This article will explore the tech that offers practical solutions to many of your collaboration challenges in the workplace. But let’s spend a minute on what collaboration actually is on a human level first; collaboration starts with mindset after all.
We covered the wider set of attitudes and principles about our recent article on what is collaboration but here are the basics:
- A mental attitude where individuals support the collective achievement of goals through cooperation
- A working practice that can be fostered in the right environments, whether on digital platforms or in physical spaces such as shared meeting rooms
- Important for a number of reasons, including workload distribution, producing better-quality work, fostering stronger relationships within your team and building a greater collective knowledge bank
Now we explore some of the most common problems surrounding collaboration in the workplace and offer some modern-day solutions.
Problem 1: Difficulty collaborating with remote workers
Solution: Video conferencing technology
This isn’t a new concept but many of us default to platforms like Skype, using our laptop’s built-in webcams. While this can work for the odd one-to-one meeting just fine, what happens when multiple people need to attend the same remote meeting?
A laptop’s built-in webcam, or even a dedicated USB webcam accessory, is not very effective in a larger meeting room. If you want to include everyone in the room with high-quality images and sound, then it’s best you look to some more professional solutions.
Devices such as the Revolabs Yamaha video collaboration system, with its 120-degree ultra-wide camera, are specially designed to equip huddle and meeting rooms with everything you need for a successful video conferencing event, bringing everyone in the team into the picture.
Problem 2: Your meetings are too static
Solution: Touchscreen smart displays
No one enjoys meetings that feel too much like static university lectures, with attendees struggling to stay focused. Touchscreens are a brilliant way to bring your content to life, prompting individuals to stand up and contribute, or interact with the presentation themselves.
They’re especially useful for more creative meetings, where concepts and ideas are being created on the spot. Large touchscreen displays offer employees the functionality to take turns, fully illustrating their ideas.
Problem 3: Confusing workflows and complex project structures
Solution: Internal task management systems
Sometimes things are just too confusing to even start thinking about collaboration. This can lead to certain individuals taking on the lion’s share of the workload themselves, opting for more work rather than face the frustration of trying to coordinate large numbers of people.
Intranets and project management systems, that integrate project processes and internal communication, enable employees to work harmoniously across different departments and across different tasks (or at least the good ones do).
These systems also help to create an ongoing record of your project’s progress, in case it needs to be referred to in the future. Simple examples of this are Monday or Trello, while more comprehensive versions include Asana and Teamwork.
Problem 4: Connectivity and network issues or complicated cable configurations during presentations
Solution: NEC MultiPresenter Stick and Barco ClickShare
Fiddling about with connectivity is a serious waste of valuable time and resources. Also, accommodating for different devices and technology is a frustrating task if you don’t have the set up in place, with the necessary wires and connectors.
We’ve seen a wave of great devices aimed at solving this problem, acting as a central hub that enables various users to link up and project images on a single display. For instance, the NEC’s MultiPresenter stick allows offices to wirelessly connect up to 16 devices at a time, to enable smooth presentation logistics.
Barco ClickShare is another fantastic product that enables multiple users to very easily contribute to a shared meeting room display screen with ease from a variety of personal devices.
Problem 5: Slow presentation set-up time, especially when multiple individuals are presenting
Solution: Vivitek Novo Pro / Barco ClickShare
In an ideal world, anyone should be able to connect and share content wirelessly on a big meeting room collaboration screen, even if they’re just passing through the office. This is a dream that devices like the Vivitek Novo Pro and the Barco ClickShare are turning into a reality.
Similar to the NEC MultiPresenter Stick, these options allow multiple users to very easily contribute to a shared meeting room display screen with ease from a variety of personal devices, including a laptop, tablet or smartphone device.
Problem 6: Audience members disengage during large meetings
Solution: Large display technology
LED panels, projector technology or other types of display technology are all great ways to get your content displayed at a larger scale and keep your audience engaged. This is especially important when you are working on projects that go far beyond the roles of each individual employee.
There’s nothing like seeing the scope of the project on a large screen to show people the bigger picture and help keep everyone on the same page. Also, the act of simply gathering around to view an engaging presentation does a lot to foster a sense of community and collaboration.
Top collaboration tips
- Actively share human resources between projects
- Standardise your work storage and communication practices
- Use a real-time project management solution
- Have more discussions
- Create dedicated teams
- Organise team events and presentations
Don’t just rely on technology
Technology will certainly help you to achieve your project goals, but collaboration is more than just having the right equipment. To really harness the power of company-wide collaboration, you’ll need to encourage an overall sense of openness and willingness for sharing and cooperating.
Management should look at supporting this attitude in more ways than one. Whether it’s investing in the right equipment and physical work environments, or organising team activities outside of the workplace – there’s a lot that can be done to encourage collaboration. After all, collaboration relies on certain fundamental human skills that are best used when people feel connected.
For more on what collaboration means and how to invest in the right equipment, get in touch with us at Displaypoint or take a read of one of some of our other articles on the topic of workplace collaboration.