Building a Thriving Collaborative Workplace

By Samuel Greengard Print this article Print
Collaborative workplace

Creating a collaborative workplace that delivers benefits to both employers and employees requires a clear strategy, transparent goals and the right tech tools.

In fact, Accenture's Warnke points out that collaboration is rapidly moving toward mobile-first applications and capabilities. What's more, he adds, "The concept of 'bring your own device' is maturing, and now there's a shift to a potentially even more disruptive concept for IT organizations, which is 'bring your own application.'

Warnke says that the notion of supporting whatever tool a person desires to be productive is still nascent in most organizations. "But it will pervade the IT ecosystem as the [line] between a personal productivity app and an enterprise productivity app [blurs]," he explains.

A starting point for building an effective collaboration framework, Warnke says, is to understand that "technology tends to be the easier part of the equation. A more challenging aspect is to encourage employees at all levels to incorporate collaboration technologies into their regular workflow."

This requires weaving tools into business processes in ways that require employees to use them in order to complete tasks. Older concepts, such as requiring a zero item inbox, "are not representative of the way people work today," he says. It also involves using gamification techniques and rewards to drive participation, particularly among segments that are resistant to using collaboration tools.

In the end, Warnke says, it's essential to establish a cogent agenda and clearly defined objectives that are tied to specific strategies; experiment with a variety of tools and approaches; and foster support from the top down. Finally, collaboration tools should deliver the simplicity, intuitive design and functionality of Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

A tool's features should not be designed and optimized only for power uses, who are often the ones who provide the most feedback. "The tool you are using and the way you are using it should fade out of focus," Warnke explains. It should be easy enough for every worker to use.

This article was originally published on 2015-04-23

Samuel Greengard writes about business and technology for Baseline, CIO Insight and other publications. His most recent book is The Internet of Things (MIT Press, 2015).

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