How to improve your team's collaboration tool adoption during remote working

During challenging times, when your workforce can’t work as they usually do, remote working could be the difference between your operations continuing or suffering.

But getting the right technology, connectivity and security in place is only half of the challenge. The other half is to make sure your people are ready and able to use the solutions and tools you have.

We’re seeing how quickly HR teams are responding to the impact of Coronavirus as they introduce the right policies and guidance to protect employees and encourage work remotely where possible. But this is putting increased pressure on their IT teams who are focused on the ‘technical readiness’ – i.e. having the right technology in place for employees to work effectively and securely from wherever needed.

We’re getting increased demand for help with supporting employees as easily and quickly in adapting to new ways of working. But we know from experience that it’s more than just communication and collaboration capability that needs to be taken into account.

User barriers that could hinder business continuity

IT teams need to think beyond just making sure collaboration tools are ready in the enterprise app store to use and ‘remote access’ works. Often, many enterprise security settings only allow new apps to be downloaded from the office network or wi-fi. ‘Admin rights’ need changing for the approved app to be downloaded remotely for employees to be able to use it. 

Security settings may also need changing, for example, to allow employees to join meetings that are arranged by external stakeholders. The safest way without compromising your security is to allow joining via a web browser. This means whitelisting certain approved secure collaboration tools web URLs.

Remote working set-up
Some employees are just not set-up to work remotely in the way their IT teams are encouraging. For example, many employees still dial-in to meetings from an office desk phone. And some employees are being encouraged to ‘join by computer’ using VOIP for cost reasons, but most employees don’t have or know where to order a USB headset from.

User behaviour
Our research shows 1 in 2 employees don’t know how to use the available collaborations tools and we see this firsthand when users don’t even know how to get started with the tools they need for remote working. This is a major concern. We’re helping many customers remove these barriers through our user adoption service which drives rapid awareness of collaboration tools, education and employee coaching.

Top tips for improving collaboration tool adoption

Tip 1
Open and clear communications are essential. Employees need to be informed on the home working policy related to communication and collaboration - i.e. using personal phone and internet, including business expense policy for these. Employees also need to be aware of the business approved communication and collaboration tools available. Don’t assume your employees know. Nearly all will have participated in meetings, but not necessarily hosted them.

Tip 2
Use multiple internal communication channels to educate your employees on how to get set-up or ready to work remotely. This should include how to get a reminder of personal accounts details or how they can check they have a host license, guidance on ordering equipment like USB headsets and how to quickly test the tool remotely. All this information should be easily available on your intranet.

Tip 3
Drive the behaviour change needed through education and coaching your employees by providing them with best practice on how to use the tools to run successful secure, effective meetings in bite-sized chunks. This can be via your enterprise social network, emails or even ‘tip of day’ on your intranet.

An example of current best practice is to switch to dial-in or dial-out instead of ‘join using the computer’ and to avoid video and screen share. This is helpful to those employees working with low bandwidth which can lead to a poor experience and users giving up. There’s also an increase in employees wanting to use mobile apps, so top tips on using those is crucial.  

If your organisation is being affected, please get in touch. We can help you design and implement contingency plans and share valuable insight into how BT and other large multinationals are using their technology to stay operational during this time of uncertainty. Since the outbreak, we’ve helped a number of customers across the globe with education and training programmes to help them drive more use of their collaboration and communication technology.

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