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February 12, 2021

The 2021 guide to Online Collaboration

With the advent of the new year, it's time to look at how you're currently doing things and to find ways you can improve your workflow and collaboration solutions.

Here's what we know about what doesn't work when collaborating online.

  1. Email threads are long and bulky, and make it too easy to lose track of what individuals need to be working on.
  2. Having your documents stored in different locations, or on different peoples devices leads to loss of productivity, as people often make updates on documents that other team members can't access, review or contribute to.
  3. Creating barriers between employees and having a hierarchy where one person approves multiple team members work leads to loss of productivity, as the individual in charge is a roadblock to all the people that report to them
  4. Using different tools or apps in multiple locations. This leads to confusion among team members who are often unsure where they should be sharing their updates. Do they send an email? A message in a chat app? Do they post on a task management board?
  5. Team members aren't properly trained on how to use their existing tools.

So how can an organization overcome these challenges, and collaborate effectively together online?

Have all your tools together in one place online

There are many solutions available to organizations of any size to chat, share live and editable documents, post comments, chat in realtime with team members or groups, share news and other updates, and even run polls.

Chat

Collaboration is all about communication. What we've learned is that the most effective way to communicate online and provide updates to people in a team, is to implement a robust chat solution.

A robust chat solution will allow team members to chat together in private chats, or to create groups (or channels) where teams can effectively communicate about the same topic in the same place

Shared Documents

If you're currently relying on one team member to work on one document at one time, and then forward that to the next person, then you're missing out on a key aspect of productivity.

Team members rarely work on the 'exact' same thing at the 'exact' same time. Usually a team member is working on one part of a document, while another team member is working on another part of a document.

A crucial online collaboration tool will give your employees the ability to work simultaneously on the same document. While one team member is writing the introduction for your next big proposal, another team member can be crunching the numbers and putting together spreadsheets for the same proposal.

Start working on documents together and watch the productivity increase immediately

The T Word - Trust

Give your employees the trust to do what you hired them to do. If you are managing a team, trust them to do the work you've assigned them. Don't spend all your time reviewing updates.

Let your team produce the work you've asked them to do. Let them work together and collaborate, and when they have a final draft for you, you can review it and provide feedback.

If you're asking each team member to report directly to you all the time, you're not going to have time to do anything else. You'll be so busy providing feedback and reviews that you won't be able to do anything else.

If your team can already chat together and work collaboratively online, then all you need to do is wait for them to do their work.

This will not only increase productivity and collaboration, but it will also build a strong relationship of trust between you and your team.

Centralize your software

Small organizations can often get by with using multiple apps in multiple locations. Maybe they use Slack for chat, Trello for task management, Google Drive for document sharing and Facebook groups for posting news updates.

But when organizations get bigger, and teams are growing, this Fragmentation only leads to loss in productivity.

An effective online collaboration tool will ideally provide the functionality of all these separate apps and tools, and build them into one central piece of software where one notifications list can update your team on absolutely everything.

If there's a new message, or an updated document, or a news story - these can all be found in one central tool, with one notifications system, so your team can keep up to date in one central location.

Train Your Team

No matter the size of your organization, a team member who isn't sure what they're supposed to be doing is going to weigh down the rest of the team.

You can have all the tools and apps in the world, but if your team doesn't know how to use them, then they're redundant.

Having all your tools in one place makes it easier to train your team members on how to collaborate effectively online. Rather than asking them to install 5 or 6 different tools, set them up at a central dashboard and show them how to use the tools they need, and how to find the information they want.

Once you've shown them how to use your collaboration software, let them practice with their team. If they have questions, show them where they can ask those questions, and where they can find the answers. Usually, another team member that they're collaborating with on a project, will be able to give them the answers without you always having to be the person they come to.

Get Your Organization Going

If you're regularly hitting roadblocks when it comes to collaborating together online - or if you are noticing a lack in productivity in your teams, contact GreenOrbit today for a FREE DEMO of our online collaboration solution.

Your demo is FREE to try out, and we can help tailor a solution that will be exactly what your organization needs.

Article written by GreenOrbit Team

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