Collaborative tools help boost culture, productivity

Virtual workplace solutions quickly make employees feel part of the team

Collaborative tools help boost culture, productivity

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The pandemic won’t last forever – but according to a survey by VMware Canada, remote working might.

According to the new research from this leading provider of digital infrastructure software, although half of respondents had never worked from home prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, over six in 10 do not think that employees should be expected to work full time in an office in the future.

Although vaccines are reaching regulatory approval and the end of the pandemic appears to be on the horizon, this part of the “new normal” is likely to persist. Employees will continue to demand flexible working arrangements, and employers, for their part, will enjoy the greater pool of talent they can draw on when they hire worldwide.

But how can you maintain a workplace culture when your employees are distributed all over the world? How can you work to keep productivity levels as high as ever? And how can you ensure that new employees are inducted into your workplace culture, and ramp them up as quickly as possible?

In a word: collaboration.

Bring them on painlessly

Onboarding can be a stressful process for a new employee: They are being inducted into a new way of working, learning how to use new tools, and developing new relationships – all without ever meeting their colleagues face to face. You can ease the process by making the technical aspects of the transition as painless as possible.

One consideration is giving employees early access to the tools they’ll use to do their jobs, and the environment in which they’ll be equipped from “Day Zero” – the moment they are signed on. My employer, VMware, offers one such solution – Workplace ONE – that helps ramp up new employee productivity in record time.

It can take time to ship physical technology to a new employee and to ensure that their home environment is compliant with your organization’s security and connectivity needs. If a new or existing employee is setting up their new laptop for the first time, it’s as simple as knowing your email and password and the rest of the setup is automated and secure.

With a virtual workplace solution, you can allow new employees to work from their existing technology with little configuration necessary and help them hit the ground running from day one.

An added bonus? You’re enabling your employees to work anywhere, anytime and on any device. Flexibility and choice have become more valuable to some than compensation, especially when the remote-everything, work-from-anywhere environment is now the new normal.

Ensure internal collaboration between departments

An organization’s HR and IT departments have very different jobs. HR is fundamentally about people and how they work, and IT is fundamentally about technology and how it interacts. But, in the end, they both have the same objective: To ensure a consistent employee experience, to improve workplace engagement and productivity, and ultimately to improve an organization’s bottom line.

A productive and collaborative relationship between the two functions has always been beneficial. During a pandemic, and in a new normal where remote working is increasingly common, it is mission-critical.

Human resources professionals often wrestle with how to improve workplace culture, improve collaboration, and increase engagement with workplace benefits. IT can help, by selecting collaboration and internal communication solutions that are frictionless and intuitive.

IT, meanwhile, often struggles with implementing new processes and change management. Here, HR can help, by effectively managing internal communications and leveraging its expertise in change management and change communication.

HR can provide the messages and content needed to maintain employee engagement, productivity and collaboration, but IT provides the platform to execute and host them. And in doing so, both can ensure a cohesive and consistent employee experience no matter where that employee works – starting from day one.

Don’t forget that you’re a team

Remote work may have its advantages, but it also has its drawbacks: It can be profoundly isolating. This is doubly true during a pandemic when many of those working from home are not working from home by choice.

How can you induct new members onto a team when they may not meet their teammates in person for months? By making the introductions as early as possible and keeping communication and collaboration frequent.

There are a thousand little things that every employee must learn when they’re new to a job. That is as true of remote work as it is of in-person work: A new employee may not need to find the water cooler, but they will need to know how to find files on a shared drive, or how to effectively collaborate via video conference call or group chat.

What follows is team building exercises – which will surely look different during a pandemic, but are no less important.

A running start

By giving your employees access to these tools as early as possible, you can help them get to know their new workspace, get to know their coworkers, and get a feel for their new workplace much more quickly.

In short, you’ll be able to make them feel at home. And that will help them deliver for the bottom line.

John Scott is a national sales director at VMware Canada in Toronto. For more information, visit

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