We live and work in a world of constant connections, where technology keeps us tied into what’s happening at home, the office and around the world 24/7/365. We’re never more than a smartphone notification or desktop alert away from the latest project updates, document revisions, action items and decisions, regardless of when, where or how we choose to work. These overlapping, interconnected technologies allow to tear down any and all boundaries between us and getting our work done.
Let’s take a look at how collaboration solutions break down the walls:
Boundaries of Geography
This is probably the most obvious one, however the point is still very much worth making in today’s workplace of flex work, globally dispersed teams and telecommuters. Collaboration solutions take the “where” out of the equation. It doesn’t matter where you are, or where I am or where the meeting is. I can join from my smartphone, you from your laptop and the Europe team from a conference room and we can all have the same, consistent features and experience. That’s what the power and accessibility of the cloud allows us to do.
Boundaries of Time
There are a couple of different ways that time can get in our way in the workplace. For example, time zones can make collaborating on projects or scheduling meetings a huge headache; someone is inevitably left out in the cold (or more specifically, left waking up early, staying late, or having night-time meetings).
Collaboration technology can remove the problems of time by offering both synchronous and asynchronous options that make it easier to juggle and balance multiple projects with multiple teams. Instead of forcing the Asia team to wake up in the middle of the night for a conference call, they can instead leave comments and revisions on a document within a shared team workspace or corporate intranet, where they will be waiting for the North America group to review and integrate when their workday begins.
Boundaries of Workstyle
Finally, our last set of boundaries are of the more social and cultural variety. Employees, even ones on the same team, have different ways they prefer to get work done. Some people always want to get into a room and hash problems out, while others prefer to think on a problem and weigh in on their own time. Without various collaboration outlets available, these differences can quickly turn into clashes, impacting productivity, team cohesiveness and overall morale.
These workstyle boundaries can be all but erased with various collaboration paths available to team members. The meeting-averse can live their days in IMs and team workspaces, collaborating in near-time on documents and projects at their own pace (and in their own comfort zone). The outspoken extroverts can hop into ad hoc video meetings to brainstorm and kick around ideas with their team, seamlessly diving into the environment where their personalities shine.
None of these boundaries–of geography, time and culture–can withstand the productivity windfall that collaboration can bring. As we inch ever-closer to a truly converged collaboration environment, our constant connections will get smarter and more efficient, bringing us all into the seamlessly online future of work.
For more insights and analysis on the converged future of collaboration, download our free eBook today.