Is online collaboration effective? (+8 Pros)

In this article, we will be answering if online collaboration is effective. We will be discussing what online collaboration is while describing its importance in today’s workplace. We will also be explaining different ways to use online collaboration for your team. Online collaboration itself is increasingly sought after in workplaces, with the advent of remote working. It has immense potential for team growth and thus it is important to know how to use it effectively.

Is online collaboration effective?

Online collaboration is extremely effective if it is used in the right way. It is quite different from real-world communication and has its advantages and disadvantages. This medium of collaboration is becoming a permanent feature in many organizations.

It provides cost-effectively technology while allowing quick access to information and people. It’s only need is a strong and stable internet connection.

What is online collaboration?

Online collaboration itself is the process of communicating with others using an online platform. It usually requires a certain software system which supplies many features for interaction such as instant messaging, voice-calling, video-calling and video-conferencing. It can also support file-sharing and information access. Online collaboration tools are being highly used for project management with the aim of improving work efficiency.

Importance of online collaboration

Online collaboration has found a permanent spot in today’s workplace because of its importance. The importance of this collaboration is explained in the section below.

  • It improves work efficiency

Research studies have shown that online collaboration improves productivity and team work in an organization. Using online collaboration tools, employees can access their work from anywhere at any time. In this way, employees can work whenever they feel productive, thus ensuring the work gets done in a smoother manner. It also gives workers quick access to information as well as people, which helps them complete their projects on time.

  • Online collaboration cuts down costs

Online collaboration also offers an added advantage of cutting down costs for companies. Since this form of collaboration supports remote working, the cost of office spaces, equipment and utilities are all drastically reduced. It further cuts down on costs for meetings and conferences.

  • It can provide great security features

Provided the selected online collaboration tool has strong security features, this medium can be used to protect confidential data through password protections, encryptions, etc. Many online collaboration tools also ask for two-step authentications and have stable firewalls, thus ensuring that sensitive information is protected safely and securely.

  • It increases the levels of interaction

Compared to real-time interactions, online collaboration has higher levels of communication between employees. It also allows easy communication between different hierarchical levels which might not happen easily otherwise. This allows inter-level and cross-functional team collaboration, thus leading to better efficiency in project completions.

  • Online collaboration leads to better project management

Online collaboration tools are being used for project management and tracking progress of tasks in organizations. Through these tools, it is not only the interaction that becomes optimal, but everyone is able to see who’s working on what. In this manner, transparency and accountability increase, thus leading to better productivity with better project management.

  • It helps members focus on the goal

In online collaborations, communication is very effective. It also reduces misunderstandings, which help employees work together on the same page. Using this medium, people can learn more about concepts and come back with suggestions. They can also work on the project in a more flexible manner, ensuring the project is completed without pressure.

It increases learning interactions

While online collaboration obviously affects communication in a positive manner, it also improves learning while interacting. Since this communication is found to be more comfortable for people to use, even those who are not that socially confident have the ability to ask questions and give honest feedback. This improves the learning process in the team, leading to better innovations.

  • It improves problem-solving

Online collaboration can greatly help in problem-solving. Since the interactions are high, many ideas can come together. This type of collaboration also fosters a positive environment to voice out opinions. Thus, creativity and innovation also flow smoother. As levels and departments work together, the problem can be perceived from many different angles, leading to a better solution.

Different ways to use online collaboration in the workplace

Online collaboration is an umbrella term, comprising many tools and platforms with different features, serving different purposes. To foster smoother team work in your organization, you can use online collaboration in the following ways:

  • Using video-conferencing software for interactions

Communication is essential for teamwork and online collaboration tools offer many features for interaction. They offer features for instant messaging and voice or video calling. They can also turn meetings into cost-effective arrangements with the feature of video-conferencing.

Video-conferencing allows people to interact and communicate better as communicators can see each other. They can also follow the body language and gestures, thus grasping the information better. It also lessens the chances of miscommunication or misinterpretation of the message. Video-conferencing further ensures that team-members pay attention throughout the meeting.

  • Tracking work progress with Google Docs

Using this collaboration tool, everyone can see what various team members are working on. The work can also be improved with the help of comments or suggestions. This allows people to collaborate in real-time from anywhere. It also improves the work efficiency, since the progress is transparent and can openly be seen.

