Have you ever wondered why some companies perform better than others? why some teams are more successful than their peers? Well part of the answer lies in the culture of the organization.
Recent study by the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp) says that a workplace which promotes a collaborative culture is set up for success five times more than one which is not. More than 1100 companies participated in this study which examined workplaces who claimed to have open communication and a collaborative culture.
Collaboration takes place when two or more employees in the workplace work towards a common goal by sharing their expertise and best practices. In today’s world where technology usage is on the rise, collaboration happens via cloud-based tools, smart applications and the like.
Why do we need collaboration in the workplace? The answer is simple – healthier teams and improved productivity.
This article will talk about how you can foster collaboration in the workplace and the various collaboration tools that are available in the market, thus helping you to understand the benefits of team collaboration.
Future of work
The future of work will be affected by 3 dimensions or forces of change: the work (the what), the worker or workforce (the who) and the workplace (the where) as per Deloitte Insights. It is pivotal to understand how these forces of change will affect individuals, businesses and the society at large to shift the approach towards our jobs and promote effective collaboration skills among the employees.
The important question that elicits a thoughtful response is the how of human-machine and human-human collaboration, especially for global companies. The answer to human-human collaboration is the wide range of smart collaborative tools that are available in the market. But, before diving into that topic, you need to analyse evolving workplace and work day structures to make an informed decision for the collaborative needs of your company.
Evolving workplace structures
During the preindustrial economy, jobs were performed end to end by skilled workers. For e.g., a tailor would measure, cut, sew and stitch together a shirt from scratch till completion. However, after the industrial revolution, the perception towards work saw a major shift. Industrialists realized that it is cost effective as well as faster if the job was cut down to repeatable tasks and assigned to several individuals. Hence a job became a set of tasks that could be repeatedly performed by individuals rather than something which had to deliver a complete product or result. Since then the idea of a job has undergone a lot of changes.
We are currently in the age of cognitive revolution, where a job is viewed along the lines of collaboration between human and machines. It is no more the age where the focus is on task completion, rather it is about problem solving, co creation and human relationship management. Workplaces are expected to change their structure and shift their focus towards communication, understanding and problem solving in the near future. This is a wakeup call for organizations to address the lack of collaboration in the workplace.
To adapt to these changes, business leaders and heads of institutions must begin to rethink how work is conceptualized and performed at their workplaces, else they will be weighed down while trying to implement archaic concepts on to the emerging workforce. In this major shift, encouraging cooperation and collaboration in the workplace is key to a productive business.
Collaboration is key
How to improve collaboration in the workplace
Every workplace is different. Building collaboration in a diverse workplace is of vital importance but the tools and methodologies to be implemented varies from one to another. E.g.: A sales team where the team mates constantly keep emailing or chatting with each other require a tool where messaging and communication is the main component. A research team where repository usage is more frequent requires a knowledge base.
Day in a life
Do you think your team spends a lot of time emailing each other? Do you feel your employees keep manually looking for information that can be streamlined in a better way? Then it’s time to rethink how you collaborate together and look into some meaningful tools that have been detailed below.
Common collaboration Tools
Team collaboration tools available in the market are increasing every year while the existing ones are constantly improving their functionalities and features. Many workplaces are moving towards remote teams, global offices and holacratic structures where collaboration tools are a must-have for effective team management. There are many tools in the market that help you with varied functionalities such as instant messaging, video conferencing, workflow management etc.
Collaborate or Perish
As an employer who understands the benefits of collaboration in the workplace, it is only fair that you weigh the pros and cons of tools that are available in the marketplace.
The most hip and happening cloud-based collaboration tool out there which offers instant messaging, communication channels and much more. It is easy to use and can be integrated with other tools such as trello.
It is primarily a meeting software solution where you can schedule meetings on the run. The software enables high quality video and audio conferencing at the click of a button.
Be it a team meeting, video conferencing, webinars or remote trainings, WebEx offers easy collaboration with your team. There are a whole range of meeting software such as WebEx share, WebEx board, WebEx team which takes collaboration in the modern workplace to another level.
It is a hub for team collaboration which enables real time conversations among team members with ability to comment and share feedback. It can be easily integrated with other applications with the option of file sharing.
This platform enables teams to import and work on different file types. It has many features such as chat, comment and feedback for easy collaboration.
The favourite choice for professionals and amateurs alike, this is the go-to option for real time collaboration on files where all the edits are saved automatically.
What do I choose?
Collaboration tools must be chosen upon scrutiny of work type, team structure, nature of workplace etc. Nevertheless, there are certain criteria which needs to be checked off from the list before considering the same for implementation at your organization.
Make the choice that will best suit your team
Here are few criteria that you need to keep an eye on:
Easy navigation and simple interface are what employees are looking for in a collaboration platform. After all, who wants more complexity to be added to a busy day at work. Watch out for tool demos and assess if it fits your team’s culture and working style.
Some of the tools available in the market have a prime feature which is more functional than others. However, teams prefer one tool which can be used for several purposes instead of having to toggle between many. Look for the tool which is rich in multiple features and will be useful for your team in more than one way.
Go for Cloud
Globally located teams and remote workers will be benefitted from cloud-based technology solutions as it prevents issues around version control and simultaneous editing. As information is stored online, it becomes easy for teams to be on the same page even if they are not located at the same place.
Look for tools that enable one on one communication that are private for employees. The boss need not be included in all chats and not all messaging needs to be public!
Compatibility and Integrations
Your team must be able to integrate the tool with other applications. All file types that you normally use must be compatible. These are two important check boxes that need to be ticked.
Collaboration Plugins for WordPress
WordPress powers 30% of the world wide web and around 75 million users depend on it. Would you believe that there are more than 45,000 plugins available today? WordPress is cost effective, easy to use and also allows you to use your own data. It is thus reasonable to say that WordPress is a good option for your organization.
BuddyPress is a great plugin to build a collaborative hub for your team. Your users can communicate through chat with options for groups, forums, directory and so much more. WP Download Manager and Post Table are file management plugins that offer easy access to various files and user roles management.
HelpieKB WordPress plugin is a one stop solution for all your collaborative content creation needs. This plugin is user friendly, simple and streamlined that your team might even send you a thank you note. Try it out, it will not take you more than a couple of minutes!