Do you miss bouncing ideas off your colleagues? Sometimes you need a new person’s input to solve a difficult problem. You might be unsure whether your idea is feasible, but the team putting it into action sits in a different office space. It’s so frustrating to get miles into the planning process only to have somebody tell you that the solution you’ve discovered is far out of the budget. But how do you collaborate across teams when you’re scattered all across different home office spaces? Welcome to digital collaboration. Grab your hot beverage of choice and dive into the collaborative world in a digital age. 

What is Digital Collaboration? 

Digital collaboration means using technology to collaborate with people in different places and areas of expertise. Some examples of digital collaboration are:

  • Online meetings and webinars, such as Zoom
  • Team Chatrooms
  • Co-authored documents and spreadsheets, such as Google Notes 
  • Email
  • Shared to-do lists 
  • Software-as-a-Service platforms (SaaS) 

Working together in person isn’t possible for most people at the moment. Luckily, technology has our backs. You may are working in an office with other remote workers. Perhaps you’re working with another office in another country. Or maybe the whole company is working from home. Digital collaboration makes it possible for you to talk via video calls, share documents to edit in real-time, and manage your documents and projects in the cloud. 

Ideal Digital Collaboration Components

  • Willing Collaborators: No, we’re not talking about the Revolutionary War here. Whether digital or in-person, collaboration can only be beneficial when everyone has similar goals and desires. Digital Collaboration is not a great place for employees or learners who are looking to roll their eyes. Get your fellow employees motivated to collaborate. 
  • Collaborative Tools: the choice of technology will determine how your employees feel to engage with collaboration. It needs to be intuitive and engaging without feeling overwhelming. 
  • Devices: when taking your business into the 21st century, do not keep your collaborators glued to their laptops and PCs. Smartphones and tablets are the ideal digital places for collaboration. 

Digital Collaboration and eLearning

For the most part, we talk about eLearning and edTech on this corner of the internet. Digital collaboration is useful in the learning and development field. Research shows that learners who can communicate with their peers, bounce ideas off one another, and naturally check their understanding are more likely to learn more long term. 

Businesses can easily integrate digital collaboration into hybrid learning styles. For example, a forum allows learners to have ideas explained to them in new and unique ways or shares articles about current units. 

Digital Collaboration, Productivity, and Happiness

Aristotle said, “Man is by nature a social animal,” and no amount of pandemic threat can change the nature of our very being. It is not surprising that research has found those workplaces that value digital collaboration to have happier employees. Happier employees make for both friendlier working environments but also better profit margins. You’d be looking at up to 13% higher productivity. That may not seem very much, but imagine how that spreads into other business areas over the years. Since most employees use social tools, such as social media, in their private lives, a digital collaboration tool needs to be integrated into their work lives. This way, it has a chance to become a natural extension to their working day. 



What are the Benefits of Digital Collaboration?

  • Happier Employees: as previously mentioned, a social, collaborative employee has a chance at being a more satisfied worker.
  • Greater Efficiency: having the opportunity to ask an expert on a field in the company rather than trawling through hours of google searches makes for more efficient work. Additionally, an online collaboration tool means gathering all communications in one space, having people weigh in you may not have considered, and not losing track of ideas. 
  • Tracking: Digital collaboration means waving goodbye to labeling files obnoxious things like FINAL final edit. It becomes easier to keep track of the latest edition of a project. 
  • Cost-effective: digital collaboration software tends to offer flexible pay-as-you-go packages, making it possible to buy more or less licenses depending on business needs. It’s also definitely cheaper than having to book plane tickets and hotels. Not to mention, far better for the environment. 
  • Safer Security: if the entire point of collaborative software keeps you and your ideas safe, you can trust their security is up to scratch. 
  • Shy Colleague: You know that one lady who has fantastic ideas whenever she speaks in a meeting? Or the guy who struggles with eye contact? Online collaboration gives these people a chance to share what they feel, think, and want. The more people’s ideas can be shared and used for collaboration; the more innovation can happen. 

What are the Disadvantages of Digital Collaboration?

  • Online collaboration tools require many to keep up with a seemingly never-ending amount of pop-up messages, emails and reading. While it improves productivity, on the one hand, some employees will fall down a rabbit hole of chit-chat. 
  • No face-to-face interactions: While digital collaboration can feel very close to real-life interaction, it is essential to remember that it cannot replace the feeling of ideas flying through the air, of interrupting one another with excitement, of feeling the buzz of a new project coming to life.

Conclusion

Work without collaboration feels sad and empty. As many employees working from home are hitting the proverbial wall when it comes to their home offices, now is an excellent time to invest in digital collaboration. Especially learning and development stand to gain so much from the input of each learner. Don’t delay and find a way to collaborate using powerful digital collaboration tools.