Long before the pandemic struck, many companies were already looking to digital transformation as a means of saving costs and driving efficiencies.
However, the instruction to work remotely following the emergence of COVID-19, and the impact that this had on workplace culture, left many of those organisations yet to adopt collaborative tech tools with little choice but to do so.
Today, with UK workers spending, on average, just 1.4 days in the office, according to Consultancy Advanced Workplace Associates, the appetite for intuitive software is clearly increasing, and for good reason. A Salesforce study recently found that 86% of employees felt a lack of communication and collaboration had been the cause of workplace failures. This highlights the importance of facilitating team-wide contribution, and demonstrates the need for smart collaborative tools in a modern working environment.
With the popularity of hybrid working continuing to rise, the demand for faster and more efficient tools is constantly growing. So, what does this mean for the future of collaborative technology?
The Impact of Technology on Collaboration
Ever-advancing technology has enabled teams to work together with little friction despite their distance over the past few years. Go Remotely reports that 70% of employees credit digital technology with improving overall collaboration. As such, many businesses have optimised their efforts in this area to ensure fluid communications. Lengthy phone calls have been replaced with instant messaging for fuss-free contact; project management software has made it easier than ever to update colleagues on the status of tasks; and quality video conferencing has cut out futile commutes for time-consuming meetings. Furthermore, a recent Frost & Sullivan study found a 27% increase in sales for companies that prioritise teamwork and collaboration.
The use of collaborative technology not only boosts revenue but can also help businesses save money in other areas too. For example, improved remote processes mean some organisations can afford to downsize their offices, with more employees able to work as effectively from home as from their traditional workplace. In addition, collaboration also inspires better productivity, saves time spent on low-value tasks and reduces in-person meeting costs, which can account for £3,850 per year on average, according to Microsoft.
Investment in the correct tools for collaboration will also improve employee productivity and longevity. The advantages of maintaining a well-connected company can be underestimated, but bit.ai.com says organisations that communicate effectively are 4.5 times more likely to retain their best performers. When evaluating the positive impact of close-knit teams, it becomes clear that companies should dedicate resources to collaborative software to ensure that teams can work at their best.
The use of automation within companies has grown ever-popular, boasting countless benefits for employees and employers alike. Automation can transform a company’s existing workflow for the better. Teams save hours on thankless tasks by using automated services, allowing them the time to focus on jobs that add real value. In addition, manual errors are vastly reduced, scalability is easy to implement, and inherently, the automatic handling of tasks which means rapid resolutions as standard.
As technology becomes more intuitive, expect to see automation introduced across a variety of tasks and functions to save on key resources.
AI to Benefit Human Connection
Contrary to the belief that AI will replace the need for humans in many job roles, it could actually help deepen engagement between employees by offering more efficient collaboration practices. There are many ways AI will shape the future of working and, given that 61% of workers say its adoption has driven productivity, employers will be quick to make use of this technology.
AI can help businesses in ways best suited to their needs. For example, it can transcribe notes from meetings to ensure that everyone has a clear understanding of what has taken place, providing voice-searchable versions too. AI can also be used to boost the quality of video conferencing for a more intuitive experience. According to the Harvard Business Review, Zoom has already adopted AI to improve connections, reduce file sizes and adjust lighting and backgrounds for more professional meetings.
Soon, we will see AI used increasingly for instinctive tasks, meaning better decision-making and improved employee training. Organisations will be able conduct mind mapping sessions and rely on AI to help them whittle down the best ideas by analysing individual factors. In addition, AI functions will identify where people need the most support and offer training with colleagues who are particularly skilled in the area.
All in all, the future of working will lean on AI advancements to buy time for workers who can focus on progression and the principal aspects of their role.
Virtual Reality Keeps Us Connected
While remote working increases the productivity of teams and improves the work-life balance of employees, it is still a relatively new practice. As such, the creases are still being ironed out. This is where Virtual Reality (VR) will come in. Soon, gone will be the days of talking over people on video calls, not having use of a whiteboard during team collaboration sessions, or navigating training from afar. All this can be improved by the introduction of VR, helping to connect teams without them having to make long commutes, or spend an entire day in the office. The increased use of VR in the workplace is likely to be so transformative, ARtillery Intelligence predicting its use in businesses will amount to $4.26 billion in 2023, a jump from $829 million in 2018.
Asynchronous Collaboration to Suit All
Buffer’s State of Remote Work report says that 10% of people find working in different time zones from their colleagues the biggest challenge they face. This is something an increase in asynchronous tools could help to combat. Such tools enable teams to collaborate at separate times and from different places. While we are already familiar with this in terms of email, workplace chat, and project management, there will be an increase in the use of digital whiteboards, async video messaging, and team productivity tools in future.
Asynchronous working isn’t only useful for those working from different locations, but for modern workforces that offer flexibility to employees who want to work at different times in the day. With Gartner reporting that 43% of workers find flexibility helps them to achieve greater productivity; this is something that is worth the investment for employers.
As businesses strive to ensure that new ways of working can offer consistency and clarity for employees, collaborative tools will certainly have an increased presence within most companies over the next few years and beyond. With this, the services on offer will only improve as tech companies compete to ensure they can provide their customers with state-of-the-art tools.
How can Vantage 365 help you?
Vantage 365 is a specialist consultancy that helps businesses of all sizes get the most from their investment in Microsoft 365’s robust suite of business tools and productivity apps. Our team of expert consultants has years of experience creating customised solutions, applications and strategies to optimise our clients’ technology, capabilities, and performance.
Our mission is to help every client reach their true potential by future-proofing their business and enabling them to thrive in today’s digital landscape. From small businesses to large enterprises, we understand that each company has unique needs and goals, and we work closely with our clients to develop tailored solutions that address their specific challenges.
Whether streamlining workflows, improving collaboration, or enhancing security, we have the expertise to maximise the benefits businesses receive from their investment in Microsoft 365. Our commitment to ongoing support and service ensures that our clients continue to achieve success and stay ahead of the curve in today’s rapidly evolving business environment.
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