Different types of collaboration technology, such as devices and apps.

Empower your business with collaborative technology tools

How can you boost your business with collaboration tools? Focus on in-demand features like messaging, document sharing and video calls.

El equipo de Slack5 de abril de 2024

Do you have thousands of messages in your inbox (and climbing)? Does seeing that number make you want to slam your laptop shut? If so, you’re not alone. Most professionals have a love-hate relationship with email communication and the constant influx of notifications and take either an “inbox zero” or “who cares” approach to their email notifications.

Email might not be the most efficient business collaboration tool. A 2021 report by Mail Manager found that of the employees surveyed, a whopping 70% believe that email is one of the biggest workplace productivity drains.

So what can professionals use for increased productivity and efficiency? That’s where collaboration technology tools come into play. Read on to explore the impact of online messaging and collaboration technologies and how they can transform your business’s productivity and efficiency.

Master collaborative tools by understanding key concepts

First, what is collaboration technology? Beyond just email or a single shared document, collaboration technology refers to any software designed to improve communication and collaboration among people. For example, a collaboration technology tool would allow people to share files and make comments on those files. Let’s take a closer look at the types of collaboration technology your business can use. 

The major players in collaboration technology 

Collaboration technologies usually fit into two categories: synchronous and asynchronous. Synchronous means work that takes place between people in real time. Asynchronous refers to work that happens at later or different times for each person.

There are several different types of collaboration technology:

  • Communication and chat: These technologies support async or synchronous work by allowing users to chat in real time or schedule messages for later. Slack, Microsoft Teams and Zoom are all examples of communication tools.
  • Document collaboration: Work on documents together in real time or separately using Google Docs, Microsoft Word Online, Confluence or Dropbox Paper. You can simultaneously edit and leave comments, and these tools usually offer version control.
  • Project management tools: These tools allow you to organize tasks, track progress and meet deadlines. Popular examples include Asana, Trello, Jira and Monday.
  • Video conferencing: Meet face-to-face with video-conferencing software like Zoom, Slack huddles, Microsoft Teams and GoToMeeting.

Boost your business: The benefits of adding collaboration technology

It’s no secret that remote and hybrid work environments can pose collaboration challenges. Adding collaboration technology to your tech toolbox can help you avoid silos and boost performance. These tools can have positive effects like:

Helping your team be more productive

Collaboration technology improves team productivity mainly by reducing context switching between apps. In a recent State of Work report, Slack found that over 50% of respondents blamed switching between apps as a barrier to getting essential work done.

Consider a collaboration technology like Slack that offers multiple app integrations. This helps keep your employees focused, since they don’t need to navigate away from their communication platform to view a document or send an image file.

Streamlining communication among employees

Collaboration technology improves team communication with real-time chat capabilities, so your team can ask and receive instant answers. With Slack, features like video huddles, message threads and project-specific channels all boost productivity by centralizing conversations to the most relevant people and topics.

Championing the future of work, from the couch or the conference room

The rise of hybrid and remote work environments contributes to the need for on-the-go communications and the ability for businesses to support flexible workplaces. As of 2023, over 40% of full-time employees work remote-only or in a hybrid work environment, according to a Forbes remote-work statistics analysis.

Verizon is no stranger to this phenomenon. In 2020 Verizon pivoted to fully remote work, requiring the company to rethink its communication strategy. Using Slack, it created a “digital representation of the office,” according to Aspi Havewala, Verizon’s global head of digital workplace. 

By ensuring that all your employees have access to the same tools, documents and communication technology, you can foster an inclusive and productive workplace.

The power of collaboration technologies in business

The Harvard Business Review recently explored how collaboration technology affects employees. It found that “employees at lower levels often have the best information about which tools to keep and which to eliminate. But those at the top of the pecking order are in the best position to use their authority to make change throughout the organization and help employees stay afloat amid the digital deluge.”

Below are some industry-leading technologies to consider.

