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January 3, 2014

Google Enterprise office collaboration advice for 2014

Stop sharing personal anecdotes and start sharing business ideas in the office.

By Claire Vanner

Research by Google Enterprise has revealed that while many employees are happy to share personal information with colleagues, business workers are less likely share ideas on how to improve the business.

In 2013, it was more likely to hear about colleagues’ dating disasters, one night stands or secret crushes than their suggestions for saving the organisation money. For many a new year is a new start, so why no embrace work-based collaboration?

Technology can play its part in business collaboration through the burgeoning trends BYOD, online collaboration tools and video conference calling.

"Sharing at work can be a force for good – as long as we strike the right balance between personal and professional. With online collaborative tools it is easier than ever for employees to collaborate and share ideas that will help improve their work culture and transform their business," said Roger De’Ath, Google Enterprise manager, UK.

Only 30% of workers say that a colleague has shared an idea on how to save the organisation money, and just a third of workers say that a colleague has shared tips on how to be more productive.

Executive coach and author of ‘What’s Wrong with Work?’, Blaire Palmer, added: "People need to be aware that they are mainly valued for their contribution to the business, not their hilarious anecdotes and dating disasters. Companies should make sure they are encouraging staff to share their ideas, expertise and information across all levels and making the most of the online collaborative technology that can help them to do this."

For many, a new year means a new start, so here are Google Enterprise’s top tips for work-based collaboration in 2014:

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Google’s top tips for work-based collaboration

1. Embrace BYOD: Enable employees to use their own devices, with the appropriate business security controls. Research suggests that people like to use the devices they are familiar with and are more productive when they are given the choice.

2. Allow employees to work the way they live: Use online collaboration tools to enable colleagues to work together in real time from wherever they are, inputting ideas into a shared online document at the same time. People can now do amazing work with the web-based tools that they use at home creating, sharing and storing files, allowing better interaction and working practices.

3. Don’t let location get in the way of seeing your colleagues: Enable employees to use online video. – this can help employees work across different locations and get to know each other face-to-face, without having to spend money on transport. Preventing employees from using such tools is the equivalent of asking them to write physical letters to one another.

4. Add a competitive element: Run competitions amongst staff encouraging them to suggest new business ideas that can save the company money, increase sales or improve the work culture. Employees should be given the opportunity to submit entries anonymously and all employees can vote for their favourite suggestions.
5. Be democratic: Run quarterly ‘Town Hall’ meetings where management share their overall strategy with their staff and encourage employees to ask questions and give their insights. It may be that more junior employees can give greater insight into how to improve customer relations, for instance, if they are dealing with customers on a daily basis.

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