The Future of Collaboration in the Workplace

By: Becky Lawlor - Leave a comment


Collaboration in the workplace has always been and will continue to be a key driver of innovation. But as the workplace evolves, moving to a less physical environment, so too does workplace collaboration. Businesses are rethinking how employees can collaborate when more work remotely and teams are naturally more dispersed. In turn, they must develop the most effective methods and tools for workers to use in a more digital environment.

Here are several important factors that will influence collaboration and work productivity in the digital workplace:

Employee Experience and Expectation

With remote workers on the rise, the lines between work and home life blend significantly. Technology can keep workers connected at all hours, but as they demand more flexibility and freedom to choose how, where and when work gets done, the company needs mobile resources that empower an efficient digital work environment.

The employee experience, using the tools available to them at work, is becoming a priority for IT. Staff insist that workplace interactions and technologies mirror the engaging and intuitive experiences they enjoy on consumer devices during personal time.

Data-Driven Productivity

Data is increasingly used to make workplace decisions, and not just about consumers. Data helps to determine what workplace tools can garner the most productivity out of staff. And as smart machines integrate into the workplace, the Internet of Things (IoT) could well become a foundation for how work gets done no matter the location. Wearable technology, according to Inc., is suddenly an easier way for managers to track the activity of field workers to ensure jobs are getting done safely and on time.

In this way, sensors and analytical tools will be able to further pinpoint applications and processes that are the most efficient, thus helping businesses hone in on the right applications for specific tasks or work processes.

Cloud Services

There is already a big shift to cloud applications and platforms to provide workers more freedom to work anywhere, anytime, as well as to reduce the burden on IT. File-sharing software such as Dropbox, Box, OneDrive, content management systems and even productivity applications such as Office 365 or Google Work are making collaboration in the workplace simpler and more streamlined for dispersed teams and remote employees.

The same is happening with the availability of numerous cloud-based applications, from content distribution through YouTube and SlideShare to video conferencing on platforms like Google Hangouts (87 percent of remote users feel more connected when using video, according to Cisco).

Cognitive Capabilities

Cognitive systems are only beginning to enter the digital workplace, but there’s an important role for them to fill both today and in the future. Gathering all the data currently collected through smart machines and other analytical tools, cognitive systems can synthesize information to gain deeper insights and learn what the most effective tools and processes are to increase collaboration and productivity. Cognitive systems can help business identify specific tools and tasks for individuals and teams that will enable better efficiency or collaboration, all of which can ultimately lead to greater innovation and higher returns.

Collaboration in the workplace is evolving, as are the technologies people use to collaborate. One thing is certain: The workplace of the future will be smarter and more efficient when devices can understand, learn from and evolve to help drive more productivity from professional behavior that is uniquely human.

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About The Author

Becky Lawlor

Freelance Writer

Becky Lawlor is a freelance technology writer. She develops and writes content on topics such as mobility, cloud services, unified communications, managed services and more.