As organizations become more complex and global, the majority of work handled by employees has increasingly become team-based. According to a study, time spent by employees and team managers on collaborative activities has increased by more than 50 percent in the last two decades. Moreover, 75 percent of employers rate collaboration and teamwork as very important to them.
But just like the workplace has changed drastically in the last few years to accommodate the growing distributed workforce, the way people collaborate in the modern workplace has changed as well.
Let’s take a look at a few examples of collaboration in the modern workplace:
1. Collaborating on shared documents
Collaborating on documents and sharing feedback has become a lot easier with cloud-based tools that allow you to work alongside others on shared documents and spreadsheets in real-time.
Multiple users can access, read, and edit documents all at the same time. Since the documents are stored on the cloud, all the users get access to the latest version of the documents and they can also see changes that are being made by others.
It also helps avoid constant back and forth emails with different file versions and names, which only ends up confusing people. Moreover, the ability to track changes according to different time stamps and users adds accountability in teams since employees know exactly who made what changes at all times.
2. Working on tasks and projects
When there are a lot of moving parts in a process or a project, it’s easy to get confused and miscommunicate who is supposed to do what. For instance, who on your team is supposed to follow up on the problems that keep on occurring? When a new task comes to your team, who is supposed to tackle it? Where can employees check all the tasks assigned to them? How to review all the pending priority tasks that are approaching the deadline?
A project management tool can be used to collaborate effectively on projects and adds much-needed transparency to the team. Streamlining project management makes it easier for employees to check all the tasks assigned to them, review the task details, and submit the work before the marked deadlines. For managers, it helps route tasks to the specific team members, track the work that has already been submitted, and get insights into how the project is progressing.
3. Discussing work challenges on team communication channels
It’s not possible to collaborate effectively if you are not communicating effectively. That is why teams in the modern workplace now use instant messaging tools and shared communication channels to always stay connected with each other. These tools make asynchronous communication possible among teams and allow them to have discussions with their coworkers without needing to be online together at the same time.
Messaging tools keep a written record of all the communication happening within the team which in turn helps employees to keep track of all the suggestions, feedback, and notes that get sent their way. So, whenever employees want to revisit feedback or a message that was previously sent to them, they can directly search for it.
More than anything, messaging tools decrease the dependence on emails and make team communication more seamless.
4. Video calls and meetings
The way we hold meetings in the modern workplace has changed immensely and made collaboration more effective and time-saving. Instead of gathering everyone in the meeting room whenever there is something to discuss without any set goals or agenda, meetings are now held more consciously, keeping into consideration the valuable time of employees.
For every meeting organized, there is a time slot decided, a meeting invite is shared with all the participants and the agenda of the meeting is sent in advance as well. In case some of the employees attending the meeting are working from outside the office, then the meeting is organized virtually through video calling tools to ensure everyone can participate in it in the same way. In fact, video collaboration has become one of the most common types of online collaboration used by teams across the globe.
5. Brainstorming with whiteboards
Brainstorming sessions with the team can either be frustrating or fruitful. Some people may need more visual aids to show their ideas, others may feel left out in meetings because they are working from outside the office. Moreover, brainstorming on the physical whiteboards available in the office can also make it difficult to remember what each employee shared in the meeting. As soon as the whiteboard gets erased, all of the visual ideas that employees shared can also get erased with it.
As a result, more teams have now been using virtual whiteboards for brainstorming and sharing ideas. It allows time for asynchronous brainstorming meaning employees don’t all have to be available at the same time to share ideas. They can jot down their ideas whenever they have a eureka moment and their coworkers can check the whiteboards whenever they are online.
Using the right tools to collaborate can make all the difference
The way we collaborate has changed drastically in the past few years and how we collaborate has changed with it as well. In order to make collaboration effective and useful in the modern workplace, there is a need for sophisticated digital tools to streamline the entire collaboration process. While you can introduce separate collaboration applications for all the different types of collaborations that happen in the workplace, too many tools can end up overwhelming employees, siloing data in the organization, and making collaboration more complicated than it already is.
Instead, you can introduce a digital workplace platform like Kissflow which can streamline collaboration across the entire organization by allowing you to manage projects, share and collaborate on documents, organize video meetings, establish shared communication channels, and track all the work through a centralized dashboard.