Contribution by Andy Miller
The rapid digital transformation brought on by the global health pandemic has introduced long-term changes to the modern workplace. For instance, researchers at Cardiff University and the University of Southampton found that 88% of employees who started working from home following the lockdowns have not only gotten used to the work-from-home setup but also expect similarly flexible conditions as physical workplaces reopen their doors.
With companies and workers embracing the increasing digitisation of business, digital collaboration is on the rise. And if you don’t want to get consumed under this massive wave of change, your business needs to learn how to pivot with and use the latest and most efficient technologies for digital collaboration.
This starts by focusing on communication. No digital collaboration effort can be successful without establishing clear lines of communication between remote parties. Thankfully, digital transformation has made it much easier to do just that. For instance, simple and user-friendly work communication platforms like Slack, Zoom, and Google Drive have become essential for workers riding the new wave of digital transformation. Through unified digital filing systems, scalable chatrooms, messaging options, and streamlined video conferencing, effective digital collaboration has become more possible than any other time in history.
This is true not just for those who work mainly online, but also for those with hybrid workplaces and/or schedules. Apart from these aforementioned straightforward online communication tools, the way connected technologies are evolving has also led to the development of more encompassing platforms for communication and collaboration.
In the logistics industry, for instance, Verizon Connect details how GPS fleet management technology unifies communication and drives productivity in massive delivery fleets. Armed with virtual maps noting the exact real-time locations and routes of cargo truck drivers, fleet managers can manage and maximise resources much more efficiently – whether they’re working with a large fleet or a skeleton fleet in line with “new normal” workplace requirements. This type of GPS-enabled management platform streamlines communication between logistics workers, empowering managers to make quicker decisions, plan fuel-saving delivery routes, and improve customer service. Whether in the field or inside remote workers’ home offices, effective digital collaboration rests on effective communication.
This is also why etiquette plays a large part in this current era of digital transformation. If previously amiable worker relationships in your company have turned sour over the onset of remote work, you might want to take a closer look at how your employees are using your communication platforms.
Business Insider delved into the finer points of virtual etiquette in the modern corporate office. For the most part, the key to observing proper etiquette over digital communication lines is to avoid being either an annoyance or a distraction to your fellow workers, many of which are still adjusting to either a hybrid or completely virtual workplace. This means avoiding the use of any slang words which can muddle communication and take up more time than necessary. This also means minimising your co-workers’ notifications – before hitting send, try to sum up everything you need to say in just one or two messages. Remember that you’re not texting someone – you’re chatting over a shared collaborative chatroom. The less invasive and more concise you can be, the better. Of course, this isn’t to say that personal and non work-related conversations shouldn’t happen over digital collaboration tools.
In fact, making room for employees’ personal lives and other non work-related matters should be a clear part of your digital collaboration strategy. From regularly checking in on your employees’ wellbeing to scheduling casual hangouts over video conferencing platforms, Business News Daily lists several ways of keeping workers engaged in the modern virtual office. Give digital collaborators a place to discuss mutual interests, play virtual games, and genuinely bond with one another. Managers can even send employees virtual gift cards during special occasions or as appreciation for a job well done. Simply having employees’ favourite food delivered to their respective home offices can go a long way during a particularly stressful work week. A little genuine empathy can go a long way in making digital collaboration smoother for everyone involved.
Making the most out of digital collaboration is simple. Invest your time and resources in collaborative technologies that fit your business needs. Always keep clear and open lines of communication across work-related platforms. Observe virtual etiquette and find creative ways to keep your remote and virtual workers engaged. Follow these tips and you can streamline the way your company collaborates in the increasingly digitised business world.