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Keys to successful online collaboration

Workplace collaboration imageWith an ever expanding arsenal of new technology at their disposal, businesses around the world now have access to the tools that they need to share corporate knowledge, increase productivity in the workplace and ultimately enable better, more effective remote work arrangements.  But online collaboration is often challenging, and requires a new outlook on the way that business gets done.

#1: Choose collaboration tools that work well together

Many organizations adopt communication and collaboration tools one by one, as new business requirements arise.  Others are thrust upon them, as their users find their own ways to save time and energy around the office.  Unfortunately, these tools don’t always work well together or provide a cohesive experience for everyone involved.  A bit of IT planning early on will help to ensure that you adopt the tools that will work best in tandem and with your system, too.

#2: Learn to communicate differently

We all realize that communicating online is different from talking face-to-face, but sometimes it’s important to remind ourselves how different.  Always strive to be as concise and clear as possible, especially when using tools that may not convey tone of voice and other important queues that will help others understand your meaning. Remember: this works both ways.

#3: Don’t neglect face time

Working and communicating with others effectively requires a strong rapport.  And one of the fastest ways to develop a rapport with someone is to interact with them face-to-face.  People are naturally inclined to assume the best of those they’ve met in person.  This, in turn, makes them more willing to work through miscommunications when they occur.

#4: Make security a priority

Many people question the security of online collaboration tools – and rightly so!  With new solutions emerging on the market every day, it’s important to consider the privacy and security of your data before adopting any new collaboration strategy, especially when it comes to web-based tools like Dropbox.  It’s also important to communicate the importance of security to all of your users, and develop clear policies for their conduct online.

#5: Develop document management procedures

When everyone has access to the same documents at the same time, things can get messy.  Fortunately, many collaboration tools offer special features to help you control who can do what, when.  Take time to implement any controls necessary, and be sure to go over your strategies for document management with your team.  Finding the best approach can take time, but with clear and open communication, you’ll be sure to increase your team’s efficiency and effectiveness.

2 Comments

  1. Excellent Article,
    Working online is particularly important for working with office that are spanned across the country, and trying to provide efficient support to an office out in Edmonton for example, is a real challenge.

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