Collaboration in the workplace has long been heralded as a sign of an effective, high-functioning team. Not long ago, achieving collaboration meant breaking down cubical and office walls and pushing employees to work together 24/7. Although this approach worked for many employees, others felt stifled.
Today, companies are placing more of an emphasis on balance: enabling employees to collaborate when and where they need to, but also letting them take advantage of alone time to brainstorm and complete individual tasks. Unified communication and collaboration (UCC) technology is helping to achieve that balance, by enabling real-time communication, information sharing and collaboration between employees, when it makes sense and no matter where they are located.
For value-added resellers (VARs), UCC is an exciting new area to grow your business. But first, it’s important to understand some of the benefits of collaboration in the workplace:
1. It moves a company more effectively towards its goals.
A Work.com study found that 97 percent of employees and executives agreed that the level of collaboration directly impacts the outcome of a task or project. When a team or department is collaborating smoothly, openly sharing information and able to communicate seamlessly, they are able to work at their most effective level.
On the other hand, when employees work in individual silos, it can take longer for a team to finish a particular project or task. As Gensler found, the most effective workplaces balance individual focus with team collaboration. Not every employee does their best when they are constantly in close contact with their coworkers; many need some alone time balanced with teamwork. Collaboration technology such as video conferencing and desktop sharing enables this balance because it seamlessly links end users when collaboration makes sense – rather than all day, every day.
2. It creates greater flexibility.
Today’s collaborative technology, such as tablets and smartphones, enable employees to work more flexibly than the traditional 9-to-5 office day. Many end users are able to work from home and on the road, and even take advantage of real-time collaborative capabilities with remote coworkers around the globe.
This level of flexibility fits many end users’ lifestyle better than a strict eight-hour workday. And improved flexibility can lead to greater efficiency and effectiveness. In fact, a 16-year study by Idea Champions recently found that only 3 percent of people come up with their best ideas at work. The other 97 percent said they encounter great ideas throughout their day, at home, on vacation and even in the shower. With the mobile capabilities of collaboration technology, workers are able to take advantage of sudden bursts of creativity and productivity – rather than confining both to the office.
3. It appeals to the tech-savvy.
In many industries, younger and more tech-savvy employees are more likely to gravitate toward collaboration technology, since technology is such a large part of their life already. Millenials are especially supportive of collaboration to improve productivity; one study found that 49 percent of that age group support social tools, such as Skype and Face time, for collaboration in the workplace.
Since Millenials are about to take over the workforce, now is the time for employers to sit up and take notice.
4. It engages remote and work-from-home employees.
Despite all the benefits of working remotely, sometimes it can also leave employees feeling cut off from their coworkers. By fostering a high level of collaboration, a company ensures that all employees – whether they work from home, headquarters or an overseas office – benefit from real-time information and continual communication. This higher level of engagement means that a company will benefit from the knowledge and expertise of all employees, no matter where they are located.
5. It helps new employees get up to speed.
New employees learn best from their coworkers and higher-ups, and learning is best achieved through collaboration. On top of that, collaboration creates a natural mentor-mentee relationship between new employees and their veteran counterparts, which helps inspire and engage both groups even more.
What other benefits of collaboration in the workplace have you seen in your own career? How have you seen today’s UCC technology enable a higher level of collaboration?