Exploring the Common Strategies Modern Teams Use to Enhance Digital Collaboration
By Anna Johansson
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Communication is more important than ever before. And with so many different communicative channels and digital platforms, trying to organize and direct messaging can prove to be a major challenge.
5 Digital Collaboration Tactics
Digital collaboration is a powerful weapon. It can either be destructive, or it can be used for good. Here are some helpful tips you can use to ensure your team benefits as much as possible:
1. Implement a Social Intranet
Are you familiar with social intranet software? It’s basically a collaboration platform that’s designed to help businesses and teams organize and consolidate employee communication for safe, efficient, and distraction-free collaboration. It’s like a private, self-contained social networking platform.
If you’re going to implement a social intranet, take the time to do your due diligence and determine which one is best for your team. There are a lot of basic options out there that look good, but lack serious features. Avoid these at all costs. Instead, go with a solution that has rich functionality. A platform like Happeo, which connects with the full G Suite of products, is a good example of social intranet software that adds tangible value.
2. Cut Down on Emails
How many hundreds or thousands of emails are shared between your team on a daily basis? And how significantly do they impact productivity, efficiency, and output?
Email is useful, but it can quickly become problematic. And if your team is struggling to communicate well, email overload could be holding you back. This is a symptom of a much larger issue.
“If your organization has ambiguous decision-making processes and people don’t get what they need from their colleagues, they’ll flood the system with email and meeting requests,” Amy Gallo writes for Harvard Business Review. “People then get mired down in their backlog, which leads to even more email and meeting requests from frustrated co-workers trying to follow up.”
The solution is to establish the right processes on the back end. This means hiring people you trust and are willing to give autonomy to. Then on the front end, team members need to be encouraged to respond to emails quickly and efficiently. This saves time, cuts down on meetings, and eliminates the need for more back and forth messaging.
3. Pick Up the Phone (When Necessary)
As convenient as email, SMS, and other forms of digital contact are, they can’t accomplish nearly as much as a phone call. In situations where a digital conversation requires a lot of back and forth, it’s much more efficient to pick up the phone.
Set the expectation for your team that phone calls are to be quick and straight to the point. There shouldn’t be any need for small talk or formalities. When people know that they can make a call and get a direct response without all the wasted words, they’re much more likely to collaborate in this way.
4. Establish Clear Approval Processes
Systems create predictability, which reduces friction and provides people with the freedom to fulfill their job responsibilities to the best of their abilities. Thus, one of the best ways to enhance digital collaboration is to get real clear on what approval processes look like.
There should be a consistent and predictable approval process for everything your team touches. Whether it’s a creative project – like content, marketing, or advertising – an HR process, or a financial issue, clearly outlined systems go a long way towards giving people the freedom and confidence to act without hesitation.
5. Use Electronic Signatures
This should go without saying in 2020, but it’s amazing how many businesses are still using ink signatures, physical documents, and fax machines to sign off on paperwork. Not only is it inefficient, but it’s also wasteful.
Electronic signatures exist for a reason. They’re easy, they save time and paper, and they make remote collaboration a breeze. If you haven’t already, you must make the switch!
Cutting Through the Noise
At the end of the day, it’s all about finding a system that works for your team. When you do this, everything else has a way of falling into place with less friction and superior results. Hopefully this article has provided you with some helpful ideas. Feel free to implement a few of them, but also look for additional ways you can drown out the noise and maximize productivity.
No two teams will have the same strategy. What will yours be?
Anna is a freelance writer, researcher, and business consultant. A columnist for Entrepreneur.com, TheNextWeb.com and more, Anna specializes in entrepreneurship, technology, and social media trends. Follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.