Top 5 Collaboration Trends for 2021 with Jon Arnold

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The year 2020 has been punctuated with new business lingo thanks to remote working. From "can everyone see my screen?" to "I think you're on mute", employees and companies all over the world have relied on collaboration tools to help keep their business running from home.

Vocabulary trends aside, the boom of collaboration tools this year has changed the way we use and depend on them. With 2020 drawing to a close, it left us wondering what might be in store for collaboration platforms in 2021 - and who better to ask than Jon Arnold of J Arnold and Associates?

Tune into this week's Emerge5 to learn about the collaboration trends Jon thinks we can look forward to next year.

Meet less, collaborate more

When we talk about collaboration, it's easy to equate that with meetings. Jon reminds us that you don't have to meet for every aspect of collaboration. In particular, he emphasises that we don't all need to be in meetings all the time to get things done.

His recommendation is to have meetings as a base that sets ground rules for what people have to do, but to keep in mind that workers have the tools to complete their task and submit their contributions at another time, all while still being productive.

Safe spaces

As a middle ground between the office and working from home, "safe spaces" - or as Jon also calls them, "workplace hotels" - make a perfect alternative.

With so many office closures, safe spaces are a great way to offer employees a work space outside of their homes. Think WeWork; their offering provides safe environments for people to work just so that they can have a change of scenery where all the amenities of a workspace are there.

Worker wellness

Remote working presents new stresses to employees. From working in less-than-ideal conditions to struggling to maintain a healthy work-life balance, working from home absolutely has its challenges. 

In turn, the issue of wellness has risen in prominence. Companies are starting to realise that they have to be a little more lenient about giving people downtime to walk away from their screens, get up and move around, and exercise.

More voice, less video

Indeed, Zoom was pretty much the posterchild for collaboration tools throughout the pandemic. However, with Zoom fatigue and the novelty of video communications wearing off, Jon anticipates that being on video sessions all day long is going to start feeling like too much.

Instead, he predicts people will revert back to more basic conversations, reminding us that you can still get a lot done with voice only.

Messaging platform interoperability

With remote working, people are using a variety of collaboration platforms, and messaging features are among the most popular capabilities to help get things done quickly. Of course, these platforms natively don't talk to each other, but that's on the verge of changing now.

Jon shares the example of Slack, which has recently introduced direct messages. This function will allow users to securely send messages outside of the organisation to other platforms.