Innovating Collaboration

by | May 18, 2018 | Collaboration | 0 comments

Allowing your employees to communicate more effectively can directly boost productivity. Being on the cutting edge of collaboration is vital to truly leveraging your employees’ time and effort. Microsoft recently conducted a survey of 14,000 people about their perspectives surrounding collaboration during work and school. The survey covered generational and gender gaps, as well as differences between office and remote workers. It suggests two major shifts may be coming in the way we think about collaboration.

Generationally, there are clear trends. Of the four generations (Baby Boomer, Gen X, Millennial, Gen Z), only Baby Boomers chose in-person meetings as their preferred method of communication. Gen X and Millennials both chose emailing as their preferred communication method, with in-person meetings coming second. These results are somewhat expected.

The significant change is found in Gen Z, where email is not first, but third in the hierarchy of communication. Gen Z instead prefers chat, with in-person meetings coming in second. This underscores some important points. First, emailing will become more obsolete as chat steadily rises to be the most preferred method of communication. This is also illustrated by another finding in the study, that, regardless of age, 61% of respondents prefer communication to be short and sweet over long and detailed. This may foreshadow a migration from emailing services to chat-based collaboration methods like Microsoft Teams. But chat may not be openly embraced by older generations any time soon; between 40% and 50% of all age groups feel “stressed” when new communication tools are introduced. Another conclusion is that in-person meetings still matter. Even as more traditional forms of communication fall in importance to younger generations, in person meetings remain highly valued. All age groups seem to find value in genuine human connection. Unfortunately, it looks like face-to-face meetings, despite being popular, may become increasingly difficult.

The other prominent trend in this study is that remote work is not going away, and in fact may only be beginning its rise to prominence. Already, 42% of employees are working remotely 60% of their time. Remote work will soon become more normal than sitting in the office from 9 to 5. It is expected that by 2027 most workers will freelance. That may be transformative to how businesses operate.

While 79% of survey respondents contend that newer technology makes them more satisfied, a minority of all age groups are optimistic that technology can improve work-life balance. People seem to understand that as the traditional workday becomes an antiquity, they will be responsible for staying in contact with work outside of business hours. This anxiety regarding added accountability is even more pronounced in the youngest generation. Still, all generations are more luddite than expected about remote work.

What do these shifts in employee perception mean for you? Before you scrap your network’s email service and end the lease on your office space, it is important to understand how these shifts will directly affect your workforce. Younger employees will prefer collaborative chat services, older generations will continue to prefer emails, but everyone enjoys in-person meetings. As remote work takes over, prioritizing face-to-face meetings when you can will be a uniting experience for any office. A SharePoint site can allow remote workers easy access to applications and documents off-site. Alternatively, Microsoft Teams can combine many popular interfaces like Outlook, Office 365, Skype for Business, to fit anyone’s communicative preferences. For help in boosting productivity and deploying collaborative solutions, call 630.832.0075 or email