Workers are more connected than ever – so why is enterprise collaboration lagging?

by Staff Writer

The average worker has more communication tools at their disposal than ever, employees say poor communication – whether with team members, cross-functional or external partners or some or all of the above – frequently gets in the way of peak effectiveness. 

Whether it’s instant messaging or channels such as Slack and video-conferencing, today’s worker has numerous channels available to discuss strategies and action plans and share real-time results with colleagues. Yet 86% of employees blame workplace failures on ineffective communication and a lack of collaboration, according to a survey by Clear Company.

86% blame workplace failures on ineffective communication and a lack of collaboration

On the surface, this flood of options for communicating seems directly at odds with the poor results workers are reporting. But it may be that abundance of discrete tools available to teams is having the opposite of their intended effect, eroding teams’ abilities to collaborate, and ultimately to work at peak effectiveness. 

Collaboration tools inhibit performance

An overwhelming majority of the workforce – 97 percent of those polled in a survey by Clear – agree that project results ultimately come down to successful alignment between workers and teams. And though the number and availability of tools that aim to enable sharing and collaboration is ever-growing, even basic functionality is often hindered by security features that can limit visibility for some users and requirements that businesses pay for licenses for every individual who needs access. These factors get in the way of your ability to efficiently share information with partners and team members as instead of seamlessly enabling access, they require you to spend time (and often additional budget in the form of licensing fees) configuring each new user.  

Alignment within a team impacts the outcome of a task or project

Resolving this paradox lies in frictionless sharing that gives everyone instant access to the information they need – without incurring additional fees or putting data security at risk. 

A platform that lets you share important information as needed eliminates the cost and time lags of configuring new users, allowing teams to efficiently communicate and collaborate with internal and external partners. Here are some key features to look for that can eliminate communication challenges that interfere with workers’ ability to deliver their best work:

  • Granular user permissions, such as view-only access: one of the key concepts of data security is the principle of least privilege, which means granting only the minimal level of access that people require to do their jobs. This concept balances the need for critical data and information with the protection of sensitive and confidential business information. Granular user permissions allow you to grant access and functionalities, such as the ability to edit or download information, on an as-needed basis – allowing you to share the data people need to do their jobs, while reducing risks to security and data integrity.

  • Easy integration with other business apps and platforms: From PowerPoint and Excel to Google Drive to Dropbox, workers use countless tools every day to compile data and create reports and action plans and perform other key business tasks. And if your collaboration platform is not compatible with all of these tools, then workers will either need to create workarounds that align with their needs or waste valuable time on tasks such as reformatting. Meanwhile, a platform that integrates with other apps teams are using to compile data and do their work eliminates this common problem. 

Challenges in sharing data and collaborating aren’t the only problems standing in the way of peak effectiveness for today’s worker. From the deluge of email to the never-ending slog of compiling status reports, uncover the solutions to other key workplace challenges by downloading Smartsheet’s latest report, 6 Reasons Your Work Is so Dysfunctional — and What You Can Do About It