Rob Mattlin, Digital Workplace Product Owner, Logicalis
A vital component of any successful business is enabling employees to collaborate from anywhere. In the new digital workspace with employees split across office and home environments, effective collaboration needs to be seamless across every working space. Employees need to feel that they can communicate with each other at any time, from anywhere. It is not, however, an easy task, and to succeed, businesses must address the tears in the already stretched fabric of collaboration.
Enabling effective collaboration between employees allows businesses to reap the benefits of improved productivity, increased staff retention and has also been shown to improve employee welfare. Businesses need to rise to the challenge of leveraging collaboration methods to cover every eventuality.
The state of collaboration during the pandemic
For most, the initial move to remote working may have been a consequence of the pandemic with a focus on simply getting staff online securely. This was undoubtedly a challenge with many businesses compressing years of careful planning and development into a mere handful of days and weeks.
This rapid establishment of remote workflows by any means necessary shifted the attention away from an all-important factor: successful collaboration between employees at precisely the time when it had never been more critical.
Over the last year, 75% of remote employees said they thought that team collaboration suffered more than any other aspect of the office environment due to working from home. This ranked above a decline in productivity on the scale of impacts and was firmly linked to missing the elements of office interactions with colleagues.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, during the pandemic, time spent on collaborative tasks dropped by 37%, highlighting the repercussions of the rush to establish remote working on employee interaction. Not only did this negatively impact the welfare of staff, but it also significantly reduced the output of work across businesses.
Collaboration tools are critical to business success
With mechanisms of remote working now firmly established, much of the focus for evolving digital workplaces has been on maximising colleague collaboration and investigating how businesses can do this at scale with a distributed workforce.
Implementing intelligent collaboration tools allow businesses to empower communication between staff wherever they are working from. In 2021, 80% of workers were using collaboration tools, an increase of 44% in 2019. With many employees now demanding flexibility over their work environment and the war on talent enabling them to call the shots in the face of ongoing shortages of skilled employees, using these tools will be central to business success.
As a result, businesses need to create a culture that empowers employees to collaborate freely. Crucially, they need to look to incorporate collaboration tools across the business to bring together employees on every level and unlock.
This is not an area where makeshift approaches will remain successful for long. Planned strategies are essential and it is here that a digital transformation partner with managed service capability can help organisations to accelerate employee empowerment, collaboration and in turn innovation. Through guaranteed uptime and performance, secure operations and actionable insights, in-house IT teams can focus on other business areas and core competencies.
Support and empower employees
Employees now expect to be able to work from anywhere at any time. Businesses no longer have the luxury of having their workforces in one building who can collaborate in structured settings and innumerable, random ways over the water fountain or in a staff room. With a dispersed workforce across countries and even continents, they need to be given the proper support to collaborate effectively.
Introducing collaboration tools can allow employees to feel supported and empower them to communicate more often with colleagues. This can foster higher quality conversations that can boost business output. It also helps connect people to the overall business vision by giving them a clear purpose and an opportunity to help further the organisation.
Working with a trusted digital transformation partner helps create a digital workplace of the future, breaking down barriers in communication and collaboration to add value for improved performance and achieve a better work-life balance.
This is an endeavour that has a measurable impact on business performance too. When businesses promote collaboration and communication across their teams, they can expect to see a 30% increase in productivity and 4.5 times higher employee retention - both critical factors in the modern workplace and integral to business success both now and in the future.