Technology has an undeniable effect on all businesses. Streamlined processed, higher visibility, lowered response times–basically, if you can imagine it, there is some technology out there to help you achieve it.
With all these options and the rapid pace of change, one of the oldest cornerstones of every business is often neglected. That cornerstone is collaboration. Sure, there are hundreds if not thousands of software “solutions” to your collaboration woes–but in reality, they are just throwing more collaboration options on your plate. Kind of like throwing wood on a fire, if you’re already having trouble keeping collaboration between your team healthy and active, more solutions often exacerbate the problem.
And counterintuitively, technology has made good collaboration more difficult. Before the advent of the internet and the digital age, collaboration was almost a science. Physical limitations made the scope of solutions much more simple. A correctly laid out office and a working phone system at one time were all your needed. Today, remote working and decentralized office infrastructure make collaboration a much more involved and complex task. Dealing with video conferencing, instant communication, email, file sharing, and calendar maintenance is a lot for any business to manage. Luckily, we have a few cornerstones that you can build a healthy and efficient collaboration structure that will carry you into the future
Develop a clear and simple collaboration workflow
As we said, there are plenty of collaboration options out there today. From instant messengers to video conferencing, you can find a solution to fit your needs. Unfortunately what this usually ends up doing is creating a collaborative environment with dozens of software at use.
The first step is the make your collaboration workflow as simple as possible.
If you find your team using two software for instant messages, three for file sharing and a couple more for video and voice conferencing, figure out the best way to condense those numbers. Sure, the most ideal solution is one software to fix all of their problems, and there are certainly some out there trying to do just that. But if you can get it down to one instant messenger, one file sharer and one video conferencing, you’ll already be saving your team some headaches.
Don’t change your collaboration solution just because a new one is on the market
Adopting a new software as an individual is often easy enough. Companies have become quite good at having some level of intuitiveness to their software. But adopting a new software as a team of 20, 30, or 200? Now you’re seeing some furrowed brows.
The reality of a work-based software environment is that you need to settle on something long enough so that 1: Your team becomes efficient and effective at using the software and 2: You are able to actually able to save time which can then be used to make more money.
User adoption of software is key, and as your business has more users, your adoption rate slows down. That means more time before can make back your investment in the software and even more time before you can start making money from the software.
Bottom line: be mindful of when and how often you adopt new software solutions. The newest thing can be shiny, but if the old system is still doing what it needs to, maybe stick with it.
Offer regular and consistent training on new and current software
Sure, the perfect situation for a business is for software to be so intuitive that no time needs to be set aside to teach the team how to use it. But since we aren’t all robots and Elon Musk’s Neuralink isn’t a thing yet, that means software training is still needed.
And that isn’t just for new software. Major updates to existing software can often cause an apocalyptic amount of confusion in business.
The name of the game with training is regularity. You want to make sure that your training sessions aren’t one and done. Monthly team training sessions are a great place to start. Not only does this ensure employees all have the baseline skills needed to become efficient with the software, but it also opens up some of the more advanced uses of the software over time.
And, on top of that, if the training is done well, employees who are more advanced can assist the employees who are newer to the software. Sure, it can sound like of time going toward training, but it really helps to keep your collaboration efficient if you don’t have to keep instructing employees how to use software.
It’s great to keep an open mind to collaboration software. But sometimes it really is better to pick a solution and live with it. It’s cheaper and more efficiently to naturally outgrow a software than to force growth to fit into a new one.