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Kahootz https://www.kahootz.com Digital Workplace & Online Workspace Tue, 17 Sep 2019 12:31:21 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.1.2 How to improve employee engagement (when it’s at an all time low) https://www.kahootz.com/how-to-improve-employee-engagement/ https://www.kahootz.com/how-to-improve-employee-engagement/#respond Wed, 28 Aug 2019 09:23:50 +0000 https://www.kahootz.com/?p=8280 Believe it or not, low employee engagement is one of the main factors influencing your organisation’s productivity. Studies have demonstrated that companies with highly engaged employees outperform companies with low engagement by 202%. You can have a flawless work process, with the latest tools to encourage growth, but if your employees’ hearts aren’t in it,...

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Believe it or not, low employee engagement is one of the main factors influencing your organisation’s productivity.

Studies have demonstrated that companies with highly engaged employees outperform companies with low engagement by 202%. You can have a flawless work process, with the latest tools to encourage growth, but if your employees’ hearts aren’t in it, their productivity will be sluggish.

If your staff is dedicated to achieving their full potential, your organisation will gain a real competitive advantage. However, raising engagement levels is not an easy task. It takes effort, time, and investment.

To do this, you need to identify a lack of engagement within your team before it becomes a bigger problem.

In this blog post, you will learn how to deal with disengaged employees in a professional and empathetic manner and some of the early signs to look out for.

What is employee engagement?

How to improve employee engagement

According to HR specialists, engagement is defined based on several behaviors such as:

  • Belief in your company’s mission and positive attitude
  • An understanding of the business process (the employee is not just a chess piece but is part of the bigger picture)
  • Willingness to go the proverbial extra mile
  • Desire to learn and improve their skills on a regular basis
  • Interest in other aspects of the project, not just their own work
  • Respect towards other colleagues and superiors

An employee who displays all these behaviors is immersed in their work and is willing to work harder to make things better.

However, it’s important to understand that engagement is a two-way street. You cannot have people with high levels of engagement if your organisation doesn’t provide the right environment and the rewards to maintain it.

Early signs of low employee engagement

Disengaged employees are quite easy to spot as they will be the ones struggling to stay on task. They’ll miss deadlines, provide low-quality work, and ask for more sick days than the rest.

Before this happens, here are the top three things to be on the lookout for and tips on how to improve employee engagement:

Employees who are withdrawn or quiet

Disclaimer: Some people are naturally withdrawn and quiet, so it’s not necessarily a sign of disengagement if this is regular behaviour.

Still, if someone you know to be active is suddenly less engaged in meetings and with their work in general, you may want to pay attention. This is easy to miss in large and medium-sized teams, but it is a clear sign that something is bothering them.

Solution: You may want to pay more attention to the quality of the work they turn in and follow their progress within the project. This behaviour may be temporary, or it may grow in time, but it should not go unaddressed.

Try scheduling a face-to-face meeting and try to see if the problem is from within the organisation (they’re not happy with their current situation) or personal (maybe they are a new parent or they are going through a difficult time personally.)

Be supportive and make sure the person feels heard and understood (here are a few tips on how to do this).

Changes in Pattern

Changes in Pattern

People who are engaged and passionate about their activities can be relied on to produce their best work.

So, when things seem a bit off, a bit different, you should be paying attention. Changes in pattern can happen progressively or suddenly, but they should always be taken into consideration.

A change in pattern can be showing up late for work several days in a row, being withdrawn (discussed above), being more/less aggressive in discussions or looking more tired/upset than usual for example.

Solution: While some changes in pattern are not always about work (or necessarily bad), you should take notice and talk about it if the behaviour starts to affect the employee’s work ethic and quality. Be considerate and try to learn more about the change.

Also, if there is a problem, offer clear and active solutions. This way, employees will know they can trust you and your organisation to help them through difficulties at work.

Exhaustion and inefficiency

tired

Overworked employees are not more efficient and/or productive. It is a common trap that employers fall into because they want to keep their top talent working harder and faster.

But how much is too much? According to a recent study, an individual should not work more than 55 hours a week. Also, the same study suggests that overworking employees increases stress levels, which in time, can lead to health problems.

An employee who feels like they’re wearing the entire workload on their shoulders without proper compensation or recognition of their effort will leave. No one wants to be a workhorse!

Solution: Each person has a different approach towards work and life in general and it’s your job to create the best possible work environment for them.

Start by understanding your employees’ personality and adapt their workload accordingly. Also, if people feel overworked or spread too thin, one solution would be to integrate tools for collaborative working that allow people to work remotely. This way, the focus will be set on results and not on time spent in the office.

Moving forward

Now it’s your time to decide how to move forward. Of course, the most important thing is to work on your employee engagement and increase it. You should never forget to take care of your employees’ wellbeing and opportunities for development.

Also, you need to learn how to let people go. Some people are just not the right for your company, so it’s important to understand that and create an easy process for them to leave their job without any bridges being burnt.

Some people may just have different goals and ambitions, so even if someone puts a resignation letter on your table, it doesn’t mean that they do not respect your company’s mission. They just have their own path and you need to be ready for it.

A few final words…

Happiness in the workplace is crucial for employee engagement and increased productivity. However, this means different things for different people, which is why a good leader will find creative ways to keep everyone motivated.

