Remote collaboration: what technology approach holds the secret of success?

Australians and New Zealanders – and workers around the world – have never done this much homeworking before. That means never seen more need for effective remote collaboration – and you’ve probably thinking hard about what tools you need to manage it in your organisation.

There certainly are plenty of choices on offer – the technology that really gets people talking has developed a long way in the last ten years.

So in creating the perfect remote collaboration environment, there are 3 big challenges to tackle:

1. Grabbing the best tools for the job
2. Making sure your workers engage with them easily
3. Making sure your approach is secure, cost-effective, reliable and sustainable.

So what ARE the best tools for the job?

That depends on what you want them to do. Start by looking at where your business activities lie:

Done? Now you’ve got a clearer idea of what technology you might need.

But what about points 2 and 3 – engaging your workers and ensure your approach is secure, cost effective, reliable and sustainable?

These important issues have the same solution – a combination of:

  • excellent co-ordination of people and their technology
  • clear communication of aims and processes
  • careful monitoring of outcomes
  • robust reporting to inform better decisions.
This is why.

Workers who are receive proper training – and find their technology intuitive to use – are more likely to engage with it and use it fully.

Video conferencing is one good example. Studies show that people may sometimes be reluctant to set up a video conference if it’s time-consuming or complicated – but if it takes just minutes, that obstacle is removed.

On a broader level, monitoring usage as well as measuring outcomes and productivity gives you a good view of whether your approach is cost-effective and also helps you with planning decisions.

This is where integrated workspace technology comes in.

Effective collaboration involves bringing together not just your people, but also key elements from range of technologies.

Discover why work is now what we do – not where we go.

The challenge occurs when a project requires a number of colleagues to collaborate in different locations and time zones, video or audio conferencing.

Many organisations have found out the hard way during this crisis that successful agile working is not just a matter of giving your staff a laptop and downloading Skype – that’s just a recipe for creating chaos.

Homeworking and remote collaboration need to be properly organised and supported if you really want efficient, productive, sustainable and healthy ways of working.

Learn more about an integrated workplace.

Bringing all the elements together

Effective remote collaboration means drawing your people and technology together harmoniously, even in multiple locations and time zones.

Attempting to do this with non-integrated technology is difficult, as anyone will tell you who has ever had to call five PAs around the world to set up a video conference.

Even Outlook has certain limitations when it comes to adding elements such as food and beverages for a meeting in several locations, or for making sure essential equipment is available.

Using meeting room scheduling software that integrates with all of your office systems, including your Outlook calendar, takes away a lot of the difficulty.

By displaying colleague, room and equipment availability in real-time, it enables your meeting organiser to locate and book space in a few minutes, and send out all the invitations.

Quality meeting room scheduling software integrates with Exchange and Outlook 365, giving users a familiar interface, and also integrates with collaboration aids such as ZOOM, Microsoft Teams and Skype.

See how technology enables Amy’s agile working day

Key benefits of having the integrated approach to remote collaboration

An integrated approach cuts out plenty of stress – whether it’s in the scheduling process or during the initiation of the call – and gets the required people into the right space, with the correct facilities and services to hand, at the right time.

It sets the bar for the perfect meeting experience and delivers:

  • Clarity for all participants about the meeting and resources required
  • Automatic notifications for everyone if there are changes to times and locations
  • Including services as part of a single meeting booking transaction
  • A secure, welcoming visitor experience, with self-check-in to rooms and spaces
  • Better workforce performance with less wasted time, improving productivity and potentially reducing indirect operation costs
  • Reports on how your space and resources are being utilized.
Case study: Integrated meeting room scheduling software and ZOOM

ZOOM has had a huge uptake during the virus crisis and has been chosen by individuals, SMEs and corporate users for its ease of use, reliability and quality.
So we considered the positive implications and user experience of bridging our workplace technology and ZOOM.

As this illustration shows, an integrated approach for meeting and room scheduling means it’s simple to organise and operate an efficient video conference.

The integrated approach with room meeting room scheduling software allows day-to-day scheduling from one interface, whether it’s planned or ad hoc and the same simple process can be used to organise and run collaborative meetings.

Looking forward to the future

During the coronavirus crisis, many organisations have felt lucky they had meeting room scheduling software already in place because it has made for a smoother transition to home working and remote collaboration.

Other businesses, unsupported by the technology, have cobbled together remote operating and made a slow journey towards something like business as usual.

Workers have become used to FaceTime instead of face to face; possibly even started to enjoy being at home instead of being stuck in traffic.

Whichever category your business falls into, you have probably noticed that there are some interesting possibilities.

The potential for reducing your real estate costs, maybe, or the potential to improve worker retention: contented, unstressed people tend to stay put. Maybe you’ve even noticed unexpected improvements in productivity.

As we emerge from this crisis – and we will, even if it takes while – take a few moments to assess this giant worldwide agile working and remote collaboration experiment, and consider how it might benefit you.

Now is the perfect time to start planning the future shape of your operations, and selecting the right technology tools for the job – and during that process, don’t forget to keep integration at the top of your mind.