as jealous as possible by picking an insane fiord, glacier, or epic mountain as the backdrop scenery for my FoxDen check-in. So here’s to smooth skies and abundant adventure on the other side of the world. Follow along for some Peter Jackson’esque scenery and hopefully a Kiwi or two.

 

Top Considerations for a Remote Work Environment

While many companies are becoming more accepting of a remote work environment, each business is different and needs to think through the decision so expectations are met. Whether you’re working for a company that’s already incorporated telecommuting or thinking about doing so, there are some key considerations you need to take into account.

Top Considerations for a Remote Work Environment1. Is there trust between the employee and employer?

Telecommuting definitely requires trust between the employee and the employer. Without it, it cannot be successful. However, there is a difference between having doubts and not having trust. Ask yourself whether you trust your employees or if you’re simply having doubts in the viability of telecommuting for your company.

2. Have a way to measure productivity and engagement.

How can you know if something is successful if you can’t measure it? Find ways to measure productivity and engagement, and make sure to be transparent about those results.

3. Find a time for in-person meetings or conference calls.

While many jobs can be done completely remotely, it’s still a good idea to touch base every once in a while to make sure everyone is on the same page.

4. Employees should still be as available, accountable and productive as they would be an office.

You need to be clear about expectations upfront, and this one is key. Telecommuting should be offered to encourage productivity instead of hindering it.

5. Communication is the key.

Simple, but profound. Keep the lines of communication open and you will be able to work through anything.

A remote work environment can work if you know how to work through it. Think about these considerations before making any decisions, and revisit this list if you’re experiencing problems.

For more tips on how to have a successful work environment, read our infographic, “Tips and Best Practices for Working Remotely”.