Annual Gallup polls over the past 20 years consistently find that more than 60 percent of U.S. employees are not engaged at work. According to the analytics and advisory firm, unengaged employees typically show up to work but contribute only the minimum effort required. The danger is that such attitudes can influence the entire workforce, leading to a pervasive negativity that impacts productivity, performance and employee retention.
Surprisingly, however, Gallup’s most recent poll on the subject finds that employee engagement has actually improved slightly during the COVID-19 pandemic. In a May survey, 38 percent of respondents said they were engaged and committed to their work — the highest figure since Gallup began tracking the metric in 2000.
Why would engagement increase at the same time the coronavirus is triggering heightened anxiety at work and at home? The increased use of team collaboration tools may be playing a role.
The Value of Teamwork
Collaboration applications that combine voice, video, chat and file-sharing allow far-flung team members to come together on a common platform to share ideas, solve problems and accomplish tasks. At a time when many people are working remotely, these tools not only increase productivity but also provide an important hedge against employee isolation.
A number of studies illustrate that effective collaboration has a positive impact on job satisfaction. A Stanford University study, for example, found that people working collaboratively stuck at their task for 64 percent longer than those working individually on the same task. It also reported higher levels of engagement and success and lower levels of fatigue.
Conversely, 97 percent of corporate executives surveyed by Salesforce said that a lack of team collaboration directly impacts the outcome of a task or project. Eighty-six percent said they had personally worked on projects that failed due to poor collaboration and communication.
It seems fairly clear that team collaboration tools can have a positive impact on business. Choosing a platform requires some due diligence, however. There are hundreds of collaboration apps on the market, and more are being introduced every day. Here are a few qualities you should consider as you evaluate solutions:
- Collaboration often results in team members saving files to their mobile devices. You need an app with encryption and data loss prevention features to ensure that private data remains private. Content-filtering features provide another level of protection. They scan web applications, identify malware signatures, and examine instant messaging and email to protect against data leakage. They can also enforce access policies on remote and mobile devices that are used outside the network.
- Remote users need to access files and data they need from anywhere on any device. Your collaboration app should work seamlessly with both mobile devices and your organization’s phone system.
- Ease of use. The app should have an intuitive interface that makes it easy to open and use. Users should be able to access voice, conferencing, instant messaging and more without separate logins, dial-ins or passcodes. They should be able to instantly share notes, calendar events and new tasks with a single click.
Beyond the app features, network readiness is a key consideration. Bandwidth consumption and resource contention can become issues with more users connecting remotely, creating performance problems for latency-sensitive voice and video applications that won’t tolerate network congestion, packet loss or jitter.
RMM Solutions can help you address these issues and improve your team collaboration and communication. We can conduct an initial network readiness assessment to identify any problems that could hinder deployment and frustrate users. Additionally, we can help you evaluate, acquire, configure and deploy a solution that meets your business requirements. Give us a call to learn more.