While most companies report greater productivity from remote staff, you must remember that managing and engaging remote worker can be a challenge.
6 Features Every Virtual Collaboration Toolkit Should Have
Collaboration tools that empower remote working and virtual workspaces are a must-have for modern businesses - but what functions should they have?
Business and life are changing, more and more organisations are moving toward remote working, and more and more talent from across a globalised world is finding itself employed by organisations on the other side of national borders. The Great Resignation is a testament to the need for organisations to adapt to the requirements of their workforces and to better engage their employees.
All of this and more have made virtual collaboration tools, that close gaps and bring teams together, a must-have for the modern business – small, medium or large. But with even mainstays like Monday.com updating and including additional functionality to make their software more compatible with the needs of the modern and future business, the question is, what functionality should a business look for before choosing a collaboration toolkit and software platform?
Cloud-based resource storage
We all know that knowledge management is important, and that a key component of knowledge management is to make sure that the right information is in the right hands at the right time.
Cloud-based storage ensures that, wherever they are, remote workers have online access to finalised project documents, reference materials, job briefs, workflow templates, best practice workbooks, and more.
Today, many software solutions – as well as all G-suite products – assume access to Google Drive as an online document repository. While this does work well and meets the casual needs of an organisation, a virtual collaboration toolkit is well-served by having its own integrated knowledge repository, for seamless document sharing and editing within the virtual workspace. (For an example of the latter, sign up for the free version of the Papillio Innovation Toolkit and collaboration platform today.)
An effective collaboration platform allows not just collaboration within a team, but also across different collaborative teams. This is especially important in a multi-departmental set-up, where different teams from different areas of specialisation might all be working in concert toward completion of a single large project. For example, marketing and sales teams – despite how closely their roles are linked – often work at cross purposes, driving toward related but disconnected goals. With an effective collaboration platform and supporting processes, collaborative teams like these can remain connected and in communication throughout project and workflow lifecycles, ensuring that they remain on the same page and working toward shared goals.
Whether you maintain permanent teams and fixed departments, or you reform teams and cycle team members by project, keeping teams in alignment allows for modular business structures to maintain cohesion of vision and mission.
Flexible internal messaging
One of the lessons being learned by modern business is that modern schedules don’t always work according to the same time zones. Your marketing manager might live in Toronto with a web designer in New Delhi and an SEO specialist in Melbourne. And while none of them may share more than a handful of hours awake, their collaborative efforts still have to fit within the overall schedule set by the organisation’s goals.
One way of facilitating this is for your collaboration platform to have integrated synchronous and asynchronous communication and collaboration functionality. While services like Google Meets, Zoom, Skype, Whatsapp, and more can be used alongside each other to achieve a similar goal, it’s often a good idea to ensure that there is a single centralised platform through which all communication must pass and therefore be recorded for posterity. The Papillio Innovation Toolkit and Collaboration platform includes video chat, text messaging, and online sticky notes to ensure that remote and geographically diverse teams can seamlessly communicate and collaborate.
Task monitoring and management functionality
Effective collaborative platforms include a top-down view of projects and workflows in progress. No matter how well they function individually, task management functionality ensures that collaborative teams are working toward an overarching goal and meeting their milestones in line with organisational objectives. Task management gives collaboration and transformation leaders the ability to monitor project progress without making teams feel like they are being micromanaged.
With a collaboration platform like Papillio, leaders can conveniently view project timelines and progress on integrated task management boards, via which individual projects can quickly be accessed and drilled down into so that different aspects, stages and current status of the project can be better understood.
Being able to monitor projects from arm’s length allows for management peace-of-mind without making teams and team members feel as though they are constantly under micro-managing oversight.
One of greatest obstacles to introducing new software to an environment is getting people to adopt its use. Oftentimes, platforms are not user friendly or they demand that users understand so much new information that it is so inconvenient to use them, and employees will end up falling back on the makeshift and piecemeal use of technologies and processes they are more familiar with. This means that the cost of new software ends up being wasted, while collaboration takes place “off-site” where it will be inconsistently recorded and outside of the purview of team leaders and the organisation itself.
This will obviously undermine the purpose that the employment of a collaboration platform was intended to serve in the first place.
This is why an organisation should take care to either use collaboration tools that are intuitive to the user and easy to understand, or take the time to comprehensively train and, frequently refresh employees’ knowledge, in the use of the platform of choice.
When we talk about digital whiteboards, we’re talking about having an online space for visual collaboration to take place.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a part of a creative marketing team or if you’re in accounts, strategizing customer retention, humans collaborate and communicate better when we do it with images, graphs, diagrams and other visual references.
On the Papillio platform, our integrated digital whiteboards are referred to as design thinking canvases, and incorporate sticky notes, customisable graphs and diagrams, a library of business function templates, and, of course, video and text chat functionality to aid in synchronous collaboration.
Try our innovation toolkit and collaboration platform today
Try Papillio’s features for free for yourself for an unlimited time, book a demo to better understand how the Papillio Innovation Toolkit enables effective collaboration, or sign yourself and your team up for full access to Papillio today.