Collaboration tools raise staff morale

Andrew Charlesworth | Nov 27, 2006 9:57 AM
Study finds link between company morale and how technology is used to
collaborate.
A study of UK and US business leaders by Cambridge University's Judge Business School shows that maintaining morale relies heavily on companies rewarding collaborative behaviour and investing in the right mobile technology.

The study, sponsored by Nokia, found that working across long distances and time zones requires business leaders to adopt a more participatory management style.

The communications challenge is often akin to marshalling a 24/7 network of online volunteers.

The study among 400 US and UK business leaders found a clear link between company morale and how technology is used to collaborate.

Employees want to communicate, to be more productive and have better relations with their peers, the researchers found.

Three quarters of those interviewed reported that their companies deploy collaborative technology to enable people to share information quickly and easily.

Eighty-six per cent said that interactions between themselves and others helps spark new ideas, while 82 percent said that people in other work locations support them in their work.

Some 75 percent say that when they need additional help they get the best person to help wherever they are, and 74 percent say they would not be able to do their job if they couldn't work with people outside their own team.

The researchers concluded that, used effectively, mobile technology leads to highly collaborative workplaces and employees who feel empowered and productive.

Mobile technologies are viewed as crucial, with over 90 percent of business decision makers saying that technology is an important enabler of their company's collaborative efforts and over half saying that technology is critical to collaboration.

This collaborative momentum builds a virtuous circle of collaboration and trust, according to the report. Supported by the effective use of technology, the outcome is higher levels of personal and company morale.

For example, 80 percent of respondents claimed that having the mobile applications and devices they need has had a positive impact on their morale, and 76 percent responded that having the right mobile applications and devices improved their company's morale.

"Companies should not blindly invest in whatever technology comes along and hope that it will work," said Ben Hardy, a lecturer at Judge Business School.

"They should closely ally their technology strategy to their people strategy to ensure that maximum value is extracted from targeted IT investment."