The modern workplace is going through a continuous and exciting period of evolution. Collaborative technologies are at the heart of this transformation, breaking down siloes and creating dynamic work environments where team members energetically collaborate with each other.
The results of effective collaboration are spectacular. Not only do collaborative teams meet their objectives, they often exceed them and achieve innovation, all while having a great time. Collaboration can be difficult to achieve in any environment, but this is particularly true in a remote work environment.
Virtual collaboration holds promise. When successful, virtual collaboration enables talented people to communicate and work together effectively anytime, anywhere. Organizations can go where the top talent is and not just rely on co-located staff. This allows companies to mine the collective wisdom of a dispersed team and tap into a larger talent base. However, virtual collaboration comes with a unique set of challenges, such as the following:
• Difficult to get remote employees to bond
• Harder to create dialogue
• Misunderstandings are more likely to take place
• Challenging for people to informally take the lead on projects
• Scheduling meetings around time zone differences can be difficult
Despite the inherent challenges, studies have shown that virtual teams outperform co-located teams. Remote workers often find that they are more productive and complete their work in a more timely fashion because there are fewer distractions. Remote workers also learn to communicate more deliberately because they cannot just tap a co-worker on the shoulder to tell them something.
Virtual collaboration isn’t just beneficial for telecommuters. Even in conventional workplaces, employees are frequently on the go in client or sales meetings. Some have even adopted flexible schedules and work practices and thus aren’t working side by side with their co-workers on a 9-5 schedule. The variety of devices with which we can work has also increased, therefore allowing us to access our work anytime, anywhere.
Excellent organization is key to successful virtual collaboration because virtual teams always need to know what’s going on and what everyone is doing since meeting with co-workers in person isn’t always possible. It’s important to use tools that can help your team connect with each other and stay organized, such as a resource booking tool that enables you to book virtual meetings and invite attendees. Team calendar software is also crucial because it enables you to keep track of your co-workers’ schedules in real-time and gain visibility into your colleagues’ actions. Collaboration is becoming increasingly mobile, as a growing number of workers do their work while traveling or on the go. As such, finding software that is accessible via mobile devices is critical.
Virtual collaboration is paramount to businesses that want to succeed in today’s business climate. The collaborative process connects employees in every department and provides them with better access to information. Today’s companies have a bewildering variety of collaborative tools at their fingertips. With everything from team calendars and discussion platforms to document and screen sharing software, modern technologies deliver remarkable improvements in the ability for companies to collaborate across locations and time zones.
Add-On Products offers a number of collaborative tools for Microsoft Outlook® and Exchange, including meeting and resource booking software, team calendar software, and digital signage solutions. Contact us today for more information about our virtual collaboration software!