- Microsoft Teams, Slack, Zoom, Asana and more — all have entered the workforce lexicon as leaders find their footing in the future of work.
- Speaking with Allwork.Space’s Future of Work Podcast, award-winning author Phil Simon describes how businesses can identify the best resources for the modern work era, and how to fully reap the benefits of collaboration.
- From there, leaders need to identify other factors that could impact their decision, such as budget, plus previous utilization of other hubs and communicative needs.
A 2021 Gartner survey shows that nearly 80% of workers rely on collaboration tools at their jobs — a 44% spike from pre-pandemic levels.
It’s no surprise either.
The workforce continues to spread its wings further, with coworkers likely to be operating in various time zones more than ever before. While this opens up a world of limitless possibilities, it also means that companies must heavily rely on collaborative technology to ensure operations remain autonomous, productive and lucrative.
Speaking with Allwork.Space’s Future of Work Podcast, award-winning author Phil Simon describes how businesses can identify the best resources for the modern work era and how to fully reap the benefits of collaboration.
Some quotes have been edited for length and clarity
Gadgets And Gizmos Aplenty
Microsoft Teams, Slack, Zoom, Asana and more — all have entered the workforce lexicon as leaders find their footing in the future of work.
All provide their fair share of offerings, from video chats to file sharing, but the abundance of options can often leave businesses feeling overwhelmed with choices. Pair this with the increased number of independent contractors and freelancers joining a company’s team, and finding a consistent tool becomes incredibly difficult.
“[Decision] fatigue is a real thing,” said Simon. “In a famous experiment at a mall maybe 20 years ago… they put out 20 different types of jam and they said to people, “Please try the jam and buy whatever one you liked.’”
Faced with a bountiful harvest of flavors, just 10% of people bought a jam. However, when provided with just six jam options, around 40% to 50% ended up making a purchase as “they felt better and more confident about their decision.”
The same process can be applied when deciding on the right collaboration tools to apply. But how can businesses narrow down the field to avoid decision-making paralysis?
Honing In On The Right Tools
The first step in finding the software or programs that work for a company is to keep in mind what will best serve members from all teams.
From there, leaders will need to identify other factors that could impact their decision, such as budget, previous utilization of other hubs and communicative needs.
Depending on the size and success of a business, budget can play an enormous role in any company decision made, particularly those that help with operations.
For instance, if a startup is just getting off the ground with limited backing, they may opt for Slack’s free option to get the collaborative ball rolling.
On the other hand, a well-established business may find free versions of collaboration software to be restrictive. With hundreds of employees and numerous teams trying to stay on the same page, upgrading to a paid version of Zoom and Asana is certainly ideal.
Previous utilization of hubs
Experience can also impact which collaborative software to use.
Taking into account how well current and future employees interact with collaboration tools can make all the difference in how well they help with business operations.
But this doesn’t necessarily mean shunning a program just because an employee isn’t sure how to use it — training and highlighting the perks of using tools is critical to avoid workplace stress and burnout.
Simon recalls a healthcare organization that reached out to him for training advice following the release of his book.
“[They] wanted to cover it in one hour,” said Simon.
Of the topics they were interested in learning about within that hour?
“Zoom, Microsoft Teams, I think it was One Note and then how computers work. All four of those things in an hour…If you think that a bunch of nurses in a pandemic working 12 hours a day, are then going to come home and read my book and process it? I don’t think you’re a sane individual.”
The last critical factor that impacts a business’s collaboration software pick is communication and consistency.
Without receiving feedback from employees and their specific needs, leaders are doing little to ensure that collaboration is effective at work.
But perhaps more importantly, managers need to set examples in the use of these tools.
“You’ve got senior executives who set terrible examples,” said Simon.
“They say we need to collaborate more…We should all be using Microsoft Teams, but then they use email for critical communication. [That] sets an example that trickles down to the other layers of the organization that these other tools are optional.”