Workplace collaboration has evolved, and now includes a variety of technologies that allow employees to collaborate, engage and work together. The audio conference of yesteryear is being replaced with many different unified communications and collaboration (UC&C) tools that are increasingly shaping the workplace by creating efficient and effective communications solutions for global employees.
Having the ability to effectively collaborate in the office is a must for employees, and employers play a large part in making that possible. An increasing amount of knowledge workers are working remote and telecommuting (a recent survey found 79 percent of working from home at least one day a week) which means that a variety of communications options must exist to foster creative collaboration. Within offices, employees should be presented with options such as audio conferencing, project management tools, video, IM and team workspaces to help foster collaboration.
So forget the now-outdated image of a bunch of people sitting in a room loudly talking to a phone and struggling to hear what’s being said on the other end. Today’s collaboration looks completely different.
Bringing Different Tools Together
UC&C is changing the modern office by not only improving teamwork but also by bringing together employees that may be separated by thousands of miles into what is essentially the same room. The technologies that make up UC&C allow teams—both remote and in-house—to collaborate in the ways that work best for them. As collaboration tools continue to grow to meet the unique needs of the modern employee, their reach will further expand to include an increasing variety of devices and communication methods.
For example, with the practical ubiquity of easy-to-use video conferencing, employees now have the choice to always see each other face-to-face. Collaboration-centric project management tools allow employees to work together on documents, incorporate edits and suggestions and track comments and changes without needing to physically be present. Employees can chat with each other via IM, saving time and leading to quick solutions for pressing questions.
Collaboration in the workplace is becoming more and more vital. As a result, employees that are adopting unified messaging, video conferencing and mobile solutions are becoming increasingly productive and effective.
The Virtual Conference Room
However, the advancement of UC&C doesn’t mean that the conference room experience is going away entirely. Those still enamored with the conference call can find themselves at home in virtual conference rooms, where technologies like video, audio, chat and more come together in an online environment that simulates sitting around a table together.
In other words, in spite of being enabled by a variety of complex technologies, the ultimate goal for UC&C should be for the technology to get out of the way, allowing teams to collaborate and communicate exactly how they would if they were together physically:
- On a web conference, everyone sits in the same “room” to go through presentations, discuss projects and brainstorm new ideas.
- An IM represents the “drive-by” at a desk for a quick answer or clarification.
- The online team workspace is the digital whiteboard, allowing a centralized location for brainstorms and important ideas.
As complex as modern business collaboration can seem, the end goal is unchanged: helping employees come together more effectively. And for now, that future is being driven by the flexibility and versatility of UC&C.
For more insights on changing trends in business collaboration, download the free eBook “The Future of Business Collaboration: 2015 Edition” today!
This post originally appeared on CIO.com’s Collaboration Nation blog, sponsored by PGi.