Collaboration When Distance Is an Issue

 

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Collaborating between remote teams

 

Today, with the Cloud and the myriad of collaborative software programs, the issue of dealing with team projects involving people all over the country, or perhaps all over the world, is much easier to deal with. We have clients at Central Comm who have offices all over and they provide us with the information we need in order to facilitate a great customer experience. But they don’t always have the tools in place to do the same thing for their branch offices. So how do they solve this issue?

The first thing to do is to go out and investigage. Talk to other companies who are going through the same thing, or build a Facebook Group where people can offer solutions and work arounds to each other. You can share with other companies, or keep the group invitation only and admit the people in your corporation, and not share with others. That is up to your company’s policy.

I have found collaborating with independent contractors a great experience. Many of them  are willing to share with others tools they have found to be helpful. It is sometimes challenging to collaborate with others who arent close to us physcially, but there is an excitement that comes with teaming up with a geographically diverse group  while working towards the same goal. I am also constantly searching different sites to get a glimpse of how they handle these situations. One such post I found which resonatated with me is from Comcast. It offers several different points on how to deal with this issue:

from Inc Magazine, Content Sponsored by Comcast Business

Collaboration can mean the difference between success or failure in an organization. In fact, one survey found that 86 percent of people attribute workplace failures to lack of collaboration.

In today’s era of distributed teams and remote workers, technology plays an essential role in collaboration; it can shake up the status quo in a good way. For instance, tools employing artificial intelligence remove the drudgery and add predictive suggestions, making collaboration faster and easier. And today there are new types of collaboration tools which weren’t around a few years ago.

Here are five collaboration tools that will disrupt your business in the best way possible.

Video Conferencing Tools

Not that long ago, video conferencing was hard to set up and thus used infrequently. Fast forward to today, and it’s becoming a routine way of collaborating. Some small businesses and departments use it daily, because the cost of the apps has come down, bandwidth and network speed has increased making connectivity more reliable, and the ease of use has improved.

The best part is, today’s video conferencing tools are nearly device agnostic. You can now participate in a conference on your smartphone, tablet, computer, or television. Popular tools include WebEx and Zoom which are full featured solutions for businesses of all sizes.  GoToMeeting, Join.me, and Skype for Business are alternatives. And if you want to disrupt things even further, share your video meeting with a group on Facebook Live — apps like Zoom let you broadcast instantly to your Facebook Page.

Voice Collaboration Tools

There are multiple times throughout the day when you just need a fast answer from someone. But what if you’re on another floor or in another town?

Sure, you can pick up your landline or smartphone, or send an email, but then you may get voicemail or have to wait hours for a reply. Today’s enterprising entrepreneurs instead turn to cloud voice messaging applications. These applications can remain open and persistent on your desktop while you work. They typically show whether the person you want to reach is available, and they offer both instant text messaging and voice calling.

Add in the ability to share screens and send files, and they’re easier to use than email or phone calls when you need fast answers throughout the day. Nextiva has such an application for fast voice collaboration, but you can also take a look at Skype and GoogleHangouts. Voice collaboration tools like these make your company nimbler and faster–minimizing countless small delays each day.

Project Collaboration Tools

The earliest project management tools were essentially glorified calendars and spreadsheets, mainly used to track deadlines and responsibilities. Today’s project management tools still help manage deadlines and responsibilities, but do much more by integrating sophisticated collaboration features, including shared file storage, places for team members to leave comments and ask questions, as well as instant messaging, screen sharing and conferencing–all in one virtual workspace.

These improved tools can bring team members together no matter how spread out in the real world, so everyone knows what everyone else is doing with scheduling, communications, file management and coordination features in a single dashboard. Slack revolutionized this space by taking the friction out of project workflows, through collaboration features. Trello and Basecamp also place heavy emphasis on collaboration.”

Even if you all work in the same geographical area, sometimes our work campuses are so spread out these tools can still make our lives easier and our work place more efficient.

Central Comm

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