Collaboration tools are becoming the new norm, changing the way businesses function today. Applications like Slack allow team members to communicate via instant message, GoToMeeting creates a space for online video conferencing, and project management tools like Asana and Dapulse make coordinating projects efficient. With these, employees working remotely, or traveling often, can stay up to speed without a huge influx of emails, projects can be completed faster, and SMB’s can experience significant cost savings.
Today, it’s impossible to avoid such tools, however, while there are many benefits, it is also important to look at the dark side that comes with online-only communications.
Here’s what your organization needs to know about collaboration tools before jumping on board.
Many organizations have staff working out of the office permanently or traveling often. In either case, the ability to work with others from any location is a bonus for anyone. Downtime is reduced and staff has the freedom to be productive when it suits them. Using online collaboration tools can also make conversations run more smoothly, circumventing redundant email chains. This makes it much easier for teams to login and find the information they need without wasting time.
Cons: As is obvious with online tools, face-to-face communication is greatly reduced, which can lead to confusion and misinterpretations. These tools can also create just as many messages as it reduces in email.
Of course keep in mind that some of these negatives can be avoided. For example, don’t completely forget about in-person meetings because there is nothing that can quite replace having a direct conversation. Also ensure that each employee’s responsibilities are clearly stated and that there is an effective team leader keeping track of everyone.
Whether an organization has a traditional workplace or one spread across continents, the use of a project manager can be extremely helpful. With communications and materials all in one space, staff members can easily keep track of pertaining assets and will no longer have to sift through messages on varying platforms, saving valuable time. In general, plans tend to be completed quicker with Project management tools. Those involved can meet or have discussions online without the usual restrictions, for example, clashing schedules.
Cons: Project completion is not up to the application but the people using it. When a team is poorly managed, there is only so much an application with calendars and tasks can do.
As always, traditional communication methods are still important to ensure everyone is on the same page and a conversation can happen. Team Members must be aware of what tasks they are in charge of and when deadlines should be met.
Collaboration tools are becoming a must for the modern workplace. While there are some setbacks, with the right team and a healthy understanding of how to implement new applications and software into your regular workday, the switch can be practically seamless.