Bridge the hybrid workplace gap with the right collaboration tools

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Today’s workplace is increasingly defined by hybrid environments that allow organizations to draw on talent far beyond their local market.

Employees are often incorporated into distributed teams that include members from many different physical locations. In many cases, teams cross state and national boundaries to create a truly diverse workforce dedicated to a common business goal.

Distributed teams are made possible by innovations in technology that allow team members to share resources and collaborate without having to be in the same physical location.

Although many collaboration tools are available, matching the right software to the needs of the group can mean the difference between long-term productivity and disruptive frustration.

Unique challenges for distributed teams and hybrid workforces

Whether distributed team members are part of a hybrid workforce or completely virtual, they face unique challenges in working together compared to personal teams.

Communication, for example, needs to be much more thorough and conscious. Instructions and expectations cannot be left vague because it may not be possible to get more details quickly – especially if team members are separated by time zones.

Although hybrid and virtual teams often have many available communication channels (such as email, messaging applications, or task management software), they may not all use them in the same way, making it easy to miss important details.

As a consequence of communication challenges, many remote employees end up working in isolation instead of collaborating with other team members. While it may seem like a good solution from an individual point of view, it prevents teams from reaching their full potential because a lot of work ends up being done (or remade) more than once.

Although layoffs are kept to a minimum, the final delivery often seems as if it has been intertwined from different sources rather than being completed as a unique, coherent project.

Four common productivity challenges with collaboration tools

Although distributed teams allow organizations to make use of talents from around the world, it can be difficult to bring these people together in a productive virtual environment without the right software tools in place. These tools will help teams overcome the common problems associated with hybrid and teleworking.

Unfortunately, organizations sometimes try to get by using applications for tasks and processes that apps are not really designed to handle. It ends up leading to wasted time and frustration as employees constantly try to force a square stick into a round hole.

Here are four challenges that often get worse from having the wrong collaboration tools in place.

1. Confusion

Productivity and efficiency are highly dependent on employees knowing what to do and how to access the resources they need to carry out their responsibilities. When software tools make it difficult to locate these resources, people end up spending valuable time searching for what they need instead of performing productive work.

Anyone who has spent hours – or even longer – searching through various Google Drive or SharePoint directories in search of a digital asset knows how much confusion can have an impact on effective collaboration.

2. Interruption of workflow

Good collaboration tools make it easy for employees to manage tasks within a single workflow, reducing the amount of time spent moving resources between applications.

As more people become involved in a task, it becomes even more important to maintain a streamlined workflow. When team members constantly have to move assets between applications and pull them from different repositories, there is a greater chance that something will go wrong, whether it is a file that is misplaced or a key task that is overlooked and not completed.

In addition to creating more confusion, workflow disruption makes it difficult to maintain a single source of truth for assets.

3. Version control

One of the biggest challenges with collaboration has always been version control. When multiple people are working on a single project, it is crucial that everyone knows which version of an asset is most up to date.

Although Cloud applications have made it somewhat easier by mostly eliminating local file storage, they can actually make the problem worse if it is difficult to manage or work with assets within the platform. It encourages people to create their own solutions and processes, such as making copies of files and sharing them across separate platforms.

4. Security

In addition to undermining productivity, poor collaboration tools create a wide range of security risks.

When software tools make it difficult to perform routine tasks, most people respond by developing their own system to do things. Unfortunately, removing assets and work processes from an application exposes both the latter and the former to an open and potentially compromised environment.

If someone were to download a copy of an asset to a device that has been infected with malware, that file could easily serve as a vector for a costly security breach the moment it is re-uploaded or sent to another team member.

Strengthen productivity with DAM software

Distributed teams that work heavily with digital media assets, such as high-resolution images, audio files, and video, can avoid productivity challenges by implementing a digital asset management (DAM) solution designed for their specific workflow and collaboration needs.

Unlike most asset management systems, DAM software was created with visual assets in mind so that collaborating teams can quickly find and access the resources they need and integrate them seamlessly into a workflow.

For example, Canto’s DAM solution enables organizations to create dedicated asset-sharing portals between distributed teams and different stakeholders. Organizational features make it easy to search for content, and comprehensive integrations eliminate the cumbersome process of transferring files from one application to another. Because assets remain stored in the Canto platform, it is much easier to maintain strict version control and keep sensitive data safe.

To learn more about how Canto’s innovative DAM solution can help your hybrid workforce improve its productivity and spend more time creating innovative content that builds your brand, sign up today for a free trial.

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