Talk to your team members and be clear about your expectations when it comes to performance, attendance, and productivity. And keep in mind, a team of happy employees is a strong competitive advantage for your organisation.

Written by Erika Rykun.

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Top 5 project management fails ruining collaboration in organisations https://www.kahootz.com/project-management-fails/ https://www.kahootz.com/project-management-fails/#respond Fri, 16 Aug 2019 14:35:36 +0000 https://www.kahootz.com/?p=8215 Every project manager knows the importance of effective collaboration to the success of a project. Having a high-level, executable communication strategy is essential – the many projects failing because of this are a reminder of that. In fact, a study by Project Management Institute found that companies risk $135 million for every $1 billion spent...

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Every project manager knows the importance of effective collaboration to the success of a project. Having a high-level, executable communication strategy is essential – the many projects failing because of this are a reminder of that.

In fact, a study by Project Management Institute found that companies risk $135 million for every $1 billion spent on a project because of poor communication.

PMI

While having an effective communication system in place makes perfect sense to get the best outcome, many project managers make mistakes undermining that system.

Since executives and project managers should be the first to realise the importance of fostering collaboration and implementing appropriate strategies, their failure to achieve this risks damaging their projects.

In this article, we go through the five most common project management fails that have the potential to ruin collaboration in an organisation and undermine the success of its projects.

A lack of adequate communication with remote workers or freelancers

Having a remote worker or freelancer in a project team is common today.

However, if they are not actively engaged in the working process or lack visibility on project progress, chances are the outcome will suffer.

While this sounds like a rare occurrence, statistics suggest otherwise. For example, Small Business Trends claim 70% of remote workers feel left out of the workplace.

This may seem surprising because of the abundance of digital communication and knowledge sharing platforms on the market. However, if a project manager doesn’t ensure a proper collaboration and communication system is in place to facilitate the engagement of remote workers and freelancers, things might get ugly.

That’s why project managers should make collaboration tools available to remote team members. Collaboration systems as Kahootz, for example, allow every team member to contribute and be updated wherever they’re based, by having all project-related communications in one secure online platform.

Changes demanded by clients are not made available to all team members

change

Have you been in a situation like this? A client contacts a team member to say the project should have been delivered by that point but they haven’t received any updates. While miscommunication may certainly be an issue, there could be another reason for this.

For example, the project manager received a list of change requests from the client but didn’t make them available to all members of the team. In other words, the scope of the project has increased, but the project manager underestimated the complexity and the importance of making some of the changes.

“There might be a lot of reasons for this, including a lack of experience in the team, a lack of time, or a failure to realise the complexity of the changes,” says Diane Olszewski, a project manager from Trust My Paper. “As a result, team members can get demoralised and frustrated because they didn’t have a chance to complete the work within the deadline.”

Ultimately, with team members not on the same page, collaboration suffers in a big way. No-one knows who is doing what and why which leads to confusion and an unhappy client.

Forgetting to update the schedule

In many cases, project managers draft a schedule to manage their project at the very beginning.

However, it’s not uncommon for them to forget to update it during later project stages.

For example, a project manager can get preoccupied with coordinating resources/finances or managing ongoing issues, so they don’t think of schedule update as a critical requirement for success. Also, managers often work on multiple projects at the same time, so keeping track of everything becomes more difficult.

As a result, they lack visibility into what they’re working on. This means they struggle to know whether key milestones have been completed or missed and a group of team members who are confused about which tasks are a priority.

Not planning to fail

project management fails

If a team gets to work on a large and complicated project, then the project manager has to work twice as hard to make it a success.

However, it’s easy to make mistakes when faced with a lot of requirements and tight deadlines. For example, a manager’s first reflex might be to dive right into the customer’s requirements and disregard some of the initial planning and coordination of tasks.

In a project where a significant failure means “game over,” a lack of planning for setbacks might lead to even more serious consequences. One of the most prominent examples is the loss of NASA’s $180 million Mars Climate Orbiter that failed because the two teams involved in the development were using different measurement systems. 

In addition to failing to coordinate the software development, the project managers of the American and European teams failed to come up with a solution when it became a possible mission-ending error. As a result, a fully-functioning orbiter was lost because of a simple software mistake that was totally unexpected.

Not making team workload visible to top management

Top management often lacks the knowledge of the workload of project teams. Therefore they may set goals that are hard or impossible to achieve.

Unless a project manager stands up to the top management and proves that their team and resources are overloaded, the chances of achieving maximum outcomes are reduced. Moreover, a team working hard because of a high workload may become de-motivated, leading to reduced collaboration as they simply don’t have the time!

The solution? Provide the right tools

Many factors contribute to effective project collaboration, and failing to pay proper attention to each of them may lead to unwanted outcomes.

Project managers play an important role in making sure everything goes smoothly, so knowing the most common mistakes, as well as their outcomes, is helpful to avoid making them from the start.

Also, providing them with the right online collaboration tools is critical to keeping their teams updated on the project progress. Without them, the risks of failure increase significantly.

