According to a recent Gallup survey, more employed Americans are working remotely and are doing so for longer periods of time. While this growing trend helps professionals be more flexible and productive, it also increases the complexity of connecting and collaborating efficiently amongst virtual teams.
Although more tools and applications are available than ever before, a dispersed workforce introduces new challenges from a communications and collaboration standpoint, not to mention the technical intricacy and security issues presented by working remotely.
With this is mind, here are five tips and tricks for keeping a scattered workforce connected:
- Understand the Importance of Connectivity
The evolution and adoption of communication and collaboration technologies has resulted in a whole new set of expectations from customers, partners, employers and employees. We need to respond faster, be able to connect to colleagues immediately and easily, and generally adapt to an ‘always-on’ world.
The challenges of staying connected are both addressed and compounded by the mobile workforce. Being able to work from anywhere sounds nice, but it also introduces new issues in how all that interconnectivity and communications should be managed.
- Adopt Tools that Work in a Natural Environment
Communication technology today is heavily influenced by consumers – think FaceTime, SnapChat, Skype. Employees want that type of functionality in their workplace, especially if their workplace is the home or based around their mobile device. If you can FaceTime your grandmother with one click, why do you need a long dial string to connect to your boardroom?
A large fraction of lost productivity time is often a result of technical complications – setting-up, managing, administering and securing communications and collaboration processes. Now more than ever, platforms and tools have to be as painless and friction-free a possible in order for employees to embrace them, for the productivity benefit to be fully realized, and to receive maximum ROI for management.
- Reduce the Number of Tools Being Used
So while the consumerization of communication technology gives us a lot of options and certainly has established a model for simplicity and ease of use, it also has resulted in a crowded and complicated range of tools that IT management has to deal with. In fact, a recent study revealed that the majority of IT pros (65%) report their organizations are using more than one provider for their conferencing and collaboration solutions. The result is a lack of company-wide collaboration, redundant functionality, administration confusion and security risks – in short, a major IT headache.
Adding more tools in an ad hoc way leads to user frustration, siloed work environments and a significant increase in administration costs. Sure, it’s tempting for a worker to use the newest IM app his teenage daughter is raving about at work, but each new addition adds a new level of complexity and potential risk that must be controlled.
- Take Back Control and Increase Security
If there is one reason to manage the number and types of collaboration tools in use at a company, it’s security.
Security needs to be strategically planned, to be baked in from the start. A standardized set of IT programs allows you to take back control of your programs, enhancing security and streamlining communication within your organization. But it must be done without being overly restrictive or disruptive to the end user.
- Adopt Cloud-based Video Conferencing
When it comes to efficient, productive communication and collaboration, there is no question that video conferencing is an outstanding option, if not the best (besides in-person interaction, of course). Long perceived as a bastion of the corporate boardroom, it has now evolved to be an accessible tool, easily used by anyone in the workforce, regardless of location, platform or job function. Thanks to cloud-based solutions, video conferencing is now a very straight forward proposition from a deployment, management and use standpoint. Simple one-click offerings provide the ease of use of consumer apps, with the performance, features and security of enterprise solutions.
For dispersed workers and groups, the face-to-face interaction enabled by cloud-based video conferencing is unmatched by any other communication and collaboration tool – be it email, voice, web-based conferencing, IM apps, etc. It results in more productivity, shorter meetings, better and clear communication, and ultimately the ability to build better relationships across distances. In fact, it’s a critical tool in addressing the most demanding communications and collaboration requirements of the modern workforce.
via Business Articles | Business 2 Community http://ift.tt/2ocy6pu