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digital-collaboration

How can digital collaboration support your team?

5 min read

When teams work together online, it can quickly lead to endless video conferences and e-mail chaos. Does this sound familiar? Digital collaboration needs to be learnt - you need the right tools and the right attitude and skills in the team. But what does that actually mean? We talk about "digital collaboration" when a team with any number of employees at different locations works together on projects using digital tools.

Successful digital collaboration - whether with colleagues working from home, at different company locations or with external parties - can significantly improve your team's day-to-day work. But what requirements and skills are actually important for online collaboration to work and inspire your team?

What are the advantages of digital collaboration for your team?

Digital collaboration enables your team to work together on tasks and projects without all team members having to be in the same place. You can share ideas, create and assign tasks and always keep track of project progress.

Your team benefits from several advantages at once:

  • Thanks to direct and transparent communication in real time, team members can coordinate better and relevant information no longer gets lost in email inboxes or in confusing Excel spreadsheets.
  • The exchange of data and documents works more smoothly. This means that employees have access to all relevant information at any time and in any place. With user and rights management on Stackfield, you can easily control who has access to which data.
  • Working anywhere, anytime can increase employee motivation and satisfaction.
  • Workflows can be optimised through the use of collaboration tools. Your team will work more efficiently and productivity will increase.

Successfully mastering the challenges of digital collaboration

As a team leader, you have two main challenges to overcome: firstly, you have to drive forward a change in the IT infrastructure and secondly, you have to reduce the team members' inhibitions about change and train them accordingly.

What technological requirements should you consider?

Decision in favour of the "right" technology: Whether project management software, chat tool or cloud service for data management - the choice of the right solution has a significant impact on the efficiency and productivity of the team. The technology must fulfil the individual needs of your team and integrate as seamlessly as possible into existing systems. An all-in-one tool like Stackfield supports digital collaboration without any bumpy interfaces.

Data protection & security: The more information and data is exchanged and stored digitally, the more the issues of data protection and data security naturally come into focus. On the one hand, this is about protecting data from loss and, on the other, about data sovereignty for sensitive data. As a GDPR-compliant and ISO-certified solution from Germany with genuine end-to-end encryption, Stackfield offers exactly the added value that is needed in terms of data protection and security.

Efficient in-house IT infrastructure: The promotion of digital collaboration may require adjustments to the company's own server hardware. Such investments can be minimised by using cloud-based solutions.

How are you preparing your team for the change?

In order for your team to fully benefit from the many advantages of digital collaboration and for the change to be experienced as positive in everyday working life right from the start, you need openness and a willingness to embrace new processes. On the one hand, good acceptance depends on the digital skills of the team members. On the other hand, a number of "soft" factors can boost enthusiasm for the possibilities of online collaboration.

5 tips for the introduction of digital collaboration

Tip 1: Promoting digital skills
Make your team fit in terms of digital skills with training or by involving external experts. This can turn shyness about digital solutions into curiosity. Stackfield also offers the opportunity to help you familiarise yourself with the tool.

Tip 2: Involvement of the team & scope for decision-making
Don't present the introduction of digital collaboration as an irrevocable decision "from above", but rather organise the transition phase as a joint project. For example, you can set up a free 14-day test phase in Stackfield and create and work on initial tasks together. Some employees will certainly see digital collaboration as a real opportunity right from the start. They can help you as "influencers" to increase the motivation of more hesitant team members.

Tip 3: Understanding the new challenges
Signal to your team that you are aware of the challenges associated with the introduction or expansion of digital collaboration. And above all, ask questions: Is collaboration across time zones or cultural differences perceived as difficult? What does your team want from you as a team leader? Are employees concerned about personal contact in the collaboration?

Tip 4: Appropriate time period
If the time frame for the introduction of digital collaboration is very tight, employees can experience this as stress and feel under pressure. This naturally has a negative impact on motivation and acceptance. Experts recommend around six months as the recommended duration for establishing online collaboration. The decisive factor here is the extent to which a team is already familiar with digital processes.

Tip 5: Clarity & reliable rules
Even in digital collaboration - or especially there - some basic rules from classic project management are absolutely valid. They ensure clarity, prevent misunderstandings and duplication of work and thus support the efficiency of teamwork. Among other things through

  • a clear distribution of roles and tasks,
  • defined communication rules and channels,
  • defined goals,
  • a binding time frame.

Why a collaboration tool is often the first step towards digital collaboration

The decision in favour of (more) digital collaboration is a great opportunity to take teamwork to the next level. Of course, the aim is to increase productivity through better workflows. For team members, successful digital collaboration also means that their day-to-day work is more structured and processes are simplified.

The introduction of a collaboration tool can be the first step in this direction: by creating clearly organised individual tasks, the members of your team know exactly which to-dos fall within their area of responsibility. Workflows also become more transparent and traceable. This in turn means less unwanted duplication of work and time-consuming overlaps.

Communication within the team can also be improved using a collaboration tool. Among other things, targeted task-related exchanges are possible and other team members can be addressed directly through mentions. Group chats and regular video conferences create a sense of togetherness. Thanks to the joint editing of documents in real time, there can be an intensive exchange that does not suffer from time-delayed feedback. A collaboration tool with suitable communication channels is therefore actually able to bridge the physical distance in decentralised teams.

Promoting digital collaboration: It's worth it!

By driving forward digital collaboration, you will strengthen your team in the long term. They can work much more effectively or find their day-to-day work a whole lot easier and clearer. Through efficient task and project management, all-in-one tools such as Stackfield help you to keep an eye on your team's workload at all times. This allows you to react when necessary, avoid stress and keep team satisfaction high. And "digital" doesn't have to mean "impersonal". Even in teams with different locations, employees stay in close contact - not least thanks to collaboration tools like Stackfield.

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Cristian Mudure
About the Author:
Cristian Mudure is the Founder and CEO of Stackfield. He loves digital business models and spends his spare time on the tennis court.
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