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How to securely share files with clients https://www.kahootz.com/how-to-securely-share-client-files/ https://www.kahootz.com/how-to-securely-share-client-files/#respond Fri, 16 Aug 2019 13:42:42 +0000 https://www.kahootz.com/?p=8213 File sharing is a key part of any client-facing business. Due to the digitalisation of many businesses processes, collaboration has become a reality for many workplaces and is a key way to communicate and keep clients updated. The ability to securely sharing files is essential for building long-lasting client relationships, and in order for your...

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File sharing is a key part of any client-facing business. Due to the digitalisation of many businesses processes, collaboration has become a reality for many workplaces and is a key way to communicate and keep clients updated.

The ability to securely sharing files is essential for building long-lasting client relationships, and in order for your and their data to be protected, it is crucial to invest in secure cloud-based software.

But there is so much more you can do to engage your clients than simply sharing documents. Read on to find out the common problems companies have with file sharing and how Kahootz can help your organisation to securely share files with your clients and increase collaboration with them.

Problems organisations have with file sharing

Emails

Sending and sharing documents via email can cause a lot of problems for your organisation and clients. For example, document attachments can get lost in email chains, time is wasted looking for the correct email, or you run the risk of not sending it to everyone who needs to be kept in the loop.

Also, as emails can’t accommodate large file sizes, many opt to use another platform. However, having more than one platform to share files creates a disjointed process and a loss of control over your data.

In the worst-case scenario, emails can be hacked, which could put your most sensitive data at risk. This should be addressed as it could cause irreversible damage to your client relationships.

Document versions

Digitally sharing documents and files is a necessary part of the project process. However, accidentally using the wrong version of the file or having trouble locating the correct version is a common problem with many consequences.

According to a 2012 study, 83% of employees say they waste time everyday tracking, sharing or finding the correct version of a file. Not only does this reduce productivity, but it is also a monetary loss for your organisation as time is lost looking for documents instead of working.

Also, sending the wrong version of a file to a client can lead to confusion, leaving a poor impression of your company.

Security

Most file-sharing platforms are made with the goal for efficiency, not security. When you use one or multiple unsecured platforms to share confidential files, you run the risk of losing control over your data. You also open the data up to potential hackers and allow your organisations’ digital assets to be vulnerable to security attacks.

The solution

Version control

Kahootz helps you to audit and safeguard access to sensitive information between you and your clients by integrating features, such as, automatic version control, file-locking and team-based edit and view rights.

The software backs up the files in real-time and at regular intervals to physically separate servers. Also, multiple versions of the file are backed up simultaneously; making it extremely difficult to lose them.

Access control

Access control is important to ensure your clients don’t see information they shouldn’t. Whether you’re giving access to someone from your team or a client, it is important to only allow authorised individuals to access and edit the documents you send.

Kahootz gives you the ability to select specific individuals to view or edit a document. This setting can be customised for each document.

Not only will you be able to control access to the document, but you can also be notified every time a user opens the document and makes changes. This allows your workflow to stay transparent as there is a real-time log of access and modifications.

Audit logs

An audit log traces the history of the document from the early stages of conceptualisation, through to the revisions and finalised copy. Having this log makes it easier for you to see the changes made throughout the document’s lifecycle.

Kahootz not only keeps an audit log of modifications and changes made to the document, but it also keeps comments and discussions together with each file. This gives you a complete record of all contributions and saves you time having to look through multiple emails to gather the feedback.

Security

Kahootz is independently audited and trusted by security-conscious UK government departments such as the Ministry of Defence and Department of Health and Social Care.

The software scans your files for viruses before they are downloaded to ensure your files stay protected at all times, and are safe to share with your clients. Also, your files are encrypted and all data between users and our servers use a secure HTTPS/SSL connection.  

Access is protected by 256-bit SSL encryption, and our intrusion detection systems continuously monitor the network. Our software gives you assured data security wherever you or your clients are logging in from.

Beyond file sharing

Simple file sharing can only take you so far though. In order to build stronger working relationships with your clients, you need to use a variety of tools to keep them engaged.

Kahootz can help you do this, by combining multiple features in one secure platform. These include:

  • Surveys – Get client feedback on product enhancements or a customer event you recently hosted.
  • Discussion forums – Keep all of your client communications in one platform, rather than across multiple emails, phone calls and in-person meetings.
  • Databases – Allow your clients to vote on potential product enhancements.
  • Shared calendars – Give your clients full visibility of upcoming events or milestones, (a new product release for example.)

These are just some of the ways in which you can inform, consult and collaborate with your clients. However, because the platform can be easily customised with no consultancy or IT training required, you’re empowered to adapt the tools to best serve your customers.

How to create your own client portal

You can get started today, by signing up for a 30-day free trial and get unrestricted access to all of Kahootz’s features, 25 users, 2GB storage, and unlimited workspaces.

Try it out for yourself and discover why senior IT leaders and project managers choose Kahootz to empower their staff to collaborate and work with their clients.

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How to create an effective stakeholder engagement strategy https://www.kahootz.com/how-to-create-an-effective-stakeholder-engagement-strategy/ https://www.kahootz.com/how-to-create-an-effective-stakeholder-engagement-strategy/#respond Tue, 13 Aug 2019 07:21:37 +0000 http://www.kahootz2.inovem.com/?p=2977 Organisations thrive when they learn how to communicate with stakeholders effectively. But with the advent of online tools that make it simpler to engage, inform and consult with stakeholders, it’s now essential to put digital at the heart of your stakeholder engagement strategy. If you do, the rewards can be significant.  What is a stakeholder...

