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There is little doubt that changing work styles has the potential to improve productivity. Remote working, which was driven by COVID-19, has since become an expected way of working. This approach does benefit both the employee and organisation — when it’s managed well. When it isn’t, it can actually have the opposite effect.

Take meetings for example. Meetings now have a detrimental impact on productivity, with people now having 13.5% more meetings, and 70% of those meetings keeping employees from working on or completing their tasks. Furthermore, this over-meeting seems to be disproportionately the result of inexperience. Research shows that newly promoted managers tend to hold more meetings — almost one-third more at 29% — than experienced managers.

The reason for all of these meetings is clear: Work is more collaborative than ever. The meetings are an effort to facilitate that collaboration. The challenge is to either find an alternative way to collaborate than rely on over-meeting, or at least ensure that the meetings aren’t inhibiting the employee’s ability to work.

Boosting collaboration in an era of remote working

The key to solving this challenge is adopting robust workflow management tools. It’s not enough to simply have a shared folder to drop documents and other files. Team members need to be able to work within cloud-stored documents.

Furthermore, with the complexity of projects increasing, teams need to be able to ensure version control and keep all team members aligned with the project, regardless of how involved they’ve been with meetings or editing sessions.

It’s important that collaboration doesn’t leave team members behind. Because the normal state of work is now hybrid — with some working in an office and some out — management of the team should avoid issues with impromptu meetings or moments of collaboration between in-office teams leaving those working remotely out of the loop.

Zoho WorkDrive seeks to address these issues. WorkDrive is an online file management system designed to enhance team collaboration.

Zoho Team Folders

In addition to having an easy and accessible folder system, there is a native file editor built in for documents, spreadsheets, and presentations as well as deep moderation tools to ensure teams can be arranged around units of work.

Zoho Editor

There are also full administration and monitoring tools built in, with customisable reports allowing you to get an at-a-glance view of file access stats and audit trails. This boosts accountability across the project and creates a straightforward review process that can further save on the need for meetings.

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This is all available to teams for as little as $2.50 per user per month (for 1TB of shared storage), allowing even small businesses to fully capitalise on the benefits of cloud collaboration.

Teams that handle sensitive data can be assured that Zoho WorkDrive meets all of the major industry standards around security, including SOC 2 Type II and ISO 27001. Consequently, WorkDrive is fully GDPR and HIPAA compliant. The Zoho data centres are housed in highly secure locations, and RSA-based 2048-bit encryption protects the data where it’s housed.

Finding better ways to work

The Zoho WorkDrive solution is most effective when used in conjunction with other cloud collaboration tools. For example, a project management application that allows team members to quickly send messages to one another can save the need for entire meetings to take place.

It’s also a tool that supports modern ways of working too. Just as the physical limitations of work have now been removed and employees no longer need to spend time in an office, so too have the boundaries with which we work shifted.

For example, current best practice is to allow employees to set their own hours for work and be driven by KPIs and results, rather than watching the clock and presenteeism. With the shared drive and ability to collaborate from within a file, notes can be left for a teammate to take action on when they’re ready to look at the file.

An effective and collaborative work environment in 2023 means having a cloud-based set of productivity tools that create a reliable, secure, and flexible platform that allows every member of the team to easily follow workflows. With the right tool set, organisations will be able to ease their reliance on disruptive meetings. Instead, they will see a boost in both productivity and the quality of the team’s output.