Collaboration Equity: Achieving Hybrid Success

Collaboration Equity: Achieving Hybrid Success

The hybrid workforce is the new future of work. It will mean merging the old with the new – creating spaces for collaboration within physical office spaces as well as using collaboration tools to fill gaps between onsite and remote workers.

But how do we achieve hybrid success while hosting and attending meetings? Here are some tips.

Replace Uncertainty of the Unknown with Training & Insight

Collaboration equity is a difficult concept to grasp – how do we mitigate uncertainty around a system that will look so different from company to company?

Collaboration equity is the ability to contribute equally, regardless of location, role, experience level, language, and device preference.

To achieve hybrid success, training is a must. But we’re not talking about standardized, mass-produced training modules or online skill-building courses. To train your employees effectively, you must first have insight into their current ability and aptitude levels.

Collaboration tools are vast and ever-changing. That means everyone on your staff will have different comfort levels with each application. This is similar to hybrid work models, where everyone has a different setup in terms of in-house workdays and remote workdays.

Creating collaboration equity means being open to learning what works and what doesn’t.

Improve IT Practices

There are tons of great ways to manage IT needs in a hybrid workplace.

For example, migrating every business capability and piece of data to the cloud is not often the best approach. Take some time to discuss, with other executives and your employees, which functions, applications, and information are must-haves in the cloud, and which can continue to be stored on intranets or in-house servers.

Before you integrate a hybrid IT system, however, you should do some testing and training to make sure your IT support staff doesn’t get overwhelmed with issues and requests immediately after implementing the hybrid system.

Time and training are important components in achieving hybrid success in IT areas as well.

Remember: It’s About Balance

The hybrid work environment, just like the newly ramped-up remote work environment, won’t be identical for everyone. But it should always be equitable. Using collaboration tools to bridge gaps in face-to-face communication should be a priority.

Also, remember that these differences in what each employee’s workday looks like can be hard to reconcile at first. Before the pandemic, there was a strong preconceived notion that working from home meant that your employees would be more distracted and less productive as a whole. But a quick Google search for WFH statistics will show that not only is that not true, but the opposite is often the more common case.

Achieving hybrid success through collaboration equity may seem like a daunting task, but if you do it right, you’ll see positive outcomes across all your business departments.

Conquer the New Normal with MMITC

Unsure how to get started on your road to achieving hybrid success? Meet Me In The Cloud is equipped with solutions to help you foster technology adoption and plan, set up, and execute flawless meetings and events. For more information, check out our Event Assist and collaboration technology adoption services.

Have questions? Contact us today!

The Benefits of Digital Collaboration

The Benefits of Digital Collaboration

Digital collaboration is a hallmark of the future of work. There are many different types of collaboration tools and cloud-based software that can increase and enhance digital collaboration in your business.

With the rapid digital transformations we’ve seen in the last year, it’s important these new tools and technologies don’t create a silo-ing effect on your company’s departments. Silo-ing happens when each department checks their own digital solutions and workflow and, rather than opening a dialogue for collaboration, employees say something like “Everything looks fine on my end.”

Luckily, there are many benefits to digital collaboration that can open lines of communication and foster teamwork so your business isn’t handicapped by its new tech.

Knowledge Management

Knowledge management is the digital collaboration benefit that most closely prevents the information from being siloed, or not effectively communicated to teams outside the one where the knowledge is being created and, hopefully, shared.

Knowledge sharing is easily facilitated using digital collaboration tools, whether it’s through file sharing, discussion, regular updates in project threads, or video conferencing.

To ensure knowledge management is being handled properly, check to see how and where the knowledge is being archived. An indicator of good knowledge management is the ability to find information that has previously been discussed and compiled in an easy and straightforward manner. Using digital collaboration tools ensures that your team will have access to any and all information within your platform, whether they are in-house, remote, or freelance workers.

Employee Engagement

The customizability and flexibility that digital collaboration provides can also increase employee engagement.

When employees are trained and equipped with multiple ways to share and access information, it increases the likelihood that your team members will tailor their collaboration platform experience to keep themselves up-to-date on company news, projects, and changes.

“Features such as personalized dashboard, news feed, content sharing attributes, instant messages facilities, and recent updates help keep employees engaged and up-to-date,” according to Saketa.