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Organisations thrive when they learn how to communicate with stakeholders effectively. But with the advent of online tools that make it simpler to engage, inform and consult with stakeholders, it’s now essential to put digital at the heart of your stakeholder engagement strategy. If you do, the rewards can be significant. 

What is a stakeholder engagement strategy?

Certain decisions made by organisations will affect and be of interest to many different stakeholder groups.

For example, if a council wanted to build a memorial to honour local war veterans, they may consult relatives about the project, collaborate with a local sculptor on the design and inform the media to help promote its launch.

But not all stakeholder groups are created equal. Some may need to be kept updated daily on developments, while others only require occasional contact.

A stakeholder engagement strategy will help you plan how often you need to communicate with the different groups and decide which tools to use for each one.

Why have a stakeholder engagement strategy?

Depending on which sector you work in, effective stakeholder management can deliver more customers, better-formulated policy, well-managed projects, innovation and more.

How do you manage stakeholder engagement?

Building a stakeholder engagement strategy is, however, easier said than done.

But with over a decade of experience helping organisations engage online with their stakeholders, we’ve found there are just 4 key steps. We’ve written this post to take you through the full process.

1. Analyse your stakeholders

Never assume you know who all your stakeholders are – find out for certain. Cambridge Dictionaries Online defines a stakeholder as:

“A person such as an employee, customer or citizen who is involved with an organisation, society, etc. and therefore has responsibilities towards it and an interest in its success.”

Using this definition, you can quickly identify both internal and external stakeholders. The next step is to map those stakeholders into four groups:

  • Low interest, low influence – those you need to keep informed
  • High interest, low influence – those you need to involve and consult with
  • Low interest, high influence – powerful stakeholders you need to engage
  • High interest, high influence – partners you need to collaborate with

In this way, you can find the best strategies to engage and communicate with each group. To help you, you may want to construct a simple stakeholder engagement strategy matrix like this one, based on the priorities of an NHS Commissioning Group.

analyse your stakeholders

2. Define your purpose

Having a clear purpose is key to effective stakeholder engagement. When you have a vision of what you want to achieve, the engagement process becomes more meaningful for all involved.

The things you will need to achieve via stakeholder engagement will depend on both your sector and individual organisation. For example, common purposes within the public sector include:

  • Policy development
  • Development of shared services
  • Tourism development
  • Environmental initiatives
  • Curriculum development
  • Healthcare campaigns
  • Crime reduction initiatives

Similarly, if you are in the retail sector, you may want to engage with stakeholders to:

  • Develop products
  • Refine product lines
  • Devise special offers
  • Plan new retail outlets
  • Create a pricing strategy
  • Improve service levels
  • Redesign store interiors

By having a clear purpose, you can then use your matrix to identify relevant stakeholders and manage their involvement in the most appropriate way – working together, showing consideration, informing them, or keeping them satisfied – depending on how active and influential they are.

3. Map available tools to identified stakeholders

Once you have identified your stakeholders and have a clear purpose, it’s time to find the best tools to inform, consult or collaborate with them.

When it comes to choosing digital tools to engage with each group of stakeholders, we recommend creating a map like the following and overlaying it on your original matrix. However, you can just as easily do the same for traditional stakeholder engagement tools such as paper questionnaires, information roadshows, face-to-face meetings and newspaper advertisements.

Map available tools to identified stakeholders

4. Choose the most appropriate methods and technologies

When you first create a matrix of digital or traditional engagement tools, it can be daunting. It can seem as though you need to invest in lots of different methods and technologies — and that’s expensive, time-consuming and not necessarily efficient.

But while you could, in theory, buy individual tools to achieve your goals, there are better options available. Kahootz, for example, offers many of the technologies identified in the matrix above. That means, for a relatively small cost, you can use all of the following for internal and external stakeholder engagement:

  • Secure workspaces to gather information, share ideas or contribute to a common project
  • Stakeholder management, allowing you to create teams, assign permissions and tailor communications and access to each stakeholder
  • Secure file sharing, with a full audit trail, document locking and notification emails
  • Team collaboration, using tools such as co-authored documents, custom online databases, RSS feeds, discussion forums and more
  • Task and project management, allowing you to manage, drive and evaluate stakeholder contributions
  • Consultation using questionnaires, polls and comment forms

Additionally, investing in a flexible online collaboration package lets you think big and start small – expanding the scope of your stakeholder engagement plan as new projects arise.

While the steps outlined in this post will get you off to a strong start when creating your stakeholder engagement strategy, they only scratch the surface of what’s possible. If you’re serious about reaping the benefits of stakeholder engagement, we strongly recommend you read our free guide Transforming Public Sector Stakeholder Engagement. While focused on the public sector, it is invaluable for any organisation in any industry wanting to learn how to engage stakeholders.

