What should have been a temporary solution to the pandemic has now turned out to be a keeper due to all the benefits enjoyed: hybrid working. So back to the drawing board! Because as we move from temporary to permanent solution, we will have to do the same with the strategy. How can we structurally improve the process of digital collaboration and collaboration?
Working (together) digitally. What is that exactly? People quickly think of working from home, video calling or working with digital tools. And it’s true that those things are all part of or have to do with digital collaboration, but it’s more.
The definition of cooperation is: ‘the joint effort to achieve a specific goal’. In my opinion, this starts with connecting. Tools are of course important here. But basically this is controlled from the organizational DNA. All facing the same direction. In addition, as with any other business process, it is all about continuously checking whether the current approach still fits today’s needs. Breaking free from the old thinking and being open to new ways. Does something no longer fit? Optimize.
With colleagues increasingly working from different places and times, you may be more concerned with task management than with the task itself. Sending documents back and forth, dividing tasks, answering questions, updating spreadsheets or Excel lists with updates, meetings about progress and so on. This takes time and energy and can be done more efficiently!
Of 3 C’s
Successful digital collaboration revolves around 3 C’s:
How can you optimize these pillars individually and ensure that they connect seamlessly and thereby improve cooperation? In fact, the same applies to all three pillars: ensure a central location. Below I explain what I mean by that.
More and more we see that synchronous communication due to remote working is making way for asynchronous communication. Of course we still see and speak to each other in real time, in a video call or via a telephone conversation. But where we used to walk past a desk for questions, chat at the coffee machine and attend countless meetings in conference rooms, there is now more room for communication via email, slack, whatsapp or chat. Quickly coordinate, ask or report something.
Asynchronous communication can cause communication to fragment. You can prevent this by making clear agreements about which means of communication you use for which purpose. Preferably choose a chat and platform where the data falls within your organization. So no Whatsapp group but for example Google Chat. Supplemented with Google Meet if you want to see each other. In this way you can easily coordinate the communication channels with each other and you ensure that the company information remains within the company software.
To-do lists on sticky notes, in excel, spreadsheets or chat groups are not efficient. It is often unclear how the progress is, which means that additional actions are required. Task management software enables teams to be more productive, efficient and asynchronous, without spending too much time managing tasks. These tools do more than create to-do lists. In this way, this software contributes to:
- all tasks are documented in one central place
- tasks are easily distributed to team members
- priorities can be set
- progress can be monitored
- deadlines are clear to everyone
- comments and/or documents can be added easily
An example of such a tool is Asana, but of course there are more. Usually, it is possible to integrate the tools with other tools, such as Slack, Google Drive, Outlook, Gmail, Zoom and more. It helps teams stay connected no matter where they work from.
Content management. Documents disappearing on different computers. Loose files that quickly become ten versions (and yes, each with a different title). Forwarding documents, giving feedback, waiting for a response and returning them takes a lot of time. You could keep your files on a shared drive to save yourself and your colleagues a lot of back-and-forth email. But how ideal would it be to be able to work collaboratively in one document? Creating that one central place again. That’s what it’s all about.
This is possible in Google Docs, Slides and Sheets. Then you always have only one version of a document: the correct one. These tools also offer varying degrees of authority. For example, a user can determine (and set) whether he authorizes someone else to view, make suggestions (in the side) or edit the file. And when you store all documents for the collaboration in a Shared Drive, everyone has the same overview.
You work together towards the end result. No hassle with version management, no discussions about what really is the right document, no thinking about which device to use. Delicious isn’t it?
The central place
Hybrid working can lead to ‘islands’ working. Good digital collaboration prevents that. It starts with creating a centralized workplace. You will see that it is time-efficient, but also cost-effective.
As you may have noticed, I’ve used Google Workspace as an example a few times in this article. This is because Google Workspace is a practical tool that makes it easy to work from one central place. The tool includes Google Chat, Gmail, Google Meet, Google Drive, Google Docs, Google Slides, Google Sheets and Google Forms.
There are several providers, such as Microsoft. But unlike Microsoft Office 365 (mainly focused on personal performance), Google Workspace is designed for team performance. The question is where you want to go with your organization. Is that efficient (more) digital collaboration and growth as a result? Then it may be time to switch to a tool that has been developed for that purpose. read here more about the differences between the two providers.
It can be difficult to let go of familiar things, because ‘it works well’. Yet a new way of working requires a new approach. Only when you are open to change, there is room for growth. If we hadn’t embraced smartphones, we’d still be playing snake on our Nokia 3310…
Are you curious what this looks like in practice? You can request a remote demo without obligation via firstname.lastname@example.org. Or contact us via our website.
Source: Frankwatching by www.frankwatching.com.
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