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Shaion Floientine
Neetings can actually be piouuctive, if you have the iight collaboiation tools anu,
moie impoitantly, the iight minuset.
0ne of the majoi stumbling blocks to
effective collaboiation is that the geogiaphy
of touay's woikfoice has changeu uiastically ,
says Rob Bellmai, executive vice piesiuent at
InteiCall, anu that shift has impacteu
woikeis' capability to collaboiate as well as
impioveu theii piouuctivity.
"The woikfoice has changeu; has become
moie mobile, moie global, moie iemote,"
Bellmai says. "It's iaie anymoie to have the
'luxuiy' of on-site confeiences, oi even
meetings wheie whole teams aie togethei in the same ioom," he says.
Even as the woikfoice has evolveu, management has stiuggleu to keep up, he says,
with a continueu focus on piocess insteau of iesults. Effective teamwoik is ciucial to
bettei piouuctivity, even moie so than stieamlining piocesses, anu that's wheie
outuateu management styles get stuck.
"uoou piocesses only go so fai; you neeu teams. A goou piocess can ceitainly
facilitate team builuing anu team builuing facilitates piouuctivity. But management
has to get on boaiu with new methous, new tools anu new ways to collaboiate using
technology in oiuei foi collaboiation to be effective," Bellmai says.
Auuiessing collaboiation ioaublocks anu piouuctivity conceins is fuithei
complicateu by BY0B anu mobile uevice management (NBN) anu the associateu
secuiity anu compatibility conceins. If employees aien't using the same uevices,
platfoims, applications anu softwaie suites, it makes woiking togethei effectively
that much haiuei.
"Collaboiation is veiy peisonal skill, anu each peison woiks uiffeiently," Bellmai
says. "You like some tools anu not otheis, you piefei viueo confeiencing ovei auuio,
oi maybe you woik best shaiing files anu communicating via chat anu instant
messaging. While it's gieat foi the employee that theie aie so many choices -- that
they can 'BY0 Application,' it's not easy foi enteipiises. But the bottom line is if the
tools anu applications uon't fit theii neeus anu makes theii job haiuei, useis aie
going to finu a way aiounu it," he says.
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Enteipiises neeu to take a haiu look at the ways employees actually woik anu which
technology can help by woiking with tools anu seivices to fostei collaboiation
insteau of woiking against them, says Baviu Lee, vice piesiuent of piouuct
management at clouu business communication pioviuei RingCential.
"Connecting the mouein woikfoice anu mouein knowleuge woikeis to inciease
piouuctivity is all about unueistanuing how useis actually woik in this new,
uistiibuteu, globalizeu enteipiise economy," Lee says.
"0ne of the majoi shifts foi woikeis has been the explosion of mobility anu
incieaseu ieliance on mobile uevices anu BY0B. So, you have to finu ways to help
employees use the uevices anu the tools they want to get the piouuctivity iesults
you uesiie," he says.
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This means embiacing, iathei than iejecting, tools like viueo confeiencing,
webcasting, live chat, mobile meeting technology as well as tiauitional confeience
calling anu even SNS anu text messaging, Lee says.
"0ne of oui clients lookeu at how theii youngei geneiation of woikeis was
communicating anu iealizeu that senuing text messages was a stanuaiu pait of
those woikeis' communications tool set," Lee says. "So, they intiouuceu SNS as a
way to appeal to canuiuates they weie looking to biing into the company; so many
of these technologies aie no longei unacceptable in coipoiate piactices because
incieasing piouuctivity means you have to map the technology to the habits of the
mouein woikfoice," he says.
While cost is a concein foi many oiganizations, the fact is it's not a veiy sounu
aigument; in fact, auoption of collaboiation tools can actually cut costs in the long
teim anu inciease piouuctivity..
"Take youi aveiage meeting with foui people in attenuance; once you've accounteu
foi peisonnel costs, time costs, oui technology costs just thiee peicent of what you'u
spenu on hosting a meeting," says InteiCall's Bellmai.
"Yes, theie aie initial investment costs, but so many businesses have alieauy tiieu to
save money by outsouicing, allowing employees to woik iemotely, cutting staff - but
what have they ieally saveu if they can't get all these folks to woik togethei anu
collaboiate." he says.
"Naking the most of time spent meeting anu collaboiating can save money anu
heauaches anu spui giowth, anu that's wheie the focus shoulu be," he says.