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Why building trust in the workplace aids collaboration https://www.kahootz.com/building-trust-in-the-workplace/ https://www.kahootz.com/building-trust-in-the-workplace/#respond Wed, 07 Aug 2019 13:17:46 +0000 https://www.kahootz.com/?p=8146 Trust, both inside and outside of the workplace is the basis for healthy relationships. It is the fundamental building block of a strong company culture and an essential component in collaborative workplaces. Your organisation needs to build healthy relationships to succeed, both internally and with your customers. There needs to be an understanding between leaders,...

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Trust, both inside and outside of the workplace is the basis for healthy relationships.

It is the fundamental building block of a strong company culture and an essential component in collaborative workplaces.

Your organisation needs to build healthy relationships to succeed, both internally and with your customers. There needs to be an understanding between leaders, managers, and staff.

So, how does trust impact collaboration in the workplace? First, let’s define trust.

According to the Cambridge Dictionary trust is ‘to believe that someone is good and honest and will not harm you, or that something is safe and reliable.

The Oxford Dictionary defines trust as a ‘firm belief in the reliability, truth, or ability of someone or something.’

Importantly, trust is the basis for psychological safety, which is crucial for strong and successful business cultures. Trust is a basic human need. When people feel trust, they can be honest, open and share problems and ideas.

In this blog post, we’re going to look at the importance of trust in the workplace and why it’s fundamental to collaboration.

How to foster trust in business

trust

Building trust into your business culture starts at the top. Successful leaders understand the importance of trust and model themselves on that basis.

They also have the confidence to put their trust in others. This requires effective communication, openness, transparency, discipline, and effort. Trust doesn’t just happen, it is earned.

In order to build trust in the workplace, leaders must:

  • Do what they say they are going to do
  • Be approachable and operate an open-door policy
  • Be honest
  • Show support for employees, even when mistakes are made
  • Be respectful of people, their ideas and views
  • Balance business needs with the needs of employees
  • Be consistent
  • Be accountable
  • Model expected behaviour
  • Recognise that trust must be earned
  • Recognise that it takes continual effort

Now let’s take a look at why trust is so important to collaboration.

Disengaged employees don’t collaborate

If you have ever managed employees who don’t trust each other, you will know how frustrating, challenging and draining it can be.

A loss of trust is hugely detrimental to outcomes. When employees don’t trust leaders or each other, they disconnect from business values and spend more time watching their backs than working together.

No matter how capable your team is, if they don’t trust their leaders, line managers or each other, they won’t be sharing information and supporting each other. This is hugely detrimental to day-to-day operations and ultimately business success.

A lack of trust means people hold back on productivity, don’t share the important ideas required for problem-solving and will never go the extra mile. Also, employees who aren’t feeling good about the vibe at work won’t be going above and beyond for your customers.

Trust is the basis for positive relationships at work

best friend at work

Research by Gallup shows a concrete link between having a best friend at work and the amount of effort employees expend in their job.

For example, survey results show that women who say they have a best friend at work are more than twice as likely to be engaged (63 percent) compared with the women who say otherwise (29 percent).

Human beings are social creatures and they need good working relationships in order to feel happy at work. These relationships can’t flourish in an environment where trust is an issue. Trust is the foundation of good relationships.

Cliques are much more likely to form in a toxic business culture where trust has been eroded. This isn’t good for collaboration, as people start to work against each other, rather than come together. This friction is detrimental to collaboration, employee engagement, and productivity.

Trust is at the heart of transparency and open communication

Collaboration at work demands open communication and transparency. Trust is essential for building a culture of open communication and this is the basis for optimum collaboration in the workplace.

Without open communication teams just can’t be as effective. In fully collaborative and high-performing teams, individuals need to know they can be vulnerable with one another. 

The withholding of information or miscommunication can damage trust, as can poor change management. Leaders who look after number one and aren’t transparent and honest with their people are ultimately damaging the potential of their business.

The most successful leaders understand the importance of trust for collaboration. They trust themselves, act with integrity and they trust their employees. This is the basis of good business culture and the key to collaborative workplaces.

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The UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) awards third G-Cloud contract to Kahootz https://www.kahootz.com/ministry-of-defence-mod-g-cloud/ https://www.kahootz.com/ministry-of-defence-mod-g-cloud/#respond Tue, 30 Jul 2019 11:00:24 +0000 https://www.kahootz.com/?p=8105 The UK MOD has awarded a third 2-year G-Cloud contract to Kahootz, the cloud collaboration service. Their secure cloud-based collaborative working environment, (branded as Defence Share) is enabling MOD teams to work collaboratively and share information, protectively marked up to OFFICIAL-SENSITIVE, with external organisations. Kahootz was chosen after being re-evaluated against competitive services and the...

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The UK MOD has awarded a third 2-year G-Cloud contract to Kahootz, the cloud collaboration service.

Their secure cloud-based collaborative working environment, (branded as Defence Share) is enabling MOD teams to work collaboratively and share information, protectively marked up to OFFICIAL-SENSITIVE, with external organisations.

Defence_Share_icon

Kahootz was chosen after being re-evaluated against competitive services and the MOD’s own assessment criteria of flexibility, scalability, speed of delivery, value for money and, most importantly, service and operational security.

Explaining the impact the service has had, Craig Savery, IT Strategy and Architecture Assistant Head at DE&S told Desider (the magazine of Defence Equipment and Support): “This secure online service will make sharing information far easier, ensuring DE&S teams can work more efficiently with any authorised external organisation and industry partners.” The article also revealed that Kahootz “is also the only system of this type to be accredited by Defence Assurance and Information Security.”

