Among other things, 2020 is the year much of American businesses transitioned into a remote workforce. The latest data shows that 50% of the American workforce moved into teleworking environments this year.
Remote Work and Productive Teams
A recent poll of 1,000 companies shows that many aren’t looking backward at traditional office work models. Headquarters models are moving to a hub-and-spoke office model, with remote workers peppered around a central base.
NPR lists some of the biggest corporate benefits of a remote workforce:
- Workers don’t have to waste time and money on their commute.
- Businesses can hire from any geographic candidate pool.
- Companies can save on commercial real estate costs and operational overhead.
The cost savings that come from establishing a productive remote work model must be noted. One company says their in-office operational costs went from $20,000 per employee per year down to $2,000 per teleworking employee per year. However, these costs can rise again if team collaboration isn’t streamlined.
NPR says, “The technology we’re all using to do remote work has been with us for decades now.” This leaves organizations with a variety of cobbled-together digital tools to engage their remote teams.
If your telework solution is a patchwork of disparate systems, this next section will help you streamline your team collaboration. It isn’t just about how to set up a distributed workforce; it’s about how to be productive working remotely.
Team Collaboration and a Unified Teleworking Solution
Large and small companies are adopting new ways of working together when they are geographically separated. Many benefits stem from using technology to improve remote work team collaboration:
- Work is delegated easily.
- Work is completed more quickly.
- Employees are more productive.
- Tracking and reporting improves.
- The organization functions more cohesively.
While we know remote workers are more productive, that doesn’t mean there aren’t challenges to overcome in teleworking models. Team collaboration suffers when the cloud software tools they use to communicate fail to align.
The data tells us that 86% of employees and executives say the lack of effective collaboration is a top cause of workplace failures. When workers are remote, this increases the necessity of effective technologies to facilitate communication. Yet many companies have failed to find the one tool that can bring together all business collaboration functions for remote teams.
Consequently, these businesses use separate tools for:
- Storing, sharing, and editing files
- Calendaring and emailing
- Project planning and task delegation
- Real-time instant messaging chat
- Customer data and relationship management
While each of these tools separately may be very valuable to your team, it becomes harder to find what you’re looking for when these collaboration tools are siloed. For example, one survey found that 91% of businesses use a minimum of two messaging apps. But data from Okta shows that remote work collaboration tools have an insidious side; some businesses say they’re using upward of 200 apps and tools simultaneously. The report also showed the average number of platforms and applications used by companies is rising by 6% each year.
How much time do your teams waste looking for a conversation in Outlook when it happened in Slack? If you’re using Google Docs and Dropbox, where is your single source of truth for document collaboration? Employees can grow frustrated trying to find data within the context of the tool they used most recently—and the longer your remote teams exist, the more complicated this may become.
A team may have adopted each of these solutions in turn for a good reason, but over time, having too many individual solutions gets in the way of being productive while working remotely.
There has been a boom in process collaboration and communication tools since the global pandemic forced many workers to go remote. Tech Radar says, “However, it’s possible that amidst the excitement, a number of issues caused by their introduction are going unnoticed. Despite the obvious benefits, these tools could be changing the workplace in ways businesses never intended and might live to regret.”
The meteoric rise of remote worker collaboration tools should be celebrated for their removal of productivity barriers. But if you feel like it’s getting a little crowded in your remote work browser, you are not alone. While most collaboration vendors will extol the productivity virtues of their products, what’s missing from most companies is a unified hub to pull these disparate products together. Could the remote work productivity tools you’ve installed in your business actually slow people down? What if the proliferation of collaboration tools inundates your employees with the busywork of hunting for communications across channels, searching for files in many different storage platforms, and organizing their work in different system formats?
Yes, your remote work teams are more productive. But how much more collaborative and innovative could they be if they didn’t have a snarl of siloed tools to help them produce in a remote work setting?
How Can Unified Communications Help Your Remote Workforce?
Now that we’re settling into the new world of remote work normalization, it’s time to analyze how your collaboration tools are functioning holistically as a system. If you’re like many companies, as remote worker needs arose, you added a software platform to solve the problem. This may have created a patchwork of productivity systems that may or may not be working as well as they should.
It is this tricky remote workplace problem that a unified communications platform like Infinite Connect seeks to resolve. These platforms bring together all of the communication and collaboration channels your telework teams use to stay connected. They integrate all the tools your remote teams use every day, including:
- Chat software
- Project management tools
- Data storage
- Organizational calendars
- And more
Team collaboration software makes for a more connected virtual office team. You can use the integrated communication hub to see what’s going on with your entire team. Messages, files, conversations, and more are stored in the cloud and available by keyword query. Having one streamlined collaboration hub has huge benefits for your virtual organization:
- It makes collaboration on even the most complex projects much easier.
- It increases team collaboration.
- It builds team oversight, engagement, and accountability.
Importantly, software like Infinite Connect allows you to keep the interfaces and software your team is devoted to. Your sales team won’t need to give up Salesforce. Your IT team can keep Asana. The point is that now these systems can integrate seamlessly and cut down on redundant tasks that are holding your team back.
We know remote teams are here to stay. Now you have a way to bring all of the collaboration tools together into one seamless whole. Talk to Infinite Connect to find out more.