Advancements and changes in office technology have greatly changed how colleagues and departments collaborate and work together in the workplace. Previously, it was close to impossible (not to mention costly) for a geographically dispersed team to simply talk, never mind actually work together on a project. Nowadays however, it has never been easier to work with people all over the world, regardless of their location, making collaboration a greatly productive and efficient way to work.
To gain an understanding of just how technology has reshaped the workplace and how we communicate in a business sense, here are just some of the tools that have had a big impact on offices in the 21st century.
One of the main, pioneering technologies that has changed the way we communicate is Voice Over Internet Protocol telephone systems, or VoIP. Instead of using traditional phone networks over an analogue line with a costly telephone system maintenance contract, VoIP uses an internet connection to make an receive calls. It has been in operation since the mid-1990s and has been coming down in price ever since, to the point where it is now cheaper to use VoIP than an old copper-based phone system whilst retaining even more features than before. This can vary to your needs, from video conferencing to a softphone app on your mobile phone; keeping you connected to the network at all times.
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)
As mentioned earlier, it is now possible, thanks to VoIP, to remain connected to your work network with your mobile phone thanks to a softphone app. This means you can use your own phone for work activities; for example, if you're out on a sales call, and someone calls your desk phone, you can re-route the call to your mobile so you do not miss it on the road.
There are other benefits too, such as removing the need to train new employees on company equipment, and BYOD encourages collaboration and communication outside of the office (and beyond the normal office hours) because employees can be available on their own device/s.
Since it's mainstream introduction earlier this decade, the cloud has become an invaluable addition to the office space for some businesses. It has allowed employees to share and store important documents and data without having to worry about losing everything. It has provided a secure back-up option, as well as a platform to share and collaborate. Public files are now easily accessible with minimum effort for all employees. As the cloud becomes more accessible, the price comes down, and with major companies like Google, Dropbox and Microsoft offering adequate storage options for very little cost (if not for free.)
VoIP phone system integration with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software has had a major involvement in seeing a boost in team collaboration in business.. It is offered by many VoIP service providers for free or as part of a package and it helps businesses correlate information from third-party apps and helps streamline information-sharing across teams and departments. This is especially beneficial for those businesses with customer support or sales teams.
Technology has, and continues to, redefine how teams collaborate in the workplace. For businesses, it is important to know the trends and upcoming technologies that are changing the modern office environment, being able to quickly adapt (and adopt) will help you to stay ahead of your competitors.