The rise of the global economy and the distributed workforce means that organizations must ensure that teams can work together seamlessly from anywhere at any time.
Facilitating collaboration is key to improving workers' productivity. A collaborative environment also helps reduce expenses, shorten deadlines, improve productivity, and increase return on investment (ROI) by connecting multiple teams in complex business and cultural environments to promote common goals, foster shared values, and build relationships.
On the other hand, a breakdown in communication and lack of collaboration can lead to misunderstandings, delays, errors, and inefficiencies that negatively impact productivity.
To encourage collaboration between teams across locations, organizations need to provide employees with the right tools so they can communicate and work together profitably.
How collaboration improves productivity
The use of collaboration technologies helps organizations of any size improve productivity. For example, the ICP survey found that companies using Slack reported an average 49% reduction in email volume, a 25% drop in the number of meetings, and a 32% increase in productivity.
So in what specific areas can collaboration improve productivity?
- To eliminate silos by allowing team members to communicate with each other across departments. This minimizes friction and delays in business processes while helping to build a customer-centric organization, so employees can focus their time and efforts on what matters.
- To improve the customer experience by connecting customers with the right team member to reduce the time and resources required for customer service so fewer employees can serve more customers without compromising quality.
- To improve collaboration and external communications to strengthen supplier relationships and reduce friction in the procurement process, thereby lowering costs and increasing profitability.
- To enable real-time information exchange (eg, data synchronization, file sharing) to facilitate business processes while minimizing delays and errors that reduce productivity and affect the customer experience.
- To streamline workflows by improving communication between departments (eg, manufacturing, sales, marketing, procurement, IT) to create an agile organization that can respond to market demand profitably.
- To make project management easier by increasing transparency and visibility, keeping an open line of communication, and making sure everything is on track to avoid costly mistakes and mix-ups.
- To share information about policies, programs, promotions, programming, budgets, etc. to minimize the time employees spend on administrative tasks.
- To enable knowledge workers to gain real-time access and locate data quickly and accurately with a content management system.
- To facilitate the execution of projects and initiatives by ensuring that information can be shared quickly and concisely. It helps improve time to market, increase agility, and optimize the utilization of distributed resources.
- To promote team problem solving, especially for remote workers, by enabling employees to meet, discuss, and make decisions with agility and precision.
- To eliminate version control issues, which can cause delays, errors, and inefficiencies, with real-time file sharing so team members don't have to email documents.
- To foster innovation by reducing the cycle time from idea to implementation. It enables employees to quickly iterate on ideas by tapping into talents from across the organization.
Key features to consider when selecting collaboration technologies
Businesses use social media, document sharing, chat, presence information, web conferencing, interactive whiteboard, mobile apps, automation apps, and more to increase employee productivity.
Using the right collaboration platform is key to driving profitability and productivity in the workplace. However, with so many technologies on the market, it's not always easy to identify the right solution for your business. Here are some factors to consider during the selection process:
- Cloud-based: It reduces IT costs while allowing users to access the software anytime, anywhere using any device so employees can stay productive whether they're in the office, at home, or on the road.
- Workflow automation: It eliminates bottlenecks and ensures the right people get the right information at the right time to run multiple business processes. For example, by integrating form automation with a document management system, you can avoid having to manually transfer files and data, which is highly inefficient and prone to delays and errors.
- Real-time file sharing: It enables team members to share, access, edit, and retrieve the latest files, data, documents, and other forms of media to avoid delays, errors, and version control issues.
- Mobile-friendly interface: It allows users to access the platform from anywhere using mobile devices (eg smartphones, tablets) so they can stay connected and respond to requests on time.
- Real-time analytics: It collects and analyzes data from across the organization and provides users with actionable insights using technologies like machine learning and predictive analytics to support accurate data-driven decision-making. This helps ensure everyone is acting on the same information to minimize errors.
- Search: It allows users to use keywords, tags, and search filters to quickly locate content, files, and past conversations, which used to be a laborious and time-consuming task.
- Personal and group calendar: It avoids time-consuming and error-prone scheduling headaches by using shared calendars to coordinate team meetings and activities with minimal frustration.
- Onboarding and training support: It provides the right training and support so that employees can maximize productivity using all the features of the platform.
- Integration: It synchronizes with your existing systems to ensure seamless information exchange and minimize time-consuming and error-prone manual data transfer.
- Security: It protects sensitive data by enforcing the latest cybersecurity protocols so employees can share and access information while complying with industry regulations.
- Uptime and backup: Downtime is very costly and impacts productivity throughout the organization. Your collaborative platform should have built-in redundancy and a comprehensive backup and recovery plan to minimize downtime.
- Access control: It allows only the right people to view, edit or share specific files or data for optimal security while ensuring the right people can get the right information to do their jobs without delay.
Finding the right collaboration solutions
When selecting collaboration tools for your business to improve productivity, you should also consider the following:
- Business requirements: Use a platform that can solve your specific challenges, work for both internal teams and external partners, and can meet both short- and long-term company goals.
- Features: Gather employee requirements to ensure you choose collaboration tools that can streamline processes, streamline workflows, and improve user performance. Your collaboration tools shouldn't create more work for your employees!
- Cost: Consider the ROI and ongoing IT expenses associated with upgrades and maintenance so you can ensure long-term profitability and high productivity.
- Support: A trusted provider should provide top-notch technical support to help you maximize productivity by making sure your software is running optimally and resolving issues quickly.
Finally, an effective collaboration platform must ensure that the right people get the right information at the right time to streamline processes, eliminate bottlenecks, minimize delays and reduce errors in the most cost-effective way possible.