  • Zoom or Slack huddles for virtual meetings: Hopping into a quick Zoom or Slack huddle to hash out a problem via screen share can boost efficiency. 
  • Slack for messaging: Professionals can use a messaging app to chat in real time and respond quickly. Sometimes a response can be as simple as an emoji acknowledging the message. 
  • Google Docs for file sharing: When you need to share your work for review and collaboration, choose a document-sharing platform that allows multiple reviewers and commenting. 

These top types of collaboration technology are easy to implement and can positively affect your business’s efficiency and productivity.

Exceptional features: What to look for in collaboration technology tools

As you begin your search for collaboration technology, ask yourself, “What is the biggest problem we’re trying to solve?” If your team has an overload of meetings, consider promoting asynchronous work options like document sharing. If employees feel siloed, then project-specific channels can help. Here are some more features to consider:

Dedicated project and culture channels

Look for a platform that offers separate channels for projects, initiatives and culture. Channels let teams loop in coworkers across the company while they help break down silos and increase job satisfaction. 

File-sharing capabilities

If your employees work on many documents, they’ll need to be able to share them for review and comments.

Screen sharing

“Show, don’t tell” is true especially in the workplace. Screen sharing is necessary in today’s remote and hybrid work environments.

Send audio clips

If your employees communicate more efficiently via voice than text, consider an app that allows you to record and send audio clips to coworkers.

Integrate with the apps you already use

The best technology works with your existing applications. Look for a collaboration tool that integrates with your existing apps to increase productivity and for a smoother technology onboarding process. 

Building out processes with automation

Taking things up a notch, what if your collaboration technology could do some of your routine tasks for you? New features like workflow automation let you focus on the deep work.

Spotlight on Slack, the technology tool for enhanced collaboration

Slack provides all the collaboration technology features above and many more. It’s a top choice for businesses and professionals. Here are some of the highlights Slack offers:

  • Messaging is the heart and soul of Slack. More than just a chat tool, Slack messaging lets you schedule messages to respect different time zones, respond quickly with emoji, and set channel topics for dialed-in conversations.
  • Channels keep work focused. Kick off a new project or onboard new employees, and thread conversations to keep the attention on individual issues.
  • Huddles bring the feeling of working side by side to a virtual workplace. Screen share and chat during a huddle to quickly solve problems.
  • Slack Connect lets you have conversations with your business partners and vendors in channels to close deals faster and decrease backlog tickets.
  • Slack AI harnesses the collective knowledge within a company’s workspace for quick answers and recaps, helping everyone work smarter.  

How to successfully implement workplace collaboration technologies

If you’re introducing a collaborative technology for the first time, your employees might experience some of these challenges:

Ping! Information overload

Encourage your employees to block out time on their calendars to silence notifications, if possible. This can provide dedicated time to get heads-down work done.

Misread signals and crossed wires

Misinterpreting the tone of a chat message can cause misunderstandings. To combat this, set clear communication practices at your organization and suggest video calls when discussions get complex.

Learning fatigue: Brainwork is hard work

Anytime you introduce a new tool, your employees will need time and patience to get up to speed. If they don’t feel comfortable navigating a new tool, they probably won’t want to use it.

Tips for a smooth tool deployment and rollout

  • Keep your goals in mind. When you know the problem you’re trying to solve, it’s easy to explain the value of the tool you’re implementing.
  • Identify internal champions. Figure out who’s got your back. If you can identify which employees are as psyched about this change as you are, you can build a team of champions.
  • Phase your rollout. Let’s be frank, people don’t like change. By implementing a new tool slowly in a group of employees who are positive about the product, you can prove the positive impact and gradually introduce it to wider groups.

Collaborative technology is here to stay

Collaborative technology has revolutionized the way teams work. To implement it successfully, understand the goals, identify internal champions, phase the rollout and gather feedback. 

Choose a tool that automates workflows and integrates with existing apps. Slack is a top choice, offering messaging, channels, huddles and Slack Connect. Collaborative tools will remain a critical part of the modern workplace as technology evolves.  

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