It’s not a question of whether workforces will change – only a question of how. Digital disruption and changing markets have forced businesses to reevaluate how they work. According to professional services firm Deloitte, some 80% of businesses are now focused on restructuring. One of their key solutions is to build small networks of empowered teams, keep those teams well-aligned, and create a culture that lets those teams innovate.
As these teams reach for tools to help them nail projects and stay aligned throughout the process, the right set of collaboration solutions will prove to be effective in driving productivity in a more mobile and dispersed workforce.
Teams Work Better When They’re Well Connected
Jeff Bezos is now famous for his “two-pizza rule,” where any meeting requiring more than two pizzas is too large to be productive. Smaller, nimbler teams are becoming the norm, allowing companies to streamline their tasks and improve efficiency. Large and small teams benefit from collaboration tools that keep entire projects in a commonplace where the whole team can access and edit simply by downloading from the cloud. Content teams can have strategists, creators, and editors all working on the same document simultaneously. When teams use tools that can synchronously share notes and ideas on an infinite canvas without ever needing to switch documents or open a handful of programs, a real-time collaborative environment is achieved.
Bezos’ two-pizza rule is nice, but naturally, we have to break it sometimes. Some projects simply require larger efforts, and a room full of new hires might get hungry when the pizza disappears. To be successful, teams and technology must be flexible and scalable to the size of any meeting, project, or pizza party.
Collaborating with Contingent & Freelance Workers
Employing contingent or contract workers is a trend that will continue to rise in the years to come. Businesses that want to succeed with this model will need software that lets them collaborate effectively with every member of a project, even when they’re not in the room.
Web-based software programs do a great job of letting teams collaborate on documents. But for dynamic projects involving images, text, charts, and video in the same place, teams need better tools. Far-flung workers and home base employees need to be able to share ideas and create together in real-time, whether they are cross-office or cross-country or across oceans. For example, a social media team can pull slide decks or live browsers into an interactive, collaborative whiteboard session, and draw, write, and outline strategies. Remote workers can watch and contribute their design and copy ideas as the team works to complete stages.
As dispersed teams become the norm, tools that allow open collaboration will cut down on send-backs and help remote stakeholders develop clear ideas of what’s expected.
Tesla Says We Should Talk More
Elon Musk’s recent email encouraged Tesla staff to skip time-wasting hurdles and communicate freely throughout the company. “You can talk to your manager’s manager without his permission, you can talk directly to a VP in another department, you can talk to me,” he wrote. He and other businesses are right to ditch the ‘information silo.’
Why shouldn’t you know what other teams are working on, or share ideas to complete the task? Won’t the launch team benefit from seeing the marketing strategy as soon as it’s done? As businesses place greater value on open communication, collaboration tools will help teams to strengthen each other by helping them share projects and empower teams to march in the same direction. By allowing select teams to access shared projects and ideas freely, businesses can ensure greater communication and understanding between teams, resulting in a better product on all fronts.
Changing structures and finding the best mix of new and existing technologies in your organization doesn’t have to spell gloom and doom for professionals. In fact, those digital disruptions are more likely to spell opportunity as businesses find the right set of collaboration solutions that help nimbler teams bring more projects to life in less time, and communicate across teams for better results. The trick will lie in keeping teams connected, collaborative, and innovative as they go.