Digital collaboration can serve multiple purposes that will help you optimize your daily routine. For starters, it will help you create a seamless information flow and establish the finest of communication channels.
In turn, these will stimulate overall productivity and create a sense of purpose for all employees. Whenever there is the need to solve a problem, the employees will jointly address it.
Due to all these benefits, digital collaboration can reduce costs greatly. So, why is it not used to its full potential?
For one thing, the pre-Google generation still remembers how things used to be done in the past and honestly, many great things about utilizing our brain cells remain unbeatable by the AI-served solutions.
However, the fact that just one small folder replaces the dreaded file cabinets of the past makes us truly grateful for the present-day technology.
To fully utilize digital collaboration and avoid getting stupefied in the process, you need to understand its benefits and pitfalls first.
What Is Digital Collaboration?
The term collaboration by definition implies teamwork. Different individuals coming together to achieve a shared goal or purpose is what collaboration is all about. Digital collaboration is the same thing, except the said individuals use different online apps, tools and platforms to achieve the shared vision.
In short, everything from online communication (instant messaging, conferencing, meetings, emailing) to project management (Asana, Slack, Trello) to daily onsite operations falls under the term digital collaboration.
Because it encompasses a wide range of activities, digital collaboration encompasses the usage of numerous tools.
Benefits of Digital Collaboration
1. Information Flow
Digital collaboration connects multiple teams and divisions within a business. When they’re not synced and aligned with company goals, things tend to get complicated. The main reason why this happens is the disruption in information flow. With the help of a number of apps and tools, information can be easily shared and accessed across the board.
2. Professional Communication
Communication breakdowns can be rather common if proper strategies aren’t set in place. Digital collaboration has managed to solve that problem by introducing virtual rooms. By attending online meetings, employees can not only communicate in an effective way, but they can also brainstorm ideas for multiple departments.
Another important aspect is business email. While email correspondence serves a rather different purpose, the fact remains that many things are being discussed over it. By establishing proper netiquette and templates, email communication has never been more effective or indeed easier.
3. Remote Work
The benefits of remote work have become apparent to the masses just recently. Nowhere is the importance of digital collaboration more obvious than in case of remote work (as seen on the example of dazed and confused old-school employees who were forced to turn to remote work due to the pandemic and were having difficulties coping with the change).
With outsourcing going strong, the need for innovative digital collaboration tools is getting stronger by the minute. In a sense, digital collaboration is a continual process of getting accustomed to new, more complex apps.
4. File Sharing
As mentioned above, file sharing has never been easier, and thank god for that! Digital document collaboration is, so to speak, the first step towards improving pretty much all types of business processes.
This aspect of digital collaboration seems to be advancing at the fastest pace. Only a couple of years back, we were using USB sticks and external HDDs. Now we use cloud services that are easily accessible from anywhere and by anyone.
5. Seamless Real-Time Task Tracking
Who knows how many precious hours a day used to be lost only on project updates before digital collaboration times. All those daily meetings were wasted on updating everyone about every chunk of the project.
The good news is: digital collaboration has made workflow tracking as easy as it gets. From document revisions by multiple contributors to specialized tools like Asana, every step of the process is now easily understandable and adjustable in real-time.
6. Reducing Costs
Digital collaboration contributes to huge savings, chiefly in the following departments:
· Commuting costs
· Travel expenses
· Office finances
· Daily expenditure
The latter two cover a wide range of costs that continually add up: from consumables (tea, coffee, snacks, etc.) to stationery to more palpable costs (office rent, utility bills, telephone bills, etc.).
7. Using Templates and Time-Saving Tools
Much has been said about cost reductions brought about by digital collaboration, but the other hugely significant factor — time-saving — mustn’t be overlooked by any means.
Digital collaboration saves time. It is so good at it that more and more businesses are turning to remote work as their main modus operandi.
And while time saved on commuting is glaringly obvious, other seemingly smaller feats are often forgotten. What about Gmail templates, for example? Do you remember the times when each and every email had to be written from scratch? Think about all those poor customer representatives who were always at their wit's end.
8. Optimizing the Employee Experience
First of all, a digital collaboration done the right way boosts employee engagement. Since a great many processes are simplified, people are left with more time to spend on brainstorming and actually giving their best to their tasks.
Further out, the utilization of sophisticated employee analytics can help policymakers keep track of employee productivity, effectiveness and engagement. Common metrics include total collaboration hours, engagement with company communications, productivity, attrition, engagement, training and compensation.
When these metrics are used to improve work experience and deal with eventual drawbacks, they can truly boost business productivity.
9. Improved Business Execution
Last but not least, digital collaboration can improve business execution with ease. With the world going increasingly mobile, everyone can now tackle any urgent issue on the go wherever they are.
This doesn’t mean that people never have any time off. Rather, it means that managers who spend lots of time attending one meeting or another can get instant information on their mobile devices and act upon it immediately.
These would be some of the most notable benefits of digital collaboration. Knowledge sharing, improved communication, heightened engagement, etc. are only some of the key factors that can bring your business to a whole new level.
The key takeaway is: don’t forget the human factor. Set up a regular feedback system to never forget you’re still working with people who have their concerns, suggestions and complaints. Use digital collaboration to grow your company alongside your workforce so that it becomes the best workplace for all. In this way, you’ll also keep retention in check.