Over the past couple of years, it became evident that individual productivity isn’t tied to offices. In fact, according to a Future of Work survey, most employees feel just as, if not more, productive when working remotely. They also feel happier in the new environment and appreciate the reduced time spent on commuting. Remote work has proven to be advantageous. However, there’s no denying that it is still seen as a barrier to effective collaboration in the workplace.
Forward-thinking businesses have been able to navigate the ever-evolving challenges of remote collaboration by improving their processes and optimizing existing collaborative tools. Using tools like Microsoft SharePoint, Teams, One Drive, and more – to foster a strong virtual collaboration environment.
There’s a lot that all of us can learn from these businesses, and teams using Microsoft 365 tools are already halfway there! Read on to discover the formula for the other half.
Here are your 5 tips
If you want to continuously deliver improved products and services, your teams need to be able to collaborate effectively in the workplace.
This means that teams can work together efficiently, regardless of where they are, to achieve shared goals. They can communicate key action plans, respond to changes and blockers, and leverage their respective skills and talent to deliver greater business impacts and drive company performance.
A lot of companies assume that cutting-edge technology is the way to help employees collaborate. The key to effective collaboration is to ensure that you’re an enabler of improved processes.
1. Make Sure that There’s Consistent Feedback
Feedback is key in ensuring continued learning across an organization. Employees that have a clear understanding of their current performance and are given pointers on how they can improve, feel more motivated to do their best.
In a virtual collaboration environment especially, feedback must be your currency. For team members to feel supported, seen, and held accountable, a consistent feedback cycle is essential. Regulated check-ins or 1:1 sessions help them stay on track and meet or even exceed expectations.
You can leverage Teams and Skype’s direct call features to help you deliver verbal feedback. Outlook and SharePoint can be used to share written feedback.
2. Eliminate Communication Barriers Across Teams
Nearly 30% of projects fail due to ineffective communication as reported by PMI. Every so often, employees fail to communicate with other team members effectively. This is due to discussions and conversations happening across multiple channels at once with little to no synchronization of information.
Some employees use email and forget to include all team members involved; some use instant messaging channels outside of work, which limits others from tracking the discussion; and some don’t even know which channel to use to start a discussion.
Businesses need to focus on creating a culture of structured communication processes using tools like Teams and Outlook. You can use the Outlook Groups feature to create group chats and launch a dedicated collaboration space based on discussions in Teams, SharePoint, or even Planner.
3. Help Remote Team Members Connect to the Right Field Experts in Real-time
Difficulty in connecting to the right field experts, especially when everyone is remote and using different collaboration tools is also a barrier to effective communication.
Being able to directly sync up with the right colleague can save everyone a lot of time when searching for information. It could also eliminate the need to ask other colleagues about who they should contact to address their needs.
A lot of businesses fail to see how this issue can lead to major frustrations in the long run. An app like User Profiles for Confluence enables Confluence users to connect directly with Microsoft 365 users via Teams.
Using the app in Confluence, you can add extra fields to display an employee’s role in their profile cards and pull contact information to make it easier for users from both platforms to connect.
4. Provide Team Members with Quick Access to Information
While the lack of information synchronicity leads to ineffective communication, the lack of quick access to information leads to workflow disruption and reduced productivity.
One of the biggest issues for Teams users is the lack of tracking capability over links shared in a channel which leads to duplicated sharing or even abandonment of the source altogether. When you share a link in a channel, not everyone will tune in and click on it (or save it) immediately because everyone attends to chat messages at different times.
If other messages flood in after a link is shared, users will need to scroll back up until they find the link, which is time-consuming, to say the least. Making information search efficient is key; an app like Link Spotter can easily resolve this issue.
Link Spotter helps users easily spot links shared in a channel by compiling them all under a single tab. Users can also directly work with the links they’ve spotted from the tab.
5. Ensure That There’s a Single Source of Truth
Another issue with information sharing or institutional knowledge management is the lack of information validity.
This is especially true for businesses with teams residing on more than one collaboration platform: like SharePoint and Confluence. When these teams need to collaborate, document sharing becomes a challenging task because there’s no way of tracking document updates across both platforms.
Users will then tend to share these files on private communication channels or through personal drives which make it hard to verify the latest version of a document.
A single source of truth (SSoT) should be maintained during collaboration to eliminate duplicated documentation efforts and protect information validity. The best way to do this is to integrate both SharePoint and Confluence to improve collaboration processes between the users.
One of the most effective apps that enable this integration is SharePoint Connector for Confluence. The app enables you to embed, share, edit, upload, and browse SharePoint documents in Confluence and vice versa. The app also has a free 30-day trial period, so check it out!
Collaborate Effectively with the Right Strategies
Teamwork is an essential aspect of business success, and it’s a concept that’s constantly evolving in response to digitalization and the remote work revolution.
Organizations need to implement strong team collaboration strategies that are flexible, effective, and sustainable. With the help of the apps suggested above, you can consistently be an enabler of effective collaboration across teams.