Following a remarkable 300% growth in users during the previous 2-year contract, it’s expected the adoption of Kahootz will now gather further momentum as MOD staff continue to innovate and find new ways of working with team members and key external stakeholders.

One leading example, known to its 700+ members as “ListXtranet”, is an online workspace that has become the primary means for MOD communications with List X companies who are themselves using it to provide each other with support.

Given a DE&S CEO award for excellence, the collaborative features provided by Kahootz have been applauded for the way they have helped to strengthen and support engagement of the SME community in particular.

The success of Defence Share has also not gone unnoticed by the wider Defence community, with an increasing number of prime contractors deploying their own Kahootz sites to improve engagement with their supply chain and industrial and academic partners.

One example is Team Defence Information, a collaborative association that informs defence information policy and pilots new ways of working to transform the defence ecosystem.

On hearing the news, Team Defence Information’s Managing Director Phil Williams said: “We’re delighted to learn the MOD has decided to award another contract to Kahootz. Previously unknown to many of us in the industry, they have quickly become recognised as the ‘go to’ collaboration service for dispersed project teams that need to share information safely across organisational boundaries.

“As an active member of ours, the team at Kahootz has invested a lot of time and effort to work with our members over the last 4 years to understand the teamworking challenges faced by the UK Defence Industry and are now starting to reap the benefits.”

Want to see Kahootz for yourself? You can, with our free, no-obligation 30-day trial. 

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How technology can encourage teamwork and collaboration https://www.kahootz.com/teamwork-and-collaboration/ https://www.kahootz.com/teamwork-and-collaboration/#respond Tue, 23 Jul 2019 09:45:52 +0000 https://www.kahootz.com/?p=8043 When it comes to using technology in business, the first thing that comes to mind is automation, which is used to simplify or eliminate tedious tasks and improve productivity, mostly in the assembly line. These are all repetitive tasks, that do not involve human traits, such as empathy or decision-making, making it easier for machines...

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When it comes to using technology in business, the first thing that comes to mind is automation, which is used to simplify or eliminate tedious tasks and improve productivity, mostly in the assembly line.

These are all repetitive tasks, that do not involve human traits, such as empathy or decision-making, making it easier for machines and technology to perform them.

But, when it comes to teamwork, which relies on flexibility, habits and personality traits, can technology be used to help build up trust and better communication amongst team members? The short answer is yes! The ways in which technology can help encourage teamwork and collaboration are countless.

Cloud computing

drag and drop dashboard builder

Probably the biggest advancement in technology when it comes to teamwork, cloud computing has made it possible for employees to view, share, modify and upload files with other team members and key external partners, no matter their location or device used.

Therefore, it’s not surprising 91% of businesses are already using the cloud. Gone are the days when you had to travel into the office for a meeting to discuss updates to an important document. Now you can simply access it from your smartphone or tablet and start commenting and editing it in real-time.

Cloud collaboration tools, such as Kahootz, allow businesses to keep client, suppliers and project communications all in one place, available for all employees to check and make use of at all times.

Users can customise workspaces to fit the company’s needs and make it easier for them to do their job. No more emails asking for a certain bill or contract, because they are all in one place, available for anyone to access when they need it.

Team collaboration and communication

Statistics show that 70% of remote workers don’t feel included in the workspace.

With the help of technology, people can now efficiently communicate, no matter the distance between them. Using business communication apps, employees can send messages, share files, set up conference calls and create online forums so lines of communication are kept open at all times.

This makes it easier for managers to connect and discuss progress with employees as well as avoiding long and unnecessary email trails.

Perhaps the ones who benefit most from communication apps are remote workers or colleagues who are not in the same office as them.

In smaller companies, communication happens in a more organic way. But when it comes to companies with over 100 employees, keeping in touch with everyone can be a burden.

Imagine if you had to work on a project with a colleague who works in a different country. Why go through the burden of constantly exchanging emails, when you can just chat with each other fast, efficient and on point?

However, there is also the language barrier to consider. You definitely don’t want your communications to be lost in translation!

Motivation booster

motivation

In order to be productive and efficient, a team needs to be kept motivated.

Unfortunately, this is not happening as much as it should be. In fact, a study shows that 70% of employees are not motivated or committed to perform at their best. Out of that 70%, more than half have stated they don’t feel engaged, while almost 20% stated they are intentionally detached from their work activity.

By using the latest technology, employers can increase engagement in the workplace and encourage employees to outperform themselves.

For example, by collecting real-time feedback from their employees, companies can make them feel more valued and encouraged to speak their mind.

This can be done by using survey tools. This kind of technology can also be used to review the performance of such employees and their relationships with other colleagues.

Knowledge sharing can also help motivate employees. This was shown in a recent study that found companies promoting collaborative working were 5 times more likely to be high performing.<

Project management

It can be difficult to schedule project meetings and keep track of deadlines with teams spread across multiple organisations.

But by using project collaboration software, these are managed in one platform. This allows you to focus on solving issues requiring a human touch.

The correct implementation of project collaboration software will help your stakeholders keep track of all projects, prioritise key tasks and facilitate collaboration between team members and external partners.

