Businesses often implement new communication tools.

Businesses often implement new communication tools. Usually, they are quicker and more collaborative, thus helping employees increase their efficiency while improving the quality of their work. However, they often require your staff to add a new computer skill. Don't panic! Here are a few tips that will help you acquire the necessary skills almost effortlessly.

For the last two decades, there has been a lot of change in the workplace. Of course, it is easy to identify the culprit: The arrival of the internet.

There are three main reasons the internet has had an impact on how we work. First, there is the continuing race against time in the workplace. The staff are expected to increase their output and perform it in less time. Work increasingly idolizes the idea of NOW –reflecting our need to be both multitasking and fast.

This idea is not new. The arrival of the telephone had already given the same sensation to workers in the middle of the 20th century but the internet has accelerated work even more. Actions and relationships, whether internal to the company or external to partners and customers, are now multiplied and (almost always) in real time.

The second reason comes from the richness of our exchanges. With the increasing digitization of the world and the simplicity of the tools, we can share so much more. We exchange texts, images, presentations, videos, calendars and virtual hard disks (even if we don't always know it). There seems to be no end to the things we can share!

The third reason, intimately linked to the first, is the development of a range of new tools that meet this need for instant gratification - and there is no shortage of these tools. First of all, there are, of course, the instant messaging services, which have been an essential tool for 20 years and whose usefulness no longer needs to be proved, even if there are potential downsides.

Collaboration helps employee well-being

Thanks to employees collaborating and using new technology they are happier. An Avanade survey shows that 77 percent of decision makers use collaboration technologies, and that 82% of businesses already using them want to increase their use.

The goal is to improve employee productivity and responsiveness. However, to be effective, the increase in productivity must not lead to more stress for employees.

Fortunately, studies show that collaborative tools streamline workers' organization and increase their autonomy. Employee well-being matters: According to a Deloitte study on well-being and digital collaboration at work, workers are 17 percent more satisfied with the corporate culture when they use digital collaboration tools.

There are many advantages to using collaboration tools. Employees can (and this list is far from exhaustive) share information, manage projects, efficiently store large files, share strategic intelligence, share knowledge, train themselves, develop their online visibility, improve customer relations, and boost marketing. In fact, using social technologies help workers increase their productivity by 20 to 25% (McKinsey, 2012)

Beware of innovation for innovation’s sake

If businesses (and even more so individuals) have at their disposal a veritable armada of hugely powerful communication tools (see Brian Solis's "conversation prism" below), employees can easily feel overwhelmed. It can be difficult for staff who are not digital natives to keep up to date with all the skills they need to use all the tools they are faced with. And to be honest, even Millennials have a hard time keeping up with the speed at which these communication solutions are multiplying!

Be careful, however, not to experiment too much. At the end of the day, businesses and R&D labs are two different things. You need to have a compelling reason to adopt new collaborative tools and ensure that goals are set to monitor their effectiveness.

Fundamentally, there is no need to turn everything upside down by imposing a mountain of complex new applications, with complicated interfaces and full of unnecessary functions, especially if the only reason that you are doing it is because it is currently in vogue.

Don’t panic!

For employees, this almost constant wave of new tools can be frightening. They require computer skills that employees don't always have and rules of use that they can’t always master. However, there is no need to panic – their feeling of apprehension is natural. HR knows it and, in any event, you will probably start with a maximum of one or two new tools. Some solutions, however, are real Swiss Army knives of communication tools and incorporate a huge number of functions. So, here are a few tips to help you with your new application:

Identify a few colleagues with whom you will be experimenting in a small group (maximum 5 or 6 people). Start by looking at a few simple functions and focus on those which will have a direct impact on your objectives.

Ask! There is no shame if there is something you don’t know! Dare to ask questions in your small group. Ask. Talk. Communicate. And if no one can answer your question, ask the person in charge of deploying the application – they will almost certainly have the answer.

Train yourself. You will probably receive internal training but if that's not enough, the internet is full of training and tutorials. You can find them in almost any format: Text, step-by-step guides or video.

Share your skills. Collaborative tools promote and facilitate exchanges. Apply this principle in real life. A colleague who needs a hand will thank you for it.

About the author
Blog author olivier saint leger 82x82

Olivier Saint-Léger

IT specialist in High-Tech

Olivier Saint-Léger has worked for 15 years in the biggest specialized titles of IT and high-tech. Olivier has also designed and implemented a digital product dedicated to Press Relations at DDB / Ketchum.

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