The Future of Collaboration In the Workplace

The future of workplace collaboration is largely digital but that doesn’t necessarily mean the entire workforce will be working from home. It also doesn’t mean that businesses won’t be able to find uses for commercial office space.

In the future, businesses will have to evaluate what components of in-person work they need to survive and which ones they can eliminate and convert to digital processes. The companies that do this most effectively will emerge from the digital workplace era victorious.

Future of Collaboration In the Workplace

An example of the digital tools companies can incorporate into their infrastructure include collaboration apps and cloud-based communication.

Asynchronous Collaboration

Brainstorming sessions used to take the better part of a day to complete. Now, with remote work, these sessions have become much more challenging. Video calls and phone calls simply don’t cut it when compared to face-face-face collaboration. Having team members in multiple locations further complicates matters.

More practical approaches include posting a shared whiteboard or video where team members can share their thoughts on their own time so their colleagues can observe their peers’ input whenever they please. The app hosts the video or whiteboard and then notifies team members of the latest round of updates.

At the end of the new idea’s journey, a meeting can be arranged, considering the time zones of each team member involved. The meeting finalizes the decision based on the exchange of the ideas centered on the whiteboard or video.

Asynchronous collaboration presents a solution to the increasingly problematic area of remote work that makes brainstorming difficult.

Huddle Rooms

Pre-pandemic, huddle rooms were more popular than ever. The pandemic put this development on hold. However, the delay is most likely temporary. Huddle rooms will likely see a resurgence so companies can split their workforce between on-premise and remote workers.

Gone are the days of cubicles with open-office floor plans. However, recent studies display the efficacy of open offices and many organizations are resorting to huddle rooms as a way to bridge the gap between the aversion toward cubicle style offices and the benefits they provide.

Huddle rooms are essentially smaller conference roms with audio-visual equipment where teams can host impromptu meetings.

Huddle rooms can simplify the organization of quick meetings and provide confidential discussions, allowing for more productive brainstorming sessions. These meetings also take up less commercial real estate space.

Distributed Workforce

The number of remote workers is only expected to increase in the coming years. Distributed teams offer benefits to employers and employees alike. For workers, these options give them the flexibility to work wherever they want and at the employees’ preferred pace.

To respond to some of the challenges of remote work, companies are turning to collaboration apps and other measures that make collaboration easier and more achievable.

Corporate Social Networking

Social media isn’t going anywhere. Internet users spend 30% of their online time on social media to connect with friends and family, but it’s not just about personal interactions anymore. The further social media establishes its place in society, the more applications it has for the professional world.

Many companies are already using social collaboration tools such as Workplace by Facebook to make their efforts more engaging.

Using these platforms employees can share documents and photos, post status updates, and set up group chats like they would in social media accounts. The only difference is that these platforms focus on work-related topics.

With these apps, collaboration can feel like less than a chore and more of a social activity with peers. Because employees are already familiar with the interfaces of these sites, implementing them for internal communication should be easy.

However, there is still a generational gap that comes with these platforms. Baby boomers, for example, aren’t naturally inclined towards working with social media as a collaborative tool. Roughly 30% of millennials and gen-Xers used instant messaging every day for work-related purposes. Only 12% do the same.

Cloud-Based Communication

Legacy infrastructures are fast approaching the end. The demand for workplace flexibility and operational agility is higher than ever and more businesses are switching from on-premise collaboration tools to cloud-based communications software solutions.

Online tools are fast-approaching the point at which they pass legacy solutions in terms of market share. Cloud-based communication keeps workers in touch and gives them more convenient access to each other. These tools serve as databases where employees can upload and access their files as quickly as possible.

These tools also allow workers to send real-time updates on their tasks, centralizing your workplace communication between in-house and remote employees via desktop and mobile devices. This frees employees up to travel more and it simplifies brainstorming.

Smart Meeting Rooms

You can see the future of collaboration in smart meeting rooms. Virtual assistants and interactive whiteboards offer intelligent scheduling and 360-degree cameras, giving you access to new technologies that equip your rooms with all you need.

Having these tools at your disposal, you can transcribe meetings manually or pull data from past projects. Annotate charts and present them by using a smart stylus. Use IoT to connect all of your techs with the rest of your system. Relaying information this way ensures all of your software solutions get synchronized as fast as possible.

The more technology you have that employees can use to their advantage, the more satisfied they will be.

Key Takeaways

The future of collaboration in the workforce is largely digital, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not on-premise. Though the workforce of old- the cubicle-style office setting where everyone had to come into the office to complete their job- is over, there is still room for expansion in the in-person model.

Companies should utilize elements such as smart meeting rooms and huddle rooms to ensure their employees still have the option to meet in person to brainstorm and problem solve.

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About the author

Vidya Menon

Vidya is an online content developer for Justwebworld. She has a BA in English Language and Literature and an MA in Current Linguistics. She is a passionate reader, writer and researcher with a background in academic writing.