Benefits/Drawbacks of Virtual Collaboration
Find out more about more about the costs and benefits of working remotely.
Virtual Collaboration is the ability to Coordinate remotely using digital software and hardware for file sharing, project updates, and effective communication. Due to an increase in technology, and more recently the occurrence of Covid-19, the ability to work remotely has become a normal staple within the office environment. The 9-5 workday has been shifting with concerns about whether or not the typical model is the most effective utilization of human resources. There are now widely available tools for businesses to accomplish nearly everything you need to do without actually moving into an office building.
The benefits of remote collaboration
When you switch to a virtual platform, remote interaction reduces the need for long commutes providing employees the ability to start their day wherever they are. This added available time can be used to prepare more effectively and ultimately reducing the cost burden of added stressors on team members.
More Efficient Meetings
In a typical office environment, meetings are sometimes put together spontaneously and follow meandering paths which can lead to wasted time and off topic conversion. Virtual meetings take less time to establish and are generally started with a clear path for interaction. One aspect of virtual meeting that is both positive and negative is the social interaction. These meetings don't provide the same methods of socialization as an ordinary in person meeting; thereby eliminating a potential distraction and saving time. However, this can reduce the potential for synergy of ideas and connection.
Shifts focus to results rather than office time
Shifting focus onto tasks instead of time in the office is not only good for the well-being of employees, it can actually allow for more to be accomplished. It is vital that project goals and milestones are clearly understood and team members are kept informed about updates. Just as important as a good conferencing program, effective and functional project managing software can facilitate reaching milestones much more quickly and reduce the turnaround time. Having a way to view timelines, organize with coworkers and build efficient communication networks will increase the efficiency of both in person and virtual collaboration.
Potential Technical Difficulties
Technical difficulties are almost always inevitable when dealing with any sort of technology;
such as, feedback from poor quality microphones, wifi trouble, and crashing programs. These potential issues can derail an entire meeting or sales opportunity, making it imperative to know whether or not your tools will function correctly. Although nothing runs perfectly all the time, potential issues can be prevented by using known software, spending time troubleshooting, and using companies that have customer service availability.
It can be harder to convey subtle emotion
Although you might be able to speak face to face over a video conference, certain elements of personal and social communication cannot be conveyed over video. Hand gestures, body language, and eye contact can all be reduced along with the element of lost group dynamics. These lost nuances of communication limit our interactions and can cause misunderstandings of timelines and expectancies.
Having collaborative tools that frequently fail or even fail some of the time can be the difference between a successful year and having to catch up. If a company doesn't provide its team with the tools needed to collaborate effectively, it can become an endless slog of finding partial solutions and quick fixes to keep people interacting and on the same page. This is valuable time that wouldn't ordinarily be needed for this type of maintenance and could cause long term and lasting damage. A video conference software that works, a useful collaborative writing and document editing tool, and a project management program to keep track of milestones, provides effective working conditions over long distances.
Choosing a way forward.
Due to Covid-19, choosing whether or not to work virtually was probably not an option for you. However this push towards virtual interaction is positioned to see an increase in working from home and new ways of running a business. It is important to have systems in place that facilitate these interactions in the most efficient way possible. Having a plan for video conferences, a shared and easily assessable way to view milestones and workload, and the ability to make robust plans for interactions can help to keep the workday running smoothly.