In today’s complex work place we walk a fine line between healthy communication and overwhelming our teams. Fortunately, we have realized the consequences of information overload and a slew of products and management tools have begun to hit the market. Study after study has proven that with the right mix of technology and smart management we can create productive, satisfying work environment. Interested in achieving that balance? Let's talk technology- check out our blog here for articles on smart management.
Let’s start with a must-have tool; your employees need a chat service. Why do you need a chat feature when you have email? Because right now, in our current workplace, we use email all wrong. Email was an awesome breakthrough 30 years ago, but it has gone from an effective form of communication to a burdensome, over-used distraction. The average worker checks their email 30 times an hour! We need to put email back into its proper place rather than as a catchall communication tool. Chat allows your employees to answer questions on the fly with minimal interruption. It can be used for real time collaboration between 2 or more employees. Consider that today’s business class chat services are much more than your run-of-the mill peer to peer chat. You ought to be able to share files and keep conversations archived and organized.
Next, you need to consider a web conferencing service. Web conferencing sound a bit over-the-top? Studies show that web conferencing is far more productive than in-person meetings. They tend to be shorter, better prepared and provide you with a recorded account of your meeting. One of the best features about web conferencing is that your team shares a white board that they can take with them for reference. Break-out rooms let a participants “step-out of the room” or let’s you break the meeting up into groups. There are literally dozens and dozens of tools to explore, all designed to enhance your meetings. Beyond paper and pens can you think of which tools you use in your physical in-person meetings? The only decision here is how many seats you will need. Web conferencing services come in a variety of “sizes” from 10 to 200 seats.
Beyond web conferencing is webinar service. This type of platform that allows you to hold meetings with more than 200 seats. While they can still be interactive, they are typically more of a presentation style meeting. Webinars are also fantastic for creating persistent training material. Built in registration allows you to capture information on who is attending your webinar while security features allow you to restrict attendance. Quizzes, polling and Q&A sessions allow presenters to engage the audience.
Finally, video conferencing ought to be considered. Typically video conferencing involves a conference room set-up with a room spanning, high quality camera. This is a polished, in-person type meeting, appropriate for your more formal meetings. Of course, it’s more than a video interaction. Like with web conferencing you can share files, power point presentations and more. A robust tool, video conferencing hardware is a worthwhile investment if you already have a physical conference room set-up. Pro-tip- be sure that your video conferencing service is standards-based. Standards-based systems work with other platforms- so if you choose LifeSize as your video conferencing service, for example, you can still meet with a colleague using Avaya, for example.
After stepping back and considering your organizations communication needs you will likely begin the hunt to piece these components together. I highly recommend that you find a platform that offers ALL of these services in a seamless platform. You may not need webinar services now, however, you may down the road. It’s much easier to call your provider and add a service your employees already know rather than rip and replace. Business class services are built to work together. They are encrypted so you’re your chats and archived meetings are safe. The investment is typically pretty minimal and has proven returns. These tools will improve productivity, help your employees feel a sense of work life balance and will ultimately improve the bottom line.
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