Collaboration is so important for businesses nowadays, given how fast-paced businesses has become. Efficient collaboration allows businesses to work faster and more productively, discover new ideas and opportunities, and get more out of each individual’s imagination and efforts. Out of the growth in modern technologies, a new form of collaboration has been born – known as Synchronous Collaboration.
How does synchronous collaboration work?
In recent years businesses have increasingly relied on remote communications and collaborations. The advancement of business productivity solutions, along with real-time remote communications, has meant that remote workforces can collaborate on work in real-time. So, for example, colleagues can work on a document simultaneously using co-authoring features in apps like Microsoft Word and PowerPoint, and at the same time, they can communicate in real-time using videoconferencing solutions like Microsoft Teams. This is what synchronous collaboration is.
We spoke with a Microsoft Solutions Partner in London, TechQuarters, about this. They said that the business IT support London-based companies rely on them for is actually built on synchronous collaboration – as their IT engineers are often working with clients in real-time to resolve IT issues – so they know a lot about this form of working together.
Synchronous vs. Traditional Collaboration
Synchronous collaboration is not the same as traditional collaboration as most people know it – but what specifically are the differences? According to TechQuarters, the main difference is simply in the timings. For example, traditional collaboration is really just colleagues taking time to work on a shared project – sending the content back and forth, along with messages about the work.
Comparatively, synchronous collaboration allows colleagues to work and communicate simultaneously.
Benefits of Synchronous Collaboration
- Increased Participation
Synchronous collaboration offers more opportunity for colleagues to get involved with conversations, share knowledge, ideas, and perspectives. Particularly in a remote work context, traditional collaborations may result in some individuals being left out of conversations, or having less change to contribute to work. Ensuring that all participants are involved and available to work in real time eliminates this risk.
- Efficiency & Productivity
The trouble with traditional collaboration is that it involves a lot of back and forth. Not only does this take a lot longer, but it also makes the margin for miscommunication and error greater. Comparatively, when colleagues are having real-time conversations, it is easier to ask for clarifications, and to convey one’s opinions. Streamlining those conversations is much more efficient. Furthermore, synchronous collaboration can eliminate the need for multiple versions of content, because co-authoring work usually involves cloud-based document sharing. For instance, TechQuarters – who are SharePoint consultants – recommend keeping all shared content in a SharePoint site, because it will be easy to access, and a version history of the file will also be recorded.
- Job Satisfaction
As mentioned in previous points, remote working can sometimes lead to individuals being left out of conversations, and not being able to contribute to work as much. This can lead to feelings of isolation, and lower job satisfaction. However, it synchronous collaboration is practiced, all team members will be given an opportunity to contribute. As well as this, the real-time, face-to-face communication involved in synchronous collaboration is good for maintain social connectivity at work – this too as good for job satisfaction.
- Streamlined Communications
Traditional collaboration often involves multiple channels of communication. Team members might send documents back and forth via email, whilst attaching comments. They might also have an ongoing group chat for spontaneous comments and ideas. Not only this, but it is also common practice to have regularly scheduled meetings for catch up on progress with group work. If teams practice synchronous collaboration, there is no need to have all these different channels of communication – all the conversations, progress updates, and sharing of spontaneous thoughts and ideas can take place within collaboration sessions.