Team productivity can also be monitored, making it simpler for you to discuss project progress with key individuals. At the same time, team members can also keep on top of their own productivity and adjust their workflow accordingly, if necessary.

Document management can also be simplified. Spreadsheets updated and shared via email cause confusion as no-one knows which version is the most up-to-date.

So it’s not surprising the number of companies who use spreadsheets decreased from 74% to 67% between 2016 and 2017, with the trend decreasing year-on-year.

But by creating one central online database instead, information can be updated in the knowledge that everyone has access to the same accurate data. 

Training

managing project risks

A slightly overlooked aspect when it comes to improving teamwork is training sessions.

With the use of technology, companies can develop training courses to help employees work better in teams.

Forget the outdated team-building games. Nowadays, augmented reality (AR) can be included in training sessions, to stimulate employees and teach them how to improve collaboration.

The best part is, it can be done between employees that work thousands of miles apart. This helps build a better connection between offices from different cities or countries.

When asked, 70% of consumers believe AR can be an invaluable tool which can help them master new professional skills.

At the same time, employees can also attend webinars and training sessions hosted by veterans in the company.

This form of mentorship is paramount in helping employees reach their full potential and establishing good relationships between them.

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G-Cloud 11 brings big changes for Kahootz https://www.kahootz.com/g-cloud-11/ https://www.kahootz.com/g-cloud-11/#respond Wed, 03 Jul 2019 14:34:41 +0000 https://www.kahootz.com/?p=7915 Being a G-Cloud supplier every year since its launch in 2012, Kahootz is continuing to evolve and provide more innovative ways for you and your stakeholders to work together. This year is no different. To co-inside with the launch of the 2019 iteration, our pricing structure has been revamped, making it even easier and affordable...

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Being a G-Cloud supplier every year since its launch in 2012, Kahootz is continuing to evolve and provide more innovative ways for you and your stakeholders to work together.

This year is no different. To co-inside with the launch of the 2019 iteration, our pricing structure has been revamped, making it even easier and affordable for your team members and external partners to collaborate.

Also, we have added new functionality, which allows dynamic, eye-catching dashboards to be built so you can further engage users with your content.

Flexible pricing options

kahootz pricing

There’s nothing more frustrating than being forced to buy large bundles of user licenses you’re never going to use.

We believe this goes against the G-Cloud’s aim to make government procurement simpler and better value for money.

Kahootz has always been upfront about its pricing. That’s why we provide an online calculator so you can work out your costs in advance.

In G-Cloud 11, we have taken this further by:

  • Introducing Kahootz Starter – This brand new pricing tier is designed to give smaller project teams, (5-25 users) a quick and affordable way to work securely across organisations.
  • We’ve reduced the entry point to our premier offering, Kahootz Enterprise, from 250 users to only 50 users. This is to provide new and existing G-Cloud clients with a cost-effective way to access advanced configuration and customisation features if required.

Build eye-catching dashboards

online workspace

Most collaboration tools are rigid in structure and allow little to no customisation of their interface.

Kahootz is different. It’s always been possible to adapt the platform for a wide range of business use cases.

But now, the product has evolved even further, with the addition of an interactive dashboard builder. This is allowing new and existing G-Cloud clients to quickly build dynamic, eye-catching page layouts by dragging and dropping items into multiple column formats.

The builder is already receiving positive feedback from our existing users:

“Thank you for the informative webinar I attended yesterday. I have already had a play with my dashboard, which I previously never used, and I now have slick and professional easy access to my various meeting folders. Excellent.”

Fiona Poulter, Executive Business Manager,

NHS Guildford and Waverley Clinical Commissioning Group

To ensure dashboards fit seamlessly into your corporate or partnership brand, with Kahootz Enterprise, you can specify the pallet of colours users have access too when inserting new dashboard items.

Also, Enterprise clients can enable users to access, within Kahootz dashboards, corporate and project performance data through recently released integrations with business intelligence platforms such as Microsoft’s Power BI and Tableau reports.

Ready to get started?

Just start a free, no obligation 30-day trial of Kahootz and you can be up and running in minutes. This also gives you and your team time to test and fully assess our service before committing to buy.

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How to design a collaborative workspace for better productivity https://www.kahootz.com/collaborative-workspace/ https://www.kahootz.com/collaborative-workspace/#respond Wed, 29 May 2019 09:42:56 +0000 https://www.kahootz.com/?p=7541 Productivity is all the rage nowadays, and it seems to be the topic on everyone’s lips. However, being productive isn’t necessarily about working more. According to research,work overload diminished productivity by 68% in employees who feel they are too short on time to finish their work. And it’s not always about salary either. In fact,...

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Productivity is all the rage nowadays, and it seems to be the topic on everyone’s lips.

However, being productive isn’t necessarily about working more. According to research,work overload diminished productivity by 68% in employees who feel they are too short on time to finish their work.

And it’s not always about salary either. In fact, one of the most important factors for employee productivity and engagement is their work environment.

Research has shown a well-designed collaborative workspace can boost productivity by 20%, which is a huge difference.

With this in mind, let’s look at how you can optimise your collaborative workspace for improved staff productivity.