For more on this, check out our blog post about fostering inclusion and collaboration in virtual meetings.

Flexibility

Cloud-based data is the easiest way businesses have found to navigate the remote work and COVID-distanced world. And digital collaboration allows for many different forms of communication, which can be tailored to meet the needs of each employee and their unique work environment.

Flexibility is going to be a main component of successful workplaces because employees in all industries have been shown in the last year that it is possible to create and sustain a hybrid workplace model in almost any industry.

Meet Me In The Cloud

Meet Me In The Cloud is a global leader in collaboration adoption services and scalable solutions that help organizations compete, grow, and succeed in an accelerating world. Explore Meet Me In The Cloud’s managed services and collaboration services.

Whether you need training and education, event assistance, or other collaboration-based support and services, contact us today.

COVID-19 Showed Us Technology Adoption Is Essential

COVID-19 Showed Us Technology Adoption Is Essential

Technology adoption is hard to see if you aren’t monitoring your employee’s progress in new tech implementation. But this year, when new tech solutions were being added rapid-fire, we saw firsthand how easy it is to implement a tool without fostering adoption.

The temporary measures we added to deal with COVID-related changes have left holes in our workforce’s understanding of collaboration tools. Here’s how the pandemic accelerated technology adoption.

The Importance of Adoption

“If technology is part of the Innovation or Process Improvement that you are undertaking, your firm’s users must adopt the technology fully for any profound ‘change’ to occur,” says an Above the Law article.

When you focus on technology adoption, you can create a system where your tech solutions are fully integrated into your employee’s expertise. Rather than training for individual commands or projects, complete adoption of a tool means you can use that tool in more collaborative and valuable ways across the board.

The Role COVID-19 Played in Tech

As COVID-19 spread across the US and the world, businesses of all sizes had to pivot strategies from in-person dealings to contactless and online offerings.

Now that the dust has settled a bit, there are a lot of instances that highlight the need for true adoption in terms of technology and collaboration tools. Zoom meetings, online shopping, Microsoft Teams project collaboration – all of these things existed before 2020, but they were made necessary by the emergence of this virus.

As we move into 2021, these collaboration solutions have become commonplace and are likely sticking around for the future.

The Remote Work Boom

Remote work has been trending upward in popularity for a number of years and now that COVID-19 has forced a lot of new jobs and industries to figure out how employees can work from home, that collaborative technology expertise and adoption needs to be stronger than ever.

Though some remote positions will revert back to their pre-pandemic locations, many will stay remote, or become a hybrid of remote and on-site work. Without technology adoption, the skills and communication gaps that created issues before and during the 2020 changes will only be exacerbated.

Looking Forward

The coronavirus has changed the world and thrust the importance of full-scale technology adoption into the spotlight. Collaboration tools are constantly updating their platforms and features to keep up with the demand for online solutions (see these update articles about Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and Webex Teams).

As we continue making decisions that move us toward a tech-friendly future, adoption is the best way to ensure our teams, leaders, and employees have the best training so we can continue to make the most of these collaboration tools.

The Road to Full Technology Adoption

Meet Me In The Cloud is your go-to resource for white-glove support and training of collaboration services and tools.

Whether you need training and education, event assistance, or other collaboration-based support and service, contact us today.

5 Biggest Challenges of Technology Adoption in 2020

5 Biggest Challenges of Technology Adoption in 2020

Fast and full adoption of new technology becomes more and more important as the world’s work continues to trend rapidly toward digital solutions. Here are the 5 biggest challenges businesses face when it comes to technology adoption and the things you can do to help overcome them.

Cybersecurity

In this year alone, businesses have seen an 80% increase in cyberattacks, according to Fintech News. As more and more networks are being accessed by employees working from home, cybersecurity becomes increasingly difficult and important.

But when it comes to adoption, why does this matter?

New technologies present new challenges for employees, and that means apprehension. As they are learning, employees are hesitant to do anything that may create issues, and as cyberattacks get more sophisticated, the apprehension grows.

A solid implementation plan for addressing challenges of technology adoption can help assuage these fears and increase your employees’ comfort levels and confidence as they are learning.

Cloud Computing

In-house networking and data storage, long considered to be a safer alternative to storing information in a separate place from your business operations, is now a common and growing trend as well.

