4 Ways Business Communication Systems Can Bridge Your Company's Collaboration Gaps

Businesses can only produce fantastic products and provide stellar customer service through business communication systems if everyone is working on the same team. And as anyone who's been in a long-term relationship knows, communication is essential to working together. While it's not likely your staff is going to argue about who needs to take out the trash (although the break room refrigerator may be a touchy subject), you need to make sure you are providing the tools — such as an effective office communication system — and processes to help make sure every member of your staff is on the same page.

Colleagues collaborate on a work project using business communication systems
Using effective business communication systems can help create more collaborative atmospheres.

By the time many small-business owners realize there is an internal communications issue, it's often too late to efficiently address the situation. By proactively considering communication across team members and providing the necessary tools, your business will have a valuable edge over your competitors.

Here are four ways you can bridge the collaboration gap with effective business communication systems:

1. Hold (Almost) Face-to-Face Meetings

Emails are important. Phone calls are great. But being able to see someone's facial expressions makes all the difference when it comes to letting remote team members form relationships. Face-to-face interactions make it easier to tell when someone is joking — or not. With video conferencing, you can avoid miscommunications and help employees develop a rapport with each other. This works especially well if you have multiple offices or if you have employees who are working remotely.

2. Create a Collaboration Culture

A recent Deloitte study found that 73 percent of participating business leaders reported that C-suite members in their organizations rarely collaborate with one another or with their employees due to a lack of collaboration resources. When these organizations have remote teams, finding ways to effectively work together becomes an even bigger obstacle. And when teams are able to work together onsite, they typically use a conference room as a home base, with sticky notes, empty pizza boxes, and whiteboards full of chicken scratch, arrows, and asterisks to show for it, leaving remote workers feeling left out. Using an improved office communication system that includes web conferencing, however, can help solve some of these problems. Your team can have a virtual whiteboard, calendar, chat, contact list, and many other tools to help bridge the communication gap, whether everyone — including C-suite leadership — sits in a single room or various team members are simultaneously logging in from across the country.

Collaboration is increasingly happening via smartphones and other personal devices. You may have even implemented a BYOD program where team members can use their personal phones at work. Good news: With the mobile app that comes with a business communication system, you can also allow employees to collaborate with their colleagues from their smartphones and tablets, wherever they are.

Employees can join a video chat from their home office, message coworkers about key details of a project while on the train home, or hop on a conference call with the client support team while waiting in the airport lounge. Thanks to these flexible mobile collaboration tools, your staff can enjoy enhanced productivity and job satisfaction no matter where their day takes them.

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3. Reduce Versioning Issues

Effective written communication is key to business success, and teams often have to share documents when working collaboratively on a project. Keeping multiple versions straight and making sure everyone can access documents when they need them, however, can be challenging, even for teams working in one location.

This becomes even more cumbersome when teams work in different locations, which sometimes results in missed deadlines, extra stress, and frustrated employees. By using cloud file-sharing tools, your company can ensure that everyone has access to the files they need to do their jobs, and no one has to worry about their colleague overwriting their work or updating an old version of a document.

By using an office communication system, you can increase your company's knowledge base, foster a culture of teamwork, and make collaboration more effective across the organization.

4. Share Knowledge

The skills employees need to do their jobs these days seem to evolve at a dizzying speed. To stay competitive, it's essential that small businesses make sure each employee has the necessary skills to get the job done. One solution is using a virtual classroom to have an employee with the needed expertise provide training to teammates. Outside experts can also use this technology to bring new information or skills to the team, increasing the team's effectiveness and productivity.

You can also build upon these powerful productivity benefits by integrating your existing system with key business applications. For example, you can integrate your business communication system with your CRM, allowing employees to quickly call up relevant information about a customer issue during a team meeting. You can also sync with G Suite, seamlessly convening a group of colleagues in a Google Hangouts for a collaboration session.

These integrations are now available for mobile workers as well, empowering your employees to collaborate even more efficiently on the go while the company enjoys greater ROI from its overall technology investment.

By using an office communication system, you can increase your company's knowledge base, foster a culture of teamwork, and make collaboration more effective across the organization.

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