Sending messages ? communicating with colleagues Staying in touch with colleagues should be a whole lot easier, because you will have access to a direct email account or phone line. However, in the digital age there are hundreds of weird and wonderful ways of working together online, and while they won?t all be everyone?s cup of tea, it?s certainly worth experimenting with what?s available. Texting, Facebook, WhatsApp, and Skype and so on are easy ways to stay in touch with colleagues ? even when they?re out of the office. As long as staff remain connected to the internet, they should also be able to access emails remotely, and in theory there?s nothing to prevent a team working together as efficiently as if they were at a shared desk. It?s not just about communication though, it?s about working on shared projects and collaborating smoothly. According to a report by Dimensional Research, 98 per cent of connected employees collaborate, and 94 per cent believe collaboration is important. Unsurprisingly, 83 per cent depend on technology to collaborate ? even when sharing the same office space, it is sometimes necessary to be able to send information, reports and charts etc. between colleagues. ?Instant messaging, conferencing and file sharing have become common practice in our personal lives, therefore, there is no reason why this cannot be transferred into a professional environment. Confidence in secure and cloud-based solutions is increasing meaning businesses are becoming more open to increased workplace collaboration services,? said Patchett. Slack is probably the best-know online collaboration tool, but there are plenty of alternatives, such as HipChat and Flock. These sorts of tools allow you to create one-on-one or group chat boxes, to-do-lists and file-sharing features. It?s worth shopping around and working out which features would be relevant at your business, as there are plenty of different options and prices. Another alternative is Google Docs, which enables several people operating at different remote sites to work on the same project in real-time. The benefit of this is that, as long as you have a reliable internet connection, you can see updates to the project on a real-time basis ? rather than sending updated versions of a file back and forth. Examples of collaboration tools: Skype, Slack, Google Docs, Flock, Bitrix24 and Jostle. By now, it is probably clear the lines of communication are well and truly open ? all a business has to do is decide which to take advantage of. A businesses communication tool choices will vary depending on the number of staff, the number of clients, and even the demographic of its clients ? for example, a business serving predominantly younger consumers may be more inclined to dedicate time to an Instagram account than one serving an older generation. Shop around, take out some free trials and decided which features your business could benefit from.
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