The COVID shutdowns created a rush for remote work-compatible solutions, and cloud computing was essential to its success. Cloud storage providers saw a unique opportunity to put their systems’ scalability and accessibility to good use – and struggling businesses made the leap from in-house storage to cloud solutions.

The challenge here, however, is that the convenience of cloud computing gives way to many cybersecurity concerns. Integrating your new collaboration tool also means making the most of the internal storage and archiving systems that are present within them while educating employees about the pitfalls and security concerns of the cloud system the tool uses.

Attitudes around Automation

A good collaboration tool is intuitive and has the capability to automate certain tedious, but necessary, tasks. But the word “automation” in the workplace often comes with a stigma. That stigma creates hesitation and even hostility on the part of the new users who are on the path to adoption.

Fortunately, AI services like Siri and Google Home systems are creating a new level of acceptance in the minds of the masses. As you move through the training process in pursuit of adoption, monitoring these attitudes and aptitudes in regard to automation can provide helpful insight and motivation when the benefits of these automation technologies are skillfully applied.

Skills Gap

“Both business leaders and laggards are affected by skill shortages and talent gaps that hinder the rapid adoption of the modern IT architectures needed for agility,” Tech Crunch reports in their article. These skill gaps can be caused by experience, training, or education differences. A one-size-fits-all adoption and training strategy, while still marginally effective, is quickly losing ground to more tailored, skill-gap-attentive approaches.

Skills gaps are going to affect your rates of adoption, both during the training phases and in everyday operations after that period.

Continuity and Disaster Planning

Business continuity and disaster plans were put to the test this year as the pandemic claimed more and more businesses, both for short periods and permanent closures.

2020 has taught us that expecting the unexpected needs to be a common business practice now and in the immediate future. These plans are challenging in that the scope and impact of each disaster can vary widely. Your tech, new and current, needs to be able to weather these storms.

MMITC Was Made for Overcoming Challenges of Technology Adoption

Meet Me In The Cloud is your go-to resource for white-glove support and training of collaboration services and tools. That means we have been working through these roadblocks to adoption from our company’s inception.

Whether you need training and education, event assistance, or other collaboration-based support and service, contact us today.

E-Learning and the Future of Work

E-Learning and the Future of Work

52% of HR professionals say there is a skills shortage in the workplace, and it’s getting worse. More than 94% of employees are more willing to stay with a company invested in helping them access learning tools to gain needed skills. E-learning is integral to the future of work. 

The Essence of E-Learning 

E-learning is a broad term for education being provided through electronic technology. Websites, videos, apps, interactive games, and activities: all these (and more) are considered e-learning. But why should we embrace this tech? What makes it worth the time, money, or effort to implement these tools in your training?

Pitfalls of Traditional Classroom Training

Employee training in classroom settings is being outmoded by new and innovative e-learning tools more and more each day, and here are a few reasons why.

Classroom Training is “One Size Fits All”

Typically, employee training is scheduled for a specific amount of time that hopefully allows the instructor to get through all the material. This creates a two-sided problem: those who learn quickly are often bored, while those who need more time to process the material feel rushed.

A standardized education model is even less effective in the workplace than it is in schools. Not only are employees operating at different levels of learning ability, but they are also working from different levels of job experience and background training

Classroom Training is Unengaging

Classroom Training is also very passive when it comes to getting and keeping employees’ attention. 

Some of this frustration is due to other unchangeable elements. The instructor is constrained by the space and configuration of the room you’re in: from certain seats, the visual aids are hard to see or the speaker is hard to hear. All this leads to time and money wasted on incomplete training or unsatisfied staff.

Benefits of Training Through E-Learning

E-learning encompasses things as simple as online workbooks, instructional videos; and it can get as advanced as artificial intelligence and virtual reality. Let’s take a look at a few of the benefits.

Flexibility

Perhaps the biggest benefit of e-learning is the ability to tailor the education to any employee’s schedule and learning style.

Employees can work on their own time and at their own pace. They can fly through classes they find easy or go back and review concepts they found harder to digest. 

This targeted approach ensures all participants get the most out of their training.

Learn from Anywhere

Since class materials are digital, employees can learn from any geographic location.

Employees can also learn in an environment that best suits their needs – whether it’s a cubicle, coffee shop, or home office. This also means in the event that employees need to work from home (whether due to personal or pandemic reasons), they still have access to those training resources.

