Workplace collaboration is critical to the success of any business.
Without healthy collaboration, productivity plummets and frustration grows. Of course, it’s a lot easier to say “workplace collaboration” than to make it happen.
Collaborating is difficult for several reasons:
Workers are often dependent on their communication channels, which are overflowing and make it hard to focus on helping each other.
Important data and documents aren’t easily shared and accessible, so there’s wasted time looking for them, or double effort in redoing what’s already been done.
Employees use too many different tools. Communication is chaotic and assignments are unclear.
These problems won’t go away with time.
That’s why a lot of companies are turning to online collaboration. Technology is changing and improving many things in the workplace, and collaboration is one of them.
What is online collaboration?
Online collaboration is the sharing of documents, data, projects, and conversations through a digital, usually cloud-based medium. Online collaboration can refer to sharing access to files, having discussions, organizing and assigning work, and storing documentation for later reference.
Online collaboration takes all of the workplace conversations and documents and puts them in a digital workplace.
How online collaboration helps teams work together
Instead of wading through emails, faxing papers, and running meetings, teams only have to login to one software tool for all their collaboration needs. Announcements, documents, conversation threads, and datasets are instantly available at any place on any device.
With an online collaboration tool, workers can communicate in real-time and see older comments for reference. Employees can quickly ask a question in a channel and instantly receive an answer. If there’s important news to share, announce it to the entire company in seconds.
Saves on costs
Online collaboration means fewer in-person meetings, fewer papers, and quicker communication. A workforce that uses online collaboration will rely less on email, faxing, paper-heavy processes, and other tools. This saves time, improves productivity, and ultimately lowers costs.
Challenges of online collaboration
Online collaboration isn’t without challenges. Here are some common challenges to online collaboration:
A tool that fits every department
Each department has its own unique goals, challenges, needs, and culture. A certain tool may be great for the marketing team, but it could be unsatisfactory for the human resources department. It’s important to determine each department’s needs before choosing a collaboration tool.
Lack of participation
Just because online collaboration is available doesn’t mean employees will take advantage of it. Some workers can be intimidated by unfamiliar software. Others may use collaboration software but not interact because they’re uncomfortable.
That’s why it’s critical for leaders to lead the charge by using online collaboration and encouraging others to follow suit. Another key to promoting participation in online collaboration is setting up the workforce for success. This may include, but is not limited to, training, upgrading hardware, and choosing the right tool.
Too many voices
Some teams may not interact enough, but there’s also the opposite problem. Online collaboration opens the door to excessive posts and comments. This can especially happen with a very large workforce.
When the activity feed is flooded with posts, many users won’t read all the information. They also may feel discouraged from voicing their thoughts because it seems pointless since the post will likely disappear in an ocean of thoughts.
Part of the solution is setting up channels so the workforce can break up into their individual teams. This way conversations are sectioned and therefore more manageable.
Absence of non-verbal cues
Online communication has come a long way, but it still has limitations. It’s difficult to pick up on non-verbal cues, which can be important for effective communication.
4 use cases for online collaboration
Online collaboration has many uses, but these are some common use cases:
1. Provide better communication for remote teams
Remote work is becoming more common in the business world. To make remote work effective, companies must set them up for success by using the best tools available for online collaboration. With the right online collaboration tools, remote workers can communicate in real-time. This empowers employees to have key discussions across time zones.
2. Share documents across departments
Paper-heavy processes are a burden and eat up time. Departments can use online collaboration platforms to share documents instantly, receive them back quickly, and never lose them.
3. Make company-wide announcements in seconds
Online collaboration software makes company-wide announcements easy. Write a post or share a link on the platform. It will show up in a universal newsfeed and every employee will see it whenever they visit the platform. This is simpler and faster than mass emailing a memo or holding a meeting.
4. Discuss items before going into production
Discussing products before creation is easier with online collaboration. Workers can use private channels to brainstorm, make suggestions, and express concerns. There’s no need to take notes or remember the conversation. The channel records the entire conversation, so you can visit earlier comments.
Why Kissflow is an ideal choice for online collaboration
Kissflow offers the next generation version of online collaboration. Here’s what makes Kissflow unique in how it approaches how teams work together.
Kissflow comes with all the must-have features for online collaboration software. Make company-wide announcements in seconds. Create and use channels for department-specific conversations. Post surveys and receive real-time results from employees to see worker preferences and trends in the company culture. Use power search to find users, tasks, channels, and documents instantly. Begin typing and autocomplete will offer suggestions.
Kissflow comes naturally to new users and feels like using your favorite social media. There’s a newsfeed with posts and comments in the middle. There’s a sidebar with “tasks” assigned to the user and channels for department-specific conversations. The top bar has a notification icon and a search engine to quickly find people and documents.
Option to add workflows
One shortcoming a lot of collaboration tools have is that they’re strictly collaboration tools. Kissflow offers collaboration software, but also offers the option to add workflows. This means a company can easily add services to manage projects, cases, and processes.
Not every business needs workflows, but the option is convenient. If your company needs workflow software later on, simply add Kissflow’s additional services. This way your collaboration and workflows are all in one digital workplace.
Scales with growing companies
Kissflow serves companies of all sizes. Whether you’re a growing company or an enterprise with a large workforce, we can meet your needs. Check our payment options to see what fits your needs or read a few case studies to see how we’ve helped other companies.
Try Kissflow’s online collaboration software today and see if it’s right for you.