How to Eliminate Collaboration Barriers to Optimize Team Productivity

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Cloud and mobile computing technologies have drastically improved how modern businesses communicate/collaborate from within and outside of their organizations. The real-time functionality and remote capabilities they offer are both expanding communication/collaboration options and optimizing existing methods, thus, empowering modern workplaces to streamline workflows and be more productive.

The challenge of realizing these benefits is to find vertical solutions that minimize workloads, rather than add to them. From the learning curve of adoption to integration bottlenecks, finding the perfect balance with partnerships and solutions can be difficult. In an effort to help, let’s discuss how to eliminate collaboration barriers and optimize team productivity.

Develop a Collaboration Strategy

An article on No Jitter called: “Solving the Collaboration Conundrum“, written Dec. 17, 2018 by Patrick Harper, explains the importance of collaboration tools for modern businesses:

The use of collaboration tools continues to grow as companies using this technology report higher productivity levels. Data from Babson College researchers shows that employees spend 85% of their time collaborating with multiple teams of coworkers via meetings, email, conference calls, and instant messaging — often across several time zones. The volume and diversity of collaborative demands on employees have risen 50% in the past decade alone.

The types of collaboration tools will differ according to the size, industry, and preference of each enterprise, yet the functional need to integrate viable collaboration solutions is acute and universal. Businesses of all types are realizing the importance of automation, interoperability, and the cloud when it comes to improving their productivity – working smarter not harder is the main theme.

Developing an effective strategy for unified communication (UC) and workplace management solutions is key for tapping into their potential. This may involve starting from scratch or optimizing and expanding existing legacy systems, either way, decision makers will benefit by spending ample time on their collaboration strategy.

This involves:

◦ analyzing current productivity levels, bottlenecks, pain-points, and strengths
◦ identify collaboration barriers and needs
◦ projecting future growth and IT expansion
◦ estimate implementation costs and time (RIO)
defining goals, KPIs, and vision

◦ organizational method for choosing and optimizing solutions

Adopt and Optimize Vertical Collaboration Tools

Putting their collaboration strategy into action, businesses can now evaluate and test solutions for optimizing existing systems and/or integrating new ones. This could mean expanding training or solutions with Microsoft Office, replacing Google’s G Suite products with enterprise-level web-conferencing solutions, integrating mobile messaging apps with Salesforce CRM, etc.

While the variables will differ with each situation, the universal goal for every business is to maximize their efficiency and productivity while reducing operational workloads. This puts a premium on integrating vertically-designed solutions that offer comprehensive functionality and integration capabilities – either with popular software (flexible modules) or custom solutions (open APIs).

Decision makers should ask these types of questions during the evaluation and adoption process:

◦ What collaboration do methods need to be optimized?
◦ What solutions reduce operational workflow complexity?
◦ Is switching existing systems worth the disruption?
◦ Which solutions address collaboration barriers and pain-points?
◦ Do potential solutions add complexity to workflows?
◦ Do potential solutions align with brand identity?
◦ Do potential solutions allow room for future growth?
◦ How important is UX/UI with solutions?

C-suite executives and managers should carefully consider these questions; streamlining collaboration methods with the right solutions can drastically expand functionality and productivity, thus, improving the bottom line and customer/employee satisfaction levels.

Onboard Team Members with Unified Focus

Online technology is changing the mindset of businesses as much as their capabilities. This is why the leadership’s vision is so vital with the continual process of optimizing operational workflows. Working with employees, managers and C-Suite executives can share the same unified focus by understanding this vision.

Essentially, businesses want the least disruption when onboarding new solutions and improving existing ones. This can be accomplished by choosing agile solutions and ensuring the workforce has a unified focus. Here are some ways to create a unified focus with the workforce during solution onboarding:

◦ explain the projected sales/revenue increase
◦ detail the collaboration barriers to be eliminated
◦ describe how the onboarding process will take place and how long
◦ explain how workflows will be streamlined and capabilities expanded

Implementing new solutions across an organization is a challenge that businesses can alleviate by choosing agile solutions and fostering a unified focus with the workforce; this will work to streamline adoption and build a solid foundation for future growth – both operationally and culturally.

Continually Monitor and Improve Workflows

Eliminating workflow inefficiencies and collaboration barriers is a continual process for modern enterprises. The rate of technological innovation and subsequent customer/employee expectations will only increase in the future; businesses should establish the mindset and policies to guide business process improvements over time.

The idea is to create a digital workforce, as the aforementioned article on No Jitter explains:
Digital workers are hyper-connected (regardless of their location), focused on collaborative decision-making, and enjoy flexible working environments. It’s the emergence of this type of worker that is accelerating the evolution of collaboration technologies.

It’s up to leadership to recognize the value of these kinds of workers and delegate technological improvements when fitting. Managers should monitor both the technical functionality of solutions and the mindset of their workforce; they can use analytics, reports, feedback surveys, evaluation meetings, and employee engagement metrics to measure progress.

The article explains:

Ultimately, businesses need a flexible approach that supports a multitude of unique communication needs to maximize their IT investment, while concurrently motivating employees and driving business results.

The continuous process of improving collaboration methods is enhanced when businesses have an agile mindset that involves the workforce. After all, empowering the workforce with expanded UC capabilities and efficient collaboration tools is the main objective.

In practical application, this may take the form of gamification, productivity incentives, streamlined feedback/input channels, recognizing influencers, BOYD policies, regular evaluation meetings, bottleneck protocols, etc.

In conclusion, the solution for eliminating collaboration barriers involves both innovative cloud software solutions and the leadership to develop effective collaboration strategies and digital workforces. With the right partnerships and solutions, modern enterprises can expand their collaboration capabilities and, ultimately, improve their workforce culture and bottom line. If interested in learning how Hey Buddy can help please contact us today.