What are employee attitudes towards collaboration applications?

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Collaboration tools are a staple of modern enterprises today. Especially as more businesses embrace remote working, collaboration tools have surged in adoption to drive connectivity, communication, and efficiency among employees.

Although they are popular assets among organisations, are collaboration tools actually popular among the workforce? Unify Square's report, "A Love-Hate Affair: Overcoming Challenges of Workstream Collaboration, sheds some light on the matter.

In particular, the report investigated the most utilised features across both unified communications and workstream collaboration application platforms. It also examined application usage trends and how these impact productivity, employee behaviour, and more. Furthermore, the report details how digital workplace collaboration applications impact the success of today's enterprises.

For some background on the report, Unify Square surveyed over 500 enterprise and end user employees at companies with at least 1,000 members of staff. These employees spanned numerous job levels and industries.

So, what does the workforce think?

The report found that more than half (62%) of employees use collaboration tools for chat and messaging features. This is then followed by live communications, such as 1-1 phone calls (31%) and video conferencing (30%).

Having said that, this does not necessarily render email as obsolete. In fact, 74% of respondents did not see any significant decrease in quantity of emails received since the induction of collaboration tools. Thus, these tools don't eclipse traditional communication counterparts; instead, organisations embrace them as another means to stay connected.

However, the increased connectivity and introduction of features creates more noise. Unify Square's report found that collaboration tools present increased distractions for end users. Personal conversations and incoming requests taking away from current projects valued at 41% and 39% respectively as the biggest culprits. The respondents did not deny their responsibility here, but 43% believe that the prevention of these distractions is down to management as well as themselves.

Conversely, over 60% of respondents believe that the responsibility of security should lie solely on their organisation's IT department. However, individual security habits appear to differ between industries, as per the report's findings. For instance, employees working in high-tech industry companies are the least likely to let IT know about their app usage than any other industry. On the other hand, the report found that over 90% of those working in consumer-packaged goods companies have never downloaded collaboration tools without IT's approval.

The Unify Square report leaves us with a lot of food for thought. While collaboration tools are clearly indispensable, there is a demonstrable love-hate relationship between them and employees. The main thing to take away from the survey is the evident need for collaboration application best practices. This will help employees leverage the best of these tools while minimising the worst. Not only that, but it will help bolster security for the sake of the IT teams, enabling you to shoot two birds with one stone.

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