Consistency

Branding is integral to your business, and what is branding if not a commitment consistency in all outward transactions with your target audience? Training Magazine uses Verizon as an example: with e-learning, this huge corporation can “deliver consistent information broadly” to nationwide and even global groups of employees.

With e-learning, every course is exactly the same, though it can be done at different times and in different places. 

It Can Put Your Business Ahead of the Curve

If your business is migrating to a better collaboration solution, having an e-learning experience can help employees adopt unfamiliar technologies more quickly and easily. It also allows people to learn about more complicated topics. This will help immensely when new company-wide software is introduced.

E-Learning and the Future of Work

The future of work consists of five parts, and two of those include a need to be remote and tech-forward in their operations. Many businesses have adopted a blended approach – mixing e-learning with more traditional courses. 

There are some topics that are better suited for e-learning platforms such as software or technical skill-building and compliance courses, like sexual harassment, multicultural workplace, or HIPAA training.

E-Learning Offerings

If you’re thinking about implementing e-learning elements into your own employee training programs, Meet Me in the Cloud can help. Learn more about our e-learning offerings here

 

SAVE 10% ON ALL E-LEARNING OFFERINGS AT CHECKOUT

WITH PROMO CODE LFA10

3 Roadblocks to the Future of Work

3 Roadblocks to the Future of Work

Most business leaders are preparing for the Future of Work now, but some are coming against roadblocks, which is halting business progress. To prepare for these potential roadblocks in your workplace, you first need to know where they come from.

Traditional Thinking

The first roadblock to the Future of Work is employees and leaders who are stuck in the past. When asked “Why do you do it this way?” they answer “Because that’s how we’ve always done it.” When encouraged to try something new, they refuse. They are old school in how they approach work. These employees are focused on traditional or habitual thinking and reject change.

The Future of Work, on the other hand, requires forward-thinking. Those pursuing the Future of Work recognize what history and tradition teach us about our futures, but they don’t stop there. They embrace the present and anticipate the future, always looking for ways to improve processes and their mindset concerning work.

Lack of Transferable Skills

In our modern workplace, a growing number of employees (about 40% of Millennials, specifically) change jobs every few years, and employers expect this. Because of this, companies focus on hiring for the short-term, which means fewer companies provide training for new employees. Not only does this mean entry-level jobs require experience, which is a problem in and of itself for college graduates, but this focus also makes it harder for employees to switch careers, climb the corporate ladder, and return to the workplace after an extended leave. 

With employers providing less training to their employees and automating more processes, employees can fall behind on hard and soft skills that are critical in the workplace. Without the company’s leadership to direct them in their development, employees look elsewhere for education and training. 

While this self-driven search for personal and professional development, there becomes a wider divide between employees: skills inequality. With this type of inequality increasing in the workplace, companies may realize that their company culture starts to sour, causing large initiatives to slow or fail.  

Failing Team Culture

As companies start pursuing the Future of Work and implementing modern initiatives, such as Work From Anywhere (WFA), some may run into an unexpected roadblock concerning team communications. Collaboration platforms are implemented, but teams act fragmented.

Cisco Webex says, “When it comes to how people collaborate, form follows function.”

This means that if a remote team can no longer collaborate with tools in place, then it’s important not to blame the tools for the challenges. Instead, the roadblock is actually the team’s culture. The team likely can hardly collaborate in an in-person environment, so they do not transition well to a remote environment. 

One cause of this may be the size of the team. If a team is too large, they can be ineffective because they are taking up a lot of time and energy to come to an agreement. On the other hand, smaller teams with clear accountability often perform better because they are focused on getting things done instead of appeasing the entire team.

Another cause of the fractured culture may be the leadership. If teams are empowered and individuals are allowed to be independent while they WFA, they will flourish. But if the company or leadership focuses on controlling the remote team, the team culture will be harmed and individual employees won’t perform as desired.

Conclusion

The Future of Work in your company depends on your employees and leadership team. You decide where the company is going and how long it will take to get there. Where are you headed right now? What changes does your organization need to make for the future? What roadblocks do you need to get rid of in order to pursue the Future of Work? 

If your company needs guidance for transitioning to a new collaboration platform or learning how to use one, learn more about our collaboration services here and learn more about our training services here.

Pin It on Pinterest