07 Oct 4 Benefits of Adopting a Collaborative Workspace
A few months ago we decided to adopt a tool called Podio in the hopes that it would take us from “a fairly well organized company” to “the company upon which all organizational standards are based.” (We were aiming high.)
Curious as to what these benefits are? Read on to find out.
No more overflowing inboxes
Like most companies, the mass amount of email correspondence going back and forth between us sometimes resulted in a backlog that bred missed deadlines, lost project updates, and a curious black hole into which too much of our on the clock minutes seemed to be disappearing. It’s no secret that your inbox is a time suck, so one of our top priorities for a new system was to minimize the time we spend wrangling email.
Podio offered up several solutions to this problem, including:
- A chat feature (similar to Google Hangouts) for quick questions and comments
- A task tool for delegating assignments to co-workers, clients, and yourself
- An app builder for organizing and classifying items to their corresponding fields, such as projects to their organizations, people to their priorities, and specific tasks to their resources for getting them done.
By taking advantage of these features, we were able to significantly cut back on the number of waylaid emails (and emails in general) while improving communication company-wide. We ended up creating most of our apps from scratch, but we took inspiration from the 1,000,000+ preconfigured apps in the Podio marketplace.
Another advantage of having a collaborative workspace is the uptick in trackable items. For instance:
- Podio will timestamp every change that is made within the framework and mark who made it.
- Delegated tasks have a deadline feature, so that you can keep track of when they become overdue and follow up on the reason why it has not been completed yet.
- Similarly, you can check off tasks as soon as they have been completed, and a notification will be sent to the person who assigned the task.
Activity visibility within the workspace encourages team members to complete projects in a timely manner and makes it easier to follow up.
Clients want reassurance that the money they are investing in you is not going to waste. We have found that the best way to keep clients happy is to give them visibility into their projects and keep the channels of communication as open as possible. By giving each client a workspace in Podio, we are able to directly and immediately report on our progress and give them a reliable and organized way to communicate with our team.
Podio opens up the floor for easy file sharing and collaboration. This has been particularly useful during the early design phases of our projects when there are multiple drafts being passed back and forth for approval. Even if you do not want to directly upload files to the workspace, you can still easily link to them (via a cloud file service such as Google Drive) so that everything is available for reference in one place.
Podio has a very social feel to it, and the inspiration from social networking sites like Facebook is pretty clear. There is a streaming news feed, “friends list” (which includes all of the people within your workspace), a heart button for liking status updates, status updates themselves…
We have found that the similarities actually made it easier for us to learn how to use the platform, since we were all already accustomed to the features. It has provided a single environment in which we can share work accomplishments, personal milestones (like birthdays), relevant articles, and other interesting updates that keep up the positive vibes and remind everyone that we are all on the same team.
To be continued…
Every day we discover some new feature to help improve our organization and efficiency as a company, so this article is by no means the end all be all of benefits. If you are having problems keeping your team on track, we highly recommend investing a little time into a collaborative workspace of your own.
Already on the path to getting more organized? Share your story with us in the comments.