Technology helps us all adapt our lives, and businesses are no exception. But the way people use technology continues to shift quickly, and consumer behaviors and expectations are bleeding into business environments, creating new requirements and methods of doing business. To adapt, you must understand the factors at play, which is why we’re going to look at several important office trends redefining how people collaborate online.
Using More Outsourced Resources
Freelancers and consultants fill various roles depending on a company’s size, priorities, and policies. Whether enterprise or small or medium business (SMB), some companies use the expertise of outside resources to provide a necessary perspective, service, or advice to help businesses. Other companies use outsourced workers to quickly scale up and down, improving their agility and flexibility.
Even back in 2016, the SMB Group found that 28 percent of SMBs outsource IT management to third parties, contractors, or consultants. A large portion of that outsourced help works outside a company’s offices. That means businesses using freelancers, consultants, or other types of support need robust online collaboration tools to connect these outsourced workers and the company’s staff to work effectively and efficiently.
The Rise Of Solopreneurs
The trend of companies using more outsourced workers and the rise of solopreneurs go together. Solopreneurs run their single-person businesses, often relying on contracting or consulting work for employment. They’re usually experts in certain areas. As more workers become solopreneurs, especially those with skilled niche expertise, companies will increasingly have to look outside of their walls to fill needs in those specialties.
Like any type of outsourced worker, solopreneurs must collaborate with the businesses they work for. The ability to scale and quickly provision new users is crucial for a company’s online collaboration tool.
Online collaboration tools should be user-friendly, so solopreneurs don’t need to be experts in obscure software to get on board — they can stick to where they add the most value.
Cloud Enablement And The Rise Of Mobility
With increased connectivity, the proliferation of smartphones and tablets, and a global economy, mobility changed the game for many companies. With today’s cloud-based technology, work is an activity, not a location. Files and other resources once chained to the office are now available from anywhere with a decent Internet connection.
Because of this, online collaboration tools are more important than ever to connect those in the office, those traveling, those working remote or hybrid, or outsourced resources to keep work moving productively. Makers of online collaboration tools are adapting to think beyond the office to facilitate all these new modes of working, and cloud-based tools are a natural match for this new go-anywhere mentality.
Work Hour Flexibility
Given today’s global economy – and for many workers, a renewed focus on quality of life – work hour flexibility is a trend that’s influenced the need for changes in online collaboration tools.
Workers in different time zones, cities, and countries still need to connect to get tasks done. This might mean taking calls at six in the morning or 10 at night to communicate with someone on the other side of the world, something much more comfortable and convenient to do from home.
With work hour flexibility, connected workers can also handle necessary or inconvenient personal errands — like, doctor’s appointments, caring for sick children, home maintenance appointments, and more — if they have the kind of online collaboration software that lets them work remotely. It also allows them to finish outside regular office hours to avoid losing productivity.
Real Estate Consolidation And Savings
Real estate can be pricey for businesses, with some urban areas commanding USD$100 or more per square foot of office space — making a 10x10 office a staggering $10,000 per year in some places.
The cost of office space can make a severe dent in a company’s bottom line. But enabling remote workers can help keep real estate costs under control by reducing your need for space, avoiding relocation, and more.
But remote workers need to be kept in the loop and to work with others to be effective. Without a good online collaboration tool designed for remote workers, it’s tough for workers to connect with their in-office counterparts to get work done.
When you need an expert in a particular field, the field may be small, and there’s a good chance they won’t live near the office you’d like them to. Some are willing to relocate. But many are not.
If your much-needed expert feels like staying put, you may need to make concessions to bring them on board. Or you might have to offer them work-hour flexibility as a perk to seal the deal. Either way, it makes hyper-specialization another factor putting pressure on companies to use reliable online collaboration tools to stay competitive.
Wanderlust And The Rise Of Ex-Pats
Have you seen House Hunters International? It’s not just showcasing ex-pat retirees settling into another country to spend their golden years with an exotic sea breeze tickling their noses.
More people on the show are working professionals who want to travel or live abroad while continuing to work. This trend is growing, and innovative companies are leaning on online collaboration to help enable staff to work where they want to keep key talent on board.
BYOD shouldn’t be a big surprise when it comes to identifying trends that are redefining online collaboration. Bottom line: companies that enable BYOD must find an online collaboration tool that works across various platforms, including smartphones, tablets, and computers.
BYOD has also driven the need for collaboration tools to be mobile-first, or at the very least, mobile-enabled. This trend points to the need for a user-friendly interface that’s intuitive and easy to use. Because if it’s not easy to use, workers will be quick to abandon it, hurting productivity or spawning pockets of shadow IT.
The modern workplace is changing fast and leading to a revolution in how we collaborate online. Innovative companies and savvy tech providers adapt to stay competitive and ensure work gets done. Whether you’re affected by one of these trends or all of them, it pays to know the forces reshaping the landscape. Because the more you know, the better you can respond.
Source: By the Experts at Mitel