It is rather counter-intuitive to associate collaborative work and telework in the same expression. It's obviously easier to get a team to work together when you can be grouped together! But the Covid-19 pandemic has reshuffled the cards: forced to learn to work remotely, while continuing to manage projects in collaborative mode.

Remote work is now going to be imposed in most French companies. Those who were not used to teleworking are discovering the possibility, if not the advantages. If some companies are still reluctant to see their employees dispersed, some situations force them to develop new collaborative models. Rather than rejecting online collaboration even if it means getting stuck in the water, why not try to adopt this new project management? Blue Soft gives you the keys to tame remote work while keeping your team together.

Collaborative work, even when working from home

The current situation confirms it: remote working is the royal, and sometimes unique, way to maintain the company's activity, whatever the context. In some cases, working alone can be done both in the office and remotely, as might be the case for a developer who has a few lines of code to write. But collaborating online and remotely is just as possible, and it's even an opportunity to discover that it can have some advantages.

Remote collaboration improves information sharing

In multi-site structures or with nomadic employees, remote work is the most appropriate solution to keep in touch. Online collaboration maintains a high level of communication and sharing: information is transmitted in real time via instant messaging and documents are accessible by all actors thanks to file sharing platforms in cloud (such as Sharepoint, in particular).

Prioritize quality over practicality

The use of collaborative platforms makes it possible to avoid systematizing on-site work and to reduce the number of untimely e-mails. Digital tools blur the boundaries: the choice of a partner, a freelancer or a consultant is no longer based on geographical location, but on skills, which leads to quality-oriented decisions rather than convenience.

Be responsive to crisis situations while teleworking

Everyone has learned the lesson of containment: every company must be able to respond to a situation that is out of its control. In order to maintain its level of production and delivery, the organization is encouraged to design new collaboration models. Through digital tools, it guarantees the best possible continuity of its activities, even when being on site is no longer possible. Bonus: the time saved by not moving around makes projects smoother, less interrupted, faster.

Some work tools and software to promote collaborative work in telecommuting

There are many tools, more or less competing, with complementary functionalities. Our favorites are those from Microsoft, both for their reliability and for their integration at all levels of the company's life. But some tools on the market also have their advantages, and if you are not yet equipped with the complete Microsoft suite, they can take over, in a hurry.

Messaging and videoconferencing to communicate

Microsoft Teams: now the preferred messaging of businesses, Teams integrates all the features of Skype. Remote meetings, screen sharing, video conferencing ... Teams is useful in many circumstances. Suitable for organizations of all sizes, it can accommodate many participants.

Slack: This popular open source instant messaging tool is attractive because it is blockchain-based and low cost. Its design facilitates communication between collaborators and encourages both one-to-one andteam discussions.

Zoom: suddenly very famous, this video conferencing application allows to organize meetings with a large number of people, such as webinars, for example.

Visual planning to get organized

Planner or Trello: two "enemy brothers" that have many similarities. Thanks to their table-based operation, they allow for very visual collaborative project management, through task management. Open and easy to use, they change their appearance according to each person's desires and are easy to navigate.

Asana: to-do list, instant messaging, calendar... Asana combines many features to meet all the needs of a team working remotely. Sober and efficient, the workspace knows how to fade away to make room for content.

Monday: more than complete, Monday allows you to perform miracles, or almost. Fully customizable, it requires a bit of skill to get started. Once you've got the hang of it, it makes collaboration much easier.

To store and modify

Google Drive: the essential file-sharing tool (Google Sheet, Google Doc...) allows multiple users to work on word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, sites, forms, design or maps. Its collaborative features, such as comments or suggestions, are non-invasive so as not to clutter up the core of the work while promoting cooperation. Problem: there is a great deal of mistrust regarding data confidentiality

Dropbox: the collaborative tool has come a long way from its file storage offering. Teams can now communicate, annotate, edit, collect documents and other media. It connects to other applications like Slack to concentrate everything collaborators need. But as with Google, there is some distrust of data security.

The "All in One" solution: Microsoft Office 365 for collaborative work

The solution that integrates all of the features presented above is obviously Office 365. Developed by Microsoft, it is a 100% digital solution that integrates many communication features. File sharing, e-mail, intranet, online meetings and office suite: all of which greatly facilitate collaborative work in telecommuting

Office 365 customers who had to switch to telecommuting overnight probably suffered less than others. And teamwork was able to continue while respecting the social distance imposed. Some even found it beneficial, at least for a short time.

For the conviviality aspect, the suite also has a tool that is similar to social networks: Yammer. Used for projects but also for lighter discussions, exchanges of good tips, cafeteria conversations, Yammer makes up for the lack of human contact that can be felt when you are too often or too long away.

Reactivity, simplified communication... Collaborative work in telework has many advantages that it would be a shame not to take advantage of. But only if you do it for the right reasons and under the right conditions. The keys to a successful transition: early adoption of these tools by management, as well as a complete training of the people involved.

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