Collaboration Tools Help a Geographically Distributed Team

09 Mar Collaboration Tools Help a Geographically Distributed Team

collaboration toolsThe Future of Work promotes flexibility, and offering remote work to employees is a growing trend. According to FlexJobs, a company that promotes freelance and teleworking jobs, “68% of U.S. workers say, in the future, they expect to work remotely instead of commute to an office every day.” Collaboration tools maintain the productivity and efficiency of geographically distributed and remote working teams. Specifically, what are those benefits?

Keep your team connected and collaborate around the clock

Employees develop knowledge or expertise with an understanding of what it means, where it’s located, and what it’s named. The silo effect happens when no one else can access this information. Teams value the ability to share insight with colleagues or collaborate to keep up with a project timeline. Quickly finding an answer without having to hunt through email chains helps keep on track. Collaboration tools give way to these opportunities, an especially useful feature for global companies working in many time zones. Posting a question before you sign off for the evening and waking up to a helpful response from a global team member is just one example of using collaboration tools around the clock.

Stay organized and have easy access to all information

Collaboration tools include groups for different departments, team projects, company initiatives or other relevant topics. Grouped conversations keep content relevant to the subscribers rather than blasting everyone with the same message. Some companies include more lighthearted categories, like work travel pictures or office jokes. A group can be made for anything that well-serves the company, making it easy for any employee to access information quickly. Additionally, information from past and current employees is always available, helping new hires learn quickly. A search pulls nearly anything, such as posts and uploaded documents from those no longer with the company.

Improve employee engagement and wellbeing

Employee wellbeing is likely in mind when promoting an atmosphere that encourages working remotely. Enterprise collaboration tools help employees feel valued by improving engagement with others and helping accomplish work efficiently. Having everything in one place eliminates looking through databases and old email chains. This time-saver may seem like a small perk, but employees appreciate having more time for meaningful aspects of their job.

Overall benefits of collaboration tools 

The majority of U.S. workers believe remote employees “are just as productive as those who work in a business office.” This number is growing steadily, according to Gallup. “Gallup’s workplace research shows that employees who spend at least some time working remotely are a bit more likely to be engaged in their jobs than those who never work remotely.” Geographically dispersed teams find collaboration tools especially convenient. Their instantaneity and the creation of a community links individuals that may not otherwise connect. Employees can access information in seconds, interact with other teams or individuals and learn what other departments are doing instead of feeling detached. Having a means to communicate is vital for companies’ success and keeping employee satisfaction and retention. 

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Andy Jankowski

Andy is a Global Executive in IBM's Talent & Transformation Practice and the Global Leader of IBM's Managed Employee Services offering. With a background in enterprise technology and management consulting, he's spend the last of 26 years helping companies understand, plan for, adopt and use new technologies to transform their businesses. He is known for his view that lasting, meaningful business transformation happens from the inside out, and focuses almost exclusively on business objectives, outcomes and new, better ways of working. A few examples include: Forbes: “From Inside Out, Speed Your Company’s Transformation” http://onforb.es/1WsWiuA) BBC News: "Online Chatting at Work Gets the Thumbs Up from Bosses" http://bbc.in/1QKAHxH Forbes: "How Employers And Employees Collaborate To Create Better Work" http://onforb.es/1n8Iw4c Andy is a frequent keynote speaker on the topic of using new technologies to transform the way business is done. When not working, you can find him spending time with his wife and two children, boating, road cycling and playing electric guitar.

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