Businesses today know that success in the marketplace requires an understanding of knowledge management and collaboration, as well as increased options for flexible work/life balance for workers. Organizational psychology backs up the pursuit of open collaboration, and in many cases, a flexible work environment inspires loyalty and productivity. Combined with a younger workforce interested in new technology, these changes have significantly impacted enterprise-level collaboration and raised many questions for business leaders.
Technology has advanced at breathtaking speeds over the last decade or so, with new devices, solutions, and downloadable free apps flooding the marketplace, and the workplace. Many workers complete any number of activities on personal devices or on work devices without thinking. They message friends and family as well as colleagues, prospects, and clients. With the BYOD trends, many use their own devices for work, and prefer their own productivity tools to the clunky solutions a company still hangs onto.
In a world where the WebEx founder created an enterprise-level productivity and collaboration solution with a company called Moxstra, which really took off in 2015, things at work can only be described as different.
The Risks of Embracing Collaboration
The ability to collaborate easily, whether in an office setting or from a hotel in Bangladesh, is the result of workplace acceptance of new technologies, but it also sets off warning signals in information technology (IT) departments. As cool, efficient, and functional as all these solutions are, they also present a real threat to security. Many IT teams have to maintain a security approach that involves proactive, preventive measures and fast reactive behaviors.
On the bright side, when used properly many of the collaborative solutions and enterprise platforms that connect to the internet feature two levels of protection:
- The solution vendor often supplies updates, particularly for subscription solutions.
- The IT team uses general network security and access control to add another level of protection based on the latest industry knowledge.
Maintaining Control of Solutions in Management
With so many people in favor of adopting certain technologies, management may have a tough time finding solutions that make sense for the long term. Businesses today have to think not only about the face value of a product, but also about whether it integrates well with current solutions fits easily within workflows, and is scalable.
In terms of collaboration, that means looking for solutions that offer secure mobile functionality, integration with other key platforms, and multifunctional collaboration tools.
Open communication about new technology can help facilitate the process. In a work environment mixed with digitally savvy Millennials, as well as older, perhaps more traditional employees, having input from all the people who will use a solution on a regular basis can help companies choose the right collaboration tools.
Strong technology policies can also help. The mobilization of the workforce means that managers may work with a team spread halfway across the world and can’t control their regular workday environment as they once could. A well-constructed technology policy can help improve the way employees use tools wherever they work.
At a coffee shop, at home, or on-the-go, a well-trained employee can help keep the mobile work environment safe while enjoying the flexibility that comes with mobility.
What Collaboration Tools in this New Environment Need
To help remote workforces make the most of their flexible work schedules while maintaining or improving productivity, companies should look carefully at collaboration tool features. Having a secure asynchronous and real-time collaboration environment that keeps projects moving forward can help companies take succeed with teams of remote employees.
Team members who prefer to get tasks done at night can do so as easily as early risers can. Real-time collaboration allows for clarification, problem solving, and other tasks when needed, but supports employees in independent tasks equally.
For a positive collaboration tool experience, the solutions should offer seamless interconnectivity between the core tools that employees need, and fuel content and production-based activities. Real-time chat, asynchronous messaging, document storage, file sharing, and other tools together in one integrated technology provide security and enhance productivity in a manageable way for companies of all sizes. A messaging tool called Symphony for business enterprise also promises to make communication and work collaboration easier for remote workers.
The business world will continue to value collaboration as these kinds of tools become more widespread. Make sure your company has the right tools needed to help employees get the most out of their eight-hour workday with collaboration tools made for the business of today as well as the business of tomorrow.
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A version of this post was originally seen on MillennialCEO.