By Aleks Sheynkman
Director of Engineering
SpaceIQ

The traditional workplace is going the way of the dinosaur. In fact, the way we imagine offices is still evolving at a rapid pace. Today’s office floor plan may change tomorrow, and employees may find themselves developing new work habits as a result. There’s a lot riding on change. Thankfully, collaboration software offers a beacon of stability in an environment of uncertainty.

Collaboration software connects employees to work and each other, no matter what the landscape of their workplace looks like. Someone in a cubicle can work just as well as someone at a coworking space, coffee shop, or even another country. Collaboration software grounds us in a time where, how, and when we work is in flux.

Cloud-based collaboration

The cloud is a big part of the upheaval in today’s workplaces. As soon as workers became untethered from their desks, the workplace was free to evolve. Fewer occupied desks required less office space, so workspaces shrunk. Smaller offices forced better space utilization, which birthed activity-based workspaces, hot desks, and the like. At the extreme, some companies have all-remote workforces.

While the cloud enabled this evolution, team collaboration software ensured its effectiveness. The cloud is only an infrastructure; collaboration software offers the resources and tools to make work flexible. In the same way email displaced inter-office memos, collaboration software is eliminating enterprise software workstation licensing models. Apps and data aren’t on one machine—they’re wherever workers need them to be. More importantly, they’re easily accessed at-scale and shared by individuals, teams, and groups.

Collaboration software types

Collaboration software is a broad term. Under this umbrella are the many types of collaboration resources necessary to keep a business running while its employees are scattered. To run as seamlessly as if the entire team was in-house, businesses need to invest in the best collaboration software across each resource subsection:

  • File editing platforms: Employees need robust online editing tools. Real-time changes, multi-user collaboration, file exports, and tier user permissions are staples of modern file editing platforms.
  • Messaging applications: Messaging is a multimedia concept. Quick snippets of text, video chatting, and audio conference calls play integral roles in maintaining good communication across a fragmented workforce.
  • Cloud storage repositories: The foundation of the cloud is access to critical files and data anywhere, at any time. Storage platforms are hubs for broad user access—the file cabinets of the digital workplace. Text, video, audio, graphics, photos, and any other type of digital collateral are shared, downloaded, and used with ease.
  • Project planning programs: There’s no project manager looking over the shoulder of employees anymore. Now, they’re beholden to project planning software. These cloud-based programs foster team collaboration in pursuit of a common goal, no matter who’s involved, what their role is, or when they choose to work.
  • Calendar software: With the demise of the traditional office has come the disappearance of the 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. workday. For companies with national or international interests, work happens when it’s most appropriate—whether that’s 9-5 or 2-10. The cloud-based calendar is a cornerstone of any collaborative software suite, coordinating everyone’s efforts.

Cloud availability is a development standard these days. It’s safe to say virtually every piece of software a business may need is equipped to support collaborative use across a diverse workforce. With integrations tying popular software and platforms together, companies can create a suite of collaborative resources to power their business.

Making work more accessible and convenient

Collaborative workspace software brings the concept of a workplace into the digital realm. A departmental meeting no longer needs a conference room; a group video chat will suffice. Email chains don’t need to include dozens of people and eclipse dozens of replies; everyone can add their feedback to a shared document. Employees don’t need to dig through file folders to find old client collateral; it’s all labeled and organized in a cloud repository.

While the physical workplace still holds merit for many companies, the gap between what can and can’t be done at work is growing smaller. The power of cloud-hosted collaborative software makes work accessible and efficient among work groups of all sizes—from individuals to teams  to departments and company-wide.

In many ways, the workplace isn’t shrinking or losing importance. It’s actually growing larger and more robust. When anywhere can be a workplace thanks to collaborative software, anyone has the power to work at any time. Collaboration software is fueling a professional revolution—one bigger than any single workplace.

Keep reading: team communication tools your workplace needs.