  • Online collaboration can be used for better scheduling

Using online collaboration, calendars can become decluttered. Here, the meetings or tasks can be scheduled without any hassles, thus ensuring better time management. Many scheduling tools also attach meeting links automatically and eliminate unnecessary communication for directions of use.

  • It can be used for project management

Online collaboration can help organizations and teams manage projects better. The task of project management itself becomes simple but effective at the same time. Using these tools, members of a team can communicate their progress and also share files and documents. This saves a lot of time and allows quick access to information.

Conclusion

In this article, we have answered if online collaboration is effective. We have also discussed what online collaboration truly is while describing its importance in today’s workplace. In addition, we have explained different ways to use online collaboration for your team.

Frequently asked questions:

Is online collaboration safe?

Online collaboration is very safe when the right tool is being used for the process. There are many safe and trustworthy collaboration tools, which are reliable and secure. Organizations which are seeking to implement collaboration tools should do some serious research before procuring one. These online collaboration tools offer many security features like firewalls, encryptions, two-step authentications and others to ensure that the sensitive data is stored and accessed safely.

What is required for online collaboration tools?

To implement and use online collaboration in an organization, there are a few requirements that need to be in place. These factors ensure that the tool will be used in a smooth and effective manner. These requirements are explained below.

  • The workload has to be visually represented

Online collaboration requires the entire workload to be mapped out visually for all the team members. This allows all the team members to be aware of what has been accomplished and what is yet to be done. Having a visual representation also improves the delegation of tasks by team leaders in order to experience smoother functioning of the workflow.

  • Multiple projects should be trackable

For online collaboration to be effective there should be no barriers or obstacles in tracking projects. Therefore, before implementing an online collaboration tool, organizations should ensure that there are no barriers in collaboration. The organization should also ensure that stakeholders can track the progress of many different projects.

  • There should be smooth workflow

Only when there is a smooth workflow in the organization can online collaborative tools become used properly. For workflow itself to be managed well, there should be better organization and delegation of tasks. Team leaders should be able to assign tasks to the various team members more efficiently, keeping priority and expertise in mind.

There should also be a good communication style implemented in the organization. An online collaboration tool is not going to exactly initiate communication. It will only help in improving the existing model of communication being followed in the team.

  • Cloud-based technology should already be in use

For online collaboration to work, the organization should already be using some kind of cloud-based technology. Cloud-based technology itself allows better sharing of information and quicker retrieval of data as well. Since remote working is becoming increasingly common, many companies are implementing cloud-based technology. The online collaboration tool being chosen should also be able to align with the cloud-based technology.

How does online collaboration help students?

Online collaboration is becoming increasingly common in classrooms. Students also admit learning better and more productively through collaborative online learning activities. Online collaboration helps students in the following ways.

  • The learning process is better

Since the internet offers a lot more resources than the classroom, students tend to learn better. Students can research and learn more about a concept online. They can also find real-life examples, videos and pictures that help them grasp the concept in a more effective manner. Additionally, they can also apply the concept better, making it more meaningful and relatable.

  • Group activities are more effective

Online collaboration makes group activities more interactive and fun. While a physical classroom discussion might only have the participation of extroverted students, online collaboration allows those who are socially challenged to also participate. Students also have more time to sort out their ideas and voice their opinions in group discussions held online.

  • The feedback is more honest

Instructors might not always get honest feedback from students in a physical classroom. However, online collaborative learning allows students to give feedback more honestly and anonymously. This allows instructors to implement new ideas or change ineffective ones.

  • Online collaboration teaches better interpersonal skills

In online collaborations, students tend to interact better and create healthy relationships with others in the team. The communication is also much better. This teaches students more interpersonal and other soft skills that will be required for the workplace later.

If you like this article, please post your comments or questions below.

Citations

https://www.canto.com/blog/online-collaboration/
https://www.kahootz.com/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-online-collaboration/
https://axerosolutions.com/blog/how-online-collaboration-tools-benefit-your-business
https://hbr.org/2015/04/collaborating-online-is-sometimes-better-than-face-to-face
https://money.howstuffworks.com/online-collaboration.htm
https://www.samewave.com/posts/5-tools-that-foster-effective-online-collaboration

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