HB Blog

Insights from the leadership at HB on technology and culture

How to Take Your Video Collaboration to the Next Level

on August 15, 2016

Four walls no longer confine today’s businesses. We can instantly connect with people on the opposite side of the planet, close deals across oceans, and collaborate with partners on other continents—most often through video collaboration. Video conferencing, telepresence, and other distance collaboration tools aren’t brand-new technology, but today’s professionals are using them in innovative ways.

Follow these five tips to help you optimize video technology to supercharge your collaborations—and make your voice heard around the world.

  1. Align the technology with your purpose. Are you using video collaboration tools to stay in touch with remote employees? Collaborate with partner organizations? Engage with clients? Be sure to deploy technology that aligns with your organizational purposes.

    Mobile video conferencing technology enables employees to join calls, screen-share, and collaborate from anywhere with internet access. Boardroom telepresence systems may forge deeper connections between international partners.

    Many people become overly focused on the intricate details and forget the main point of collaborative technology—connecting with other people in order to learn and grow. The technology should always support that objective—not take center stage at the expense of human connections. Unified communications systems make it easy to achieve multiple objectives on one platform.

    2. Avoid “groupthink” by inviting outside perspectives. One of the benefits of video conferencing is bringing in outside voices—and faces—to give your organization a fresh perspective. Avoiding “groupthink” can help your business grow in ways you never imagined. Surrounding yourself with people who think like you and agree with your practices may feel comfortable, but it doesn’t facilitate growth. Use video collaboration to expand the culture of your business and hear what the rest of the world is saying.  Video collaboration lets you consider the opinions of those who aren’t in your immediate circle. Fresh voices bring new perspectives to old topics. Use video collaboration to actively invite people to join your conversation. Speak with people—from partners to clients—who see your niche market differently in order to gain a more rounded viewpoint of any topic.
  1. Make sure everyone understands how to use the tools. After reading about the plethora of benefits video collaboration can bring to a company, many CEOs jump to incorporate the technology into their own offices. Unfortunately, many adopt the technology without first priming their teams. That could be why 43 percent of employees feel frustrated by collaboration tools. In the interests of both productivity and security, every employee who will be using unified communications and collaboration technology should have access to training sessions and the necessary support to use the tools to the greatest benefit.

    4. Eliminate silos in your organization to encourage video collaboration. While training is a first step to ensure widespread adoption of video collaboration tools, don’t forget the human element of encouraging collaboration—and then use technology to make that collaboration even easier.

    View your organization as a cohesive whole as well, rather than as a puzzle broken into pieces. Encourage cross-departmental collaboration and eliminate organizational silos—a phenomenon that occurs when people in one department become more loyal to their group than to the employer. Silos cannot work together or collaborate on a project. The answer to a silo situation is to convince employees to join forces for a common good. For instance, create a meeting agenda requiring cross-departmental communication. Evaluate employee performance through team goals. Then, encourage video collaboration as a tool to achieve those collective goals. Wall-sized electronic whiteboards, technology that permits you to send a feed from any laptop or mobile device to the conference room’s main screen, and video conferencing apps that allow participation from anywhere with internet access, all encourage employees to brainstorm and share ideas in an environmental where everyone feels like an equal participant.  When you build cohesion in the workplace first, your team can more readily accept and utilize video collaboration technology to its fullest potential. 
  1. Leverage individual strengths and encourage creativity. Leverage individual strengths by paying attention to solo activity as well as group collaboration. Video collaboration offers a vast landscape of creative opportunities for employees and executives. From setting up meetings across the globe to increasing workplace flexibility, your organization can use video collaboration in virtually any imaginable capacity. By all means, lay the groundwork for team collaborations, and provide training on the equipment, but also give your employees room to explore the capabilities of the available technology to achieve their goals.

Use Video Collaboration to Its Full Potential

Video collaboration allows us infinite opportunities to connect with the global marketplace and communicate effectively. Understanding how to optimize video collaboration in the workplace enables your business to use it to its fullest potential. If your organization is only scratching the surface of what’s possible with video collaboration, it may be time to embrace it as the highly effective tool it can be.

Photo Credit: Doblin/Monitor via Compfight cc