When it Comes to Collaboration, Simplicity is King

At least 75% of businesses think collaboration matters, but they’re not putting their resources where their mouths are.

According to research from the Queens University of Charlotte, roughly 75% of employers rate teamwork and collaboration as “very important.” Despite this, multiple studies, including the recently released Spiceworks Annual State of IT Report, indicate that businesses aren’t putting resources into creating environments that foster and support collaboration.

But, why? I have a theory: no one is explaining how to do it very well, so companies are left trying to figure it out on their own, and the most popular IT trends aren’t driving businesses in the right direction, either.

Just because a trend looks great and costs a lot of money doesn’t mean that it’s going to be easy to use in your work environment, or that it will drive collaboration just because it’s there. If don’t know how to use the collaboration tools or the employees don’t feel confident using the features in front of an audience, they will likely avoid it.

Five years ago, a lot of companies wanted high end rooms that had all sorts of bells and whistles. No rooms worked or felt the same. Everyone wanted control panels and a unique feature for every meeting room. Collaboration spaces were complex and rich with features the users would get caught up with so many options to choose from. The idea behind these rooms was that having spaces outfitted with the best of the best would foster collaboration.

These types of spaces did have two big outcomes, but neither of them were “more collaboration.”

Most of the time, each room was being outfitted with different components purchased at different times and installed on a whim, with different rules and instructions for operating each room, they also required additional time for setup. Secretly the IT team was pulling their hair out when no one was looking because they had a job to perform outside of all the audio visual troubleshooting which was more of job they inherit opposed to sign up for!

Today, we’ve figured out that creating effective collaborative environments requires more than just a bunch of fancy equipment in every room. The tech requires forethought, an integration plan, simplicity, all on its own.

The goal for creating collaborative working spaces that actually works for your employees starts with simplicity. Sure, the different technology manufactures come out of the box feature rich these days but it’s up to the company to scale the features back and only offer features that their employee’s need.

Trends won’t tell you that. Trends want you to invest in complicated, big ticket solutions that solve your big conference room problems and your small meeting room problems in profound and unique ways. But simplicity works. Sure, your big conference room and your small meeting rooms are different types of rooms, but when it comes to basic functionality, they’re “basically” the same.

In the perfect collaborative environment, any employee can walk into any room, plug in, and everything turns on, there are limited options in rooms and those features are strait forward from a programming perspective. Whether it’s the biggest room or the smallest one. It may sound too good to be true. This type of working environment is a reality. And here’s the biggest secrete sauce of them all;

Simple good, complex bad.

It might sound so difficult, so impossible when you first think through this idea of simplifying technology but it’s really not. Gone are the days when every meeting space that has to be set up prior to the big meeting by your IT department. If you didn’t already know most IT teams are also tired of the trouble-shooting involved with these more complicated rooms so in my humble opinion its time to simplify and work with enterprise manufactures, built by true technology companies to provide simple, easy to use collaboration tools everyone at your company will enjoy moving forward.

When it comes to collaboration, simplicity is always king. Are you putting your resources into simplicity or are you putting them someplace else?

Originally published at https://www.linkedin.com.

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Tobey Halstead is a Senior Account Manager for IES Communications, entrepreneur, and expert in communications technology, systems, and services.

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Tobey Halstead

Tobey Halstead

Tobey Halstead is a Senior Account Manager for IES Communications, entrepreneur, and expert in communications technology, systems, and services.

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