There’s been a rise in remote work over the past few years. With companies forced to embrace remote work collaboration during the pandemic, many employees were pleasantly surprised by how much they enjoyed working from their homes. As companies returned to their offices, people found ways to continue working remotely. In fact, a 2022 Gallup poll revealed that only two in ten remote-capable employees in the U.S. currently work entirely on-site.
While this statistic may seem surprising, it’s not hard to understand. Remote work offers a wide range of benefits. When it comes to balancing their time, employees find remote work to be more accommodating. They no longer need to factor in travel time to and from work, and they can take small breaks throughout the day to spend time with their families. Remote workers also feel they have more flexibility because they can work anywhere (or anywhere with a reliable Internet connection, at least) and don’t have to arrange their schedules around travel plans. This flexibility has contributed to increased attendance for many companies. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, many employees find they are more productive when working from home because they can focus on their work without being distracted in the office.
Despite these benefits, there are still many challenges associated with working remotely. First of all, it’s harder to build trust and relationships between employees who are working in different locations. Fewer day-to-day interactions occur over a computer, making it more challenging to build personal connections. A lack of personal relationships can hinder workplace collaboration and have a negative impact on a company’s productivity and culture.
So, how can companies embrace the benefits of remote work while overcoming the challenges? Let’s start by talking about why cross-site collaboration is vital to a company’s success. We’ll then go through key points to consider when creating a cross-site collaboration strategy and explain how Panzura can help.
Why Is Cross-Site Collaboration So Important?
Whether companies have mostly remote or on-site employees, cross-site collaboration can give them a major competitive advantage. As mobile technology advances, more tools than ever allow companies to communicate and collaborate from anywhere in the world. Before companies take steps to develop cross-site collaboration strategies, they need to understand its critical importance in today’s competitive workplace.
Cross-site collaboration enables companies to receive instant feedback from both employees and customers. This information allows companies to develop competitive products and services and meet deadlines. Cross-site collaboration also lends itself to increased productivity. No matter where employees are, they can converse and collaborate as if they were in the same room. This increased engagement also makes up-to-date information more readily available, which means multiple employees can work on the same content in real time. This benefit alone can save significant time and money.
Knowledge sharing is another vital component of cross-site collaboration. Employees can engage with each other no matter where they are, allowing them to share valuable insights and learn from one another. Without meaningful collaboration, remote work can be isolating. Some employees may think they’re just as productive without interacting with their colleagues. However, cross-site collaboration enables and promotes communication between employees. In turn, this communication broadens their knowledge and skill sets, which ultimately benefits the company. If an employee leaves a company but has shared knowledge with colleagues, there is less of a knowledge gap.
Ultimately, employees will only adopt cross-site collaboration if the solution a company implements is effective. If the solution is adopted, the gap between remote and on-site workers will be bridged.
How to Make Remote Team Collaboration More Successful
Remote collaboration can give companies a competitive advantage in today’s crowded marketplace, but they must be intentional about the policies they set for their teams. For any business looking to establish a formal remote work policy, here are essential points to consider:
Communication is key
Even though remote employees may not interact with each other in person, it’s important that they have access to communication channels to engage in collaboration. Companies should let their employees know how to get in touch with each other and choose communication channels that suit their culture and needs.
Managers should be clear and concise when relaying this information to their teams. Employees don’t need to be bombarded with excessive details that they have to sort through. Teams will be the most productive if they have a clear understanding of what they need to know.
It’s also important to find a time in everyone’s day when they are available to communicate. Remote work has enabled companies to hire from a broader pool of talent, which can result in employees working in different time zones. To streamline the communication process, companies should find a window of time during the day when employees can engage with each other, no matter where they work.
Create a centralized hub.
Remote work can seem overwhelming, especially if employees don’t know where to find their designated tasks. Project management software can simplify this process and make necessary details easily accessible to employees. If companies have a lot of remote workers, they should be careful to select software that accommodates the unique needs of a hybrid workforce.
When choosing a project management platform, companies should look for one that holds everything employees need to collaborate, complete tasks, and communicate from any location. Employees will also need a centralized way to share files, ask questions and make comments, and track their progress. Software that enables all these things facilitates faster team collaboration.
Invest in team building.
When employees work from all over the country, and even the world, there’s a certain level of connection lost that is traditionally built through in-person interactions. However, technology enables companies to overcome this barrier in new ways. Video meetings allow organizations to share important updates and information with their employees. These meetings also provide opportunities for teams to celebrate significant milestones. Video calls help employees establish more empathy for each other. Employees can put faces to names, thus building trust and emotional connections.
Companies can get creative and engage in virtual team building rituals. Setting aside intentional time for employees to get to know each other outside of work will make for a happier work environment and more productive employees.
The Role of Technology in Virtual Collaboration
Gone are the days when work could be centered around specific hardware only available at one location. Whether employees work on-site or from home, they need access to company resources outside the office. Virtualization has allowed companies to engage in more cross-site collaboration. It’s also set companies up to be more competitive as they draw in and retain new talent. Panzura specializes in this virtualization.
With Panzura Connect, companies can create shared workspaces outside their firewalls, allowing them to share files with third parties and contractors while staying in control of their data. Data is saved in a shared workspace and synced to the CloudFS platform. Through Panzura Connect and CloudFS, companies of all types and sizes can take remote work collaboration to a whole new level.
As we’ve already noted, remote work can be overwhelming without a system to organize your work and data. Data transferring can be messy. Employees have to download a copy of a file to their personal computers before making edits and uploading a new version to the cloud. Panzura simplifies this process. CloudFS enables users to make changes directly on files by replicating on multiple servers simultaneously. So, instead of sending new files back and forth, Panzura simply sends the changes made to files back and forth. This process enables remote access to files, preventing a disjointed workflow and accelerating client deliverables.
As amazing as global file access is, mistakes still happen. People accidentally delete or alter files. CloudFS is an immutable storage system, meaning companies will always be able to recover their files. This recovery feature also means that files are effectively protected from the ever-present risks of ransomware. So, no matter where employees are or what happens when they are working on a company’s data, that data can always be restored to a previous version.
Panzura helps companies master cross-site collaboration. Employees can and should be able to succeed, whether they work on-site or remotely. Companies just have to take the first step and utilize the resources available to make that happen.