The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way businesses operate. For many, hybrid or fully remote working is here to stay. With that comes new ways for businesses to operate entirely online. There are several options for employers to investigate, but the solution many have turned to is digital collaboration.
What Is Digital Collaboration Tech?
Digital collaboration technology enables businesses to work jointly on an activity or project entirely online. This can range from HR and project management software to whole packages of document editing and encrypted file sharing, communication tools via email and video conferencing, and even learning platforms.
The first technology that comes to mind is Microsoft 365, which many businesses use as their single solution to hybrid working. Other collaboration software includes People HR, a cloud-based HRMS to give employees easy access to personal information and holiday requests and Slack, a platform built for businesses to communicate internally and externally with chat rooms, private groups and direct messaging.
Digital collaboration can be as small as working on a single document to as big as entire acquisitions and mergers. With many industries now working remotely, the benefits vastly outweigh the costs.
The Institute for Corporate Productivity study found collaborative work is five times more likely to result in higher performance. When working collaboratively, employees are more likely to stick to tasks for longer, with higher engagement levels, lower fatigue levels and ultimately a higher success rate.
The ability to share encrypted files and collaborate on single documents has enabled a real-time exchange of information and streamlined workflows that minimise delays and errors while facilitating the execution of projects quickly and concisely.
According to Salesforce, 86% of employees and executives say a lack of collaboration or ineffective communication leads to workplace failures.
Collaboration tech can easily facilitate efficient project management through audit trails that provide transparency and visibility, ensuring projects are on track and avoid costly mistakes.
Digital collaboration also removes the need for physical office spaces for fully remote teams, leading to a massive reduction in the overhead costs businesses face.
Boost Employee Engagement
Communication is a huge part of collaboration tech. With globalisation and the expansion of businesses, talent is spread worldwide, meaning employees can no longer rely on face-to-face interaction. With the communication tools offered by collaboration technology, employees can stay connected and fully engage with the entire company.
Some collaboration technology, such as Microsoft 365’s Viva platform, also offers learning software so employees have the resources to learn and upskill either for their current role or their own personal development. This software helps foster a culture of empowerment for employees, leading to increased job satisfaction.
Studies have shown that employee engagement can be worth as much as 19% of the operating income of large enterprises, indicating that improving engagement through collaboration is an easy way for businesses to enhance performance.
Foster Better Relationships
Digital collaboration can benefit employees’ relationships with each other and their customers. With effective communication software, customers can connect to the right team members and get the help they need quicker and more efficiently. The fewer resources used means lower costs for businesses.
Giving team members the ability to communicate through collaboration tech is a proven way to foster better relationships between both the team and other departments. The communication resources offered by collaborative technology allow team members to work together to reduce mistakes and encourage an environment of sharing new learnings to solve problems.
The right digital collaboration tools can provide the foundation for innovation. Employees can easily collaborate on new ideas through communication and file sharing. With improved productivity, businesses can reduce the cycle time from ideation to implementation, leading to further innovation.
The flexibility offered by this technology can lead to a clear opportunity for growth, as well as encourage employees to engage with the future of the company.
The Future of Digital Collaboration Tech
As we look to the future, existing in what some people call the third year of the pandemic, it’s doubtful businesses will ever return to a fully in-person environment.
As more industries adopt this way of working, digital collaboration will continue to develop. New technologies mean that people can feel connected without ever being in the same room. Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are already being used in the property and travel industries, with the ability to depict destinations for travel and tourism to better collaborate with consumers.
From increased productivity, reduced costs, more employee engagement, better relationships to more innovation, there are many reasons businesses should use digital collaboration technology.
Perhaps the most important reason is that many can no longer afford not to. Whether business owners like it or not, nearly every industry has to have an online presence. With the majority of the current workforce expecting the ability to work remotely, employers have to provide the means to do so.
Danielle Whittaker is a marketing executive at PSTG, an IT solutions integration company delivering IT and digital transformation solutions for organisations that want to drive growth, boost productivity and improve security. She has written on cyber security, RPA, virtual collaboration, digital workspaces and cloud transformation.