Collaboration software became a critical investment for most companies in 2020 due to the need to support work-from-home operations. With remote and hybrid work models now the norm, tools such as messaging, video conferencing, and file sharing remain high-priority technology tools in 2023. Now, however, organizations are looking to enhance the user experience and develop secure, robust, and reliable solutions for the long term.
The sudden upheaval caused by the pandemic forced organizations to figure out remote operations as they went along. That often meant the hurried adoption of consumer-grade and cloud-based collaboration and conferencing platforms. These tools generally enabled some continuity of operations, but there were clear sacrifices in performance and security.
A fragmented collaboration environment also creates significant challenges for users. A recent study published in Harvard Business Review found that employees of Fortune 500 companies switch among various collaboration tools more than 1,200 times each day. The effort required to constantly navigate this environment saps productivity and creates “collaboration overload” that leads to burnout and turnover.
Here are some of the ways that companies can address these issues and refine their remote collaboration strategies in the coming months:
Eliminate Sprawl. Many remote employees have adopted collaboration apps without IT’s knowledge or approval, creating application sprawl that forces users to toggle among different solutions throughout the workday. In 2023, companies should take steps to standardize on a single platform. Having videos, conversations, files, tasks, calendars, images, and more accessible through a common dashboard will improve workflow management, create continuity and eliminate information silos.
Enhance Security. Vast amounts of sensitive information such as financial data, customer information, and intellectual property are exchanged in collaboration and file-sharing environments. While providers are taking steps to shore up their products, businesses must also address security, privacy, and compliance issues. Data loss prevention, content filtering, and encryption features should be installed on all employee endpoint devices to minimize the risk of data leakage.
Modernize the Network. Bandwidth consumption and resource contention can become issues with more users connecting to the corporate network remotely. That can create performance problems for latency-sensitive voice and video applications that won’t tolerate network congestion, packet loss or jitter. Software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) solutions address these challenges by allowing a dynamic mix of connectivity options with automatic failover based on real-time network conditions and policy-based controls.
Focus on Quality. As remote workers flocked to video collaboration platforms, they often encountered jittery, grainy video and poor sound quality — often the product of insufficient Internet connections or poor-quality cameras and microphones built into many laptops and other endpoints. Organizations can address quality issues by buying better wireless routers, headsets, and cameras for remote workers, or reimbursing them for the costs of upgrades. Upgrading audio and video in onsite huddle rooms and meeting rooms can ensure that employees have a high-quality experience while working in the office.
Improve Manageability. Studies show that up to a third of meetings start late because participants struggle to get audio and video conferencing tools working properly. Organizations should equip meeting rooms with easy-to-use, tablet-based interfaces that control all A/V equipment. Integrating meeting management and room booking software with calendar, email, and chat functions can assist in planning and scheduling team meetings. These tools can also be used to distribute invitations and agendas, take and share notes in real-time, generate minutes, and set timers to keep meetings on track.
Investments in the digital workplace can help organizations become more agile and resilient. The A/V and collaboration experts at Rahi can help you develop a strategy for enhancing your collaboration platform to provide the long-term support the remote workforce requires.
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