How Technology Is Changing Workplace Collaboration
Collaboration in the workplace creates a wide variety of benefits, including stimulating creativity, enabling flexibility, encouraging risk taking, and building trust, teamwork, and conflict resolution skills among employees. Collaboration can also create efficiency, and often appeals to younger employees entering the workforce.
Technology is increasing the ability of organizations to implement collaboration as an organizational and cultural ideal. Technology-enhanced collaboration includes file sharing, task and project tracking, and working together at different times and from different locations.
Evolution of Collaboration
In work environments of the past, employees often worked in offices with doors or closed cubicles that kept them separate. These closed-off environments put up walls that slowed collaboration and the flow of ideas among employees.
Companies are increasingly moving toward environments that foster collaboration, with shared work spaces that encourage employees to discuss ideas and strategies. Technology further encourages collaboration by removing virtual walls that inhibit the flow of information and keep files locked in servers or on computers.
Technology’s Role in Collaboration
The rise of the Internet has created possibilities for collaboration that didn’t exist before, and has changed the way employees work together within organizations. The growth of mobility has made it possible for employees to work from anywhere while still sharing files and information as if they were sitting next to a coworker in an office. Technology has transformed collaboration, and even changed the way teams are built within companies and how projects are shared and tracked.
One offshoot of collaboration technology is the social intranet. A social intranet is a company intranet that allows employees to create work and share it easily with colleagues. These intranets expand on traditional intranets that incorporate strict restrictions on who can create and edit files and limit connections among users.
Capabilities enabled by the Internet, mobility, and social intranets include immediate file sharing, continuous support, virtual meetings, online forums and communities, and remote capabilities, making it easy for employees to share ideas and collaborate on projects.
The Attitude of Collaboration
Like any technology innovation, collaboration tools are only useful if employees embrace them and use them to their fullest potential. Deploying tools should be accompanied by efforts to change the workplace, including providing training targeted at changing employee habits and behaviors.
An effective deployment of technology enhanced collaboration means accepting that technology is always changing and being prepared to adopt and deploy new technologies as they become available. Contact us to learn more about workplace collaboration aided by technology.