The number of businesses adopting (or at least allowing) virtual work is staggering. Now, if you work in a digital environment like many marketing and professional services companies do, anyone with a laptop and an Internet connection can have a lucrative career working from their home, island, or treehouse.
Case in point: Our team at Convince & Convert is comprised of people in 10 states and 3 countries. Buffer has 80 people in more than 20 countries! Collaborating with maximum efficiency has become a huge competitive—and lifestyle—advantage both for our team and for many of our clients and friends.
But how do we truly get things done effectively? How do we communicate clearly with each other, set reasonable deadlines, and move forward with creative thinking to create best-in-breed solutions for our clients?
Our partners at Microsoft Office recently published a primer on how to do just that. They make a compelling case for all-in-one collaboration solutions, instead of a basket full of unrelated tools and software—which is what most of us are using today.
If you’re not sure whether a collaboration solution is right for you, here are five important reasons why it’s time to improve your team’s collaboration and get your work done better, in less time.
Who wants everything done faster and better in today’s economy? Answer: Everyone, that’s who. And that’s why using a collaborative chat tool is all the rage. This is especially true in a virtual environment, but also works wonders in an office environment as well.
When Peggy is on the phone with her customer and needs a reminder of what Karen promised in last week’s meeting, there’s no time to walk over to her desk to ask. Plus, why disturb her? Instead, a quick text chat via Yammer or Microsoft Teams is the best way to roll. (Not to mention it also cuts down on wasted water cooler gossip, which I know is useful for building culture, but not when deadlines are on the horizon!)
Over time, these seconds and minutes spent walking back and forth, calling on the phone, or sending emails add up. Imagine how much time you’d have back in your day if you could get immediate answers from your colleagues from a quick text exchange or video call? Further, imagine how many fewer emails you’d have to send and receive? It’s truly magical.
If I’m using LastPass to securely store passwords but Anthony is using 1Password for his, all of a sudden we’re paying for two different password storage systems that do essentially the same thing.
By working through one platform for all of your tool and system needs, you are controlling the costs and streamlining a system that everyone on your team can adopt and use.
And I don’t really need to tell you how important keeping costs low is to the growth of a business, especially in the age of shiny-object-syndrome where every day a new marketing technology company is rolling a new tool that you MUST have to succeed. This is also important for service-based businesses whose overhead is mostly related to salaries of its amazing talent.
Furthermore, controlling which tools you use, when you use them, and how is helpful for onboarding new team members and keep processes simple.
I had to mention LastPass in my previous point because if I had a dollar for every time someone on my team encouraged me to get more serious about password security (ahem, Jess and Kelly) I would buy a gilded hammock. (This issue became REAL recently when an international hacking collective cracked my Twitter password and rang up several thousand dollars of bogus Twitter ad charges on my AMEX card. Good times.)
It’s more important than ever to have passwords, files, and information locked down in the age of hackers, both domestically and internationally.
Using a collaborative platform for work provides built-in security and privacy features you need to keep your data safe. Plus, tools like Office365 actually provide these features across devices, so you don’t have to worry about that wanderlusting team member you have getting hacked during their safari trip in South Africa.
Look, I know I’m not the only one whose to-do list seems to keep getting longer and longer, especially at the beginning of a new year. I know I want to keep growing the business, but I don’t want to be so big we lose what makes us different. I want our team to get better at what we’re already doing so that it takes less time to churn out more amazing projects.
Working through collaboration tools allows this sort of streamlined process so that we can scale as we like, whether that means adding more team members, setting up better systems, or hiring robots so we can go lay on the beach somewhere. We can add more storage, more people, or more services as we like, which takes the pressure off of attempting to buy and implement a new suite of tools all at once.
So, Tom needs access to the admin panel because he’s in charge of HR but Samantha is brand new and we don’t want her messing with the carefully constructed system we’ve built. Simplified user profiles let you decide who has access to what and when which gives you the peace of mind while keeping everyone driving in their appropriate lanes.
If you’re not sold on the fact that your team needs a better collaboration system now, take a look at 5 Tips for Improving Collaboration. It just might change the way you think about working with your colleagues; saving you time and regaining a bit of your sanity.
Editor’s Note: This post is part of a paid collaboration between Microsoft and Convince & Convert.