Collaboration tools and people-centric focus core to survival in digital workspace
Companies must explore and invest in technology that enables efficiency across diverse spaces and fosters human connections
Collaboration between technology and personnel is a future-forward necessity defined by today's business environments.
It is important to look at the tools and technology needed to enhance and embed collaboration in the business, as well as examine the stumbling blocks.
Collaboration has become a critical success factor for organisations wanting to better manage employee relationships and engagement.
The right tools reshape performance and allow people to work from anywhere without compromising productivity, while also creating an environment where teams can thrive.
The enterprise collaboration market is projected to exceed $85.8bn by the end of 2026, according to MarketsandMarkets, reflecting its growing ability to enhance competitive advantage and workplace engagement.
In addition, these tools offer solutions to common impediments to collaboration within organisations.
One of the most common of these is ineffective communication. Without the right systems in place, there is a lack of clarity which can lead to a misalignment of goals among team members.
Siloed information compounds this issue. A common problem in larger organisations with diverse teams, or for those managing a geographically dispersed workforce, is that the isolation of data and knowledge makes access and sharing difficult.
If restricted to a select few, this will impede collaboration and contribute to a slow workflow. Remote and distributed teams bring another challenge to the table — disparate time zones. This can make it difficult to schedule meetings and manage asynchronous communication.
These challenges are often worsened by old and outdated collaboration tools that don’t have the reach and scale organisations need. Manual processes with limited integration across teams, silos and tools potentially add to the problems.
The right tools reshape performance and allow people to work from anywhere without compromising productivity
Overcoming these hurdles can be as simple as investing in new tools and technologies that can be customised to boost collaboration and communication within business environments.
Project management tools such as Asana, Monday.com, Trello and Jira are designed to help teams organise and track tasks, assign responsibilities and ensure collaboration on projects.
These tools can be enhanced by communication and messaging platforms such as Cisco Webex, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Enreach, Slack and Google Chat.
Designed to facilitate real-time communication, file sharing and collaboration, these solutions also enable real-time video collaboration and can be boosted by Google Docs, Microsoft Office 365 and Dropbox Paper to allow for simultaneous, real-time document collaboration.
Miro and Mural are two exceptional tools that enable teams to create visual representations on virtual whiteboards.
The cloud is one of the biggest enablers of all these tools and collaborative endeavours across a business. It enables teams to access files and applications from anywhere, at any time and on any device. Cloud-based collaboration tools enable real-time editing and engagement so people can see changes as they happen.
The cloud offers centralised storage and version control, so everyone has the most up-to-date versions, while data-loss risks are reduced and errors are minimised.
Its ability to integrate across multiple business applications is also an advantage, as information, data and workflows can be optimised.
That said, all these tools and technologies must be balanced by human engagement. Overreliance on digital communication can lead to miscommunication and slower decision-making, while limited in-person interactions may compromise relationship- building.
Companies must invest in ways to foster personal connections
Collaboration fatigue is a legitimate concern, particularly when teams heavily rely on virtual meetings and constant online communication. This often blurs the boundaries between work and personal life, exacerbated by challenges such as load-shedding, technical issues and connectivity problems, pertinent in the SA context.
To fully harness the potential of these technologies, companies must invest not only in the tools themselves but also in ways to foster personal connections.
This will help mitigate digital fatigue while amplifying the value of technology investments. Modern collaboration and communications platforms must be complemented by a strong, people-centric focus that nurtures human connections within digital environments.
This approach not only allows businesses to reap the benefits of technology, but also leads to engaged employees and heightened productivity.
• Lukoto is chief human resource officer at BCX.
This article was sponsored by BCX.