Create a brainstorming area

collaborative workspace

Brainstorming is one of the most effective techniques for coming up with new ideas.

But that’s not all it’s good for. A recent study found not only can brainstorming be used to help a team buy into and implement a plan of action, it can also be used to simply build cohesiveness. This in turn, can reduce employee turnover and increase employee commitment.

For this reason, (although some of your staff may work remotely,) you should make a point of creating a brainstorming area.

They can use this space to get together and discuss new ideas without disturbing other employees.

Getting an L-shaped sofa with additional seating elements is an ideal solution.

This is both comfortable and less formal than stuffy conference rooms. Plus it can also double up as a space where people can meet up during breaks.

Have a dining area

It’s estimated that up to 40% of office workers typically eat at their desk during the working day.

For a start, this isn’t good for your staff’s health. Research has found that sitting too much is harmful to long term health and wellbeing.

It also has a negative effect on their productivity levels. Being stuck to a computer screen all day, not giving their brain a break can leave employees feeling stressed and overwhelmed.

To counter this, why not create a dining area where staff can have their meals and interact with each other?

Doing this will allow them to step away from their work for a moment, clear their heads and catch up with one another, therefore improving office camaraderie.

And there are plenty of solutions available that will work for your office space. These range from booths and benches, to bar stools and tables which would not look out of place in your local cafe.

Ensure office furniture is set up correctly

office chair

Have you ever tried to work when you can’t sit comfortably? 

It’s almost impossible. You’re too busy concentrating on your discomfort rather than getting on with the job in hand.

But more concerning is over time this can lead to back pain which could mean a number of your staff being unable to work.

To overcome this, you first need to reconsider your team’s current desk and chair combination.

But we’re not just talking about having a chair which can be adjusted to provide sufficient support.

They also need to have a desk that’s not too high or too low. Ideally, it would be height-adjustable for each individual.

Finally, you should consider introducing footrests to ease leg and lower back issues.

Insert some colour

There is plenty of research showing how colours can affect our mood and behaviour.

Choosing the right colour for your collaborative workspace can affect your staff’s productivity in a positive way. In most cases, blue has been found to do just that.

Now, that doesn’t mean you need need to paint your entire office blue. For a start, it may not fit in with your brand guidelines!

But you can introduce some blue items that will help to keep everyone focused and relaxed. Flowers are a good place to start, but there are plenty of ways for you to be creative!

Set an optimal room temperature

room temperature

This is a common debate in offices.

The truth? In general, warm environments are better for creative thinking, while cooler workplaces are thought to help keep people alert during repetitive or monotonous tasks.

But everyone reacts differently to temperature, in which case your staff may want to get their own personal fan or a heater.

Also, regardless of how cold or hot it is, you should encourage people to open windows a few times each day in order to let some fresh air in.

This is because stale office air has been found to make people less productive.

Create open spaces

While cubicles have been designed to allow your employees to focus and be more productive, they can also have the opposite effect of making people feel alienated from one another.

A study published in the British Medical Journal backs this up. They found that workers in open offices (where there are no partitions between desks, or the partitions are low enough to see over while seated) on average, were over 30% more active while at the office than people working in private offices.

Using an open office space can help your employees feel less isolated and creates a healthier working atmosphere.

You should also consider installing different types of spaces, such as lounges, kitchen areas, and workstations to allow people to find their most productive environment.

Organise and keep control of your data

drag and drop dashboard builder

It’s not just your physical workspace you need to keep on top of.

You also need to ensure your data is organised in a way that allows collaboration to flourish between your staff and your external partners.

The problems start when your teams start using separate “shadow IT’ cloud tools to store documents, send out surveys and manage key business processes.

This creates multiple data silos, making it harder for your staff to collaborate and more worryingly, you have no idea whether your data is stored safely or not.

Instead, use online collaboration software to keep all of your data secure in one online platform.

Your staff can then collaborate and share knowledge, without exposing your organisation to any risk.

Conclusion

Having a well-designed workspace will not only make your workforce more productive, but they won’t dread the feeling of spending eight hours each day inside a bland and generic cubicle.

Implement as many of these tips as you can and you will see the difference in no time. Good luck!

Author Bio:

Cathy Baylis is a freelance content writer who provides the dissertation writing service out there, as well as paper writing service reviews. She loves sharing her interests with readers, and she has something to say, for sure.

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How a lack of collaboration can make or break a project https://www.kahootz.com/lack-of-collaboration/ https://www.kahootz.com/lack-of-collaboration/#respond Mon, 20 May 2019 09:48:19 +0000 https://www.kahootz.com/?p=7694 The importance of collaboration in project management is clear. Otherwise, how would we get anything done? However, many organisations lack the collaborative culture and management expertise to keep teams engaged and moving in the same direction. While no company means to create them, silos at work are still a big problem. Clusters of expertise naturally...

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The importance of collaboration in project management is clear. Otherwise, how would we get anything done?

However, many organisations lack the collaborative culture and management expertise to keep teams engaged and moving in the same direction.

While no company means to create them, silos at work are still a big problem.

Clusters of expertise naturally develop in organisations, often resulting in departmental hierarchies. Teams then become focused on their own duties, inadvertently excluding others in the process.

Line managers are often competent at looking after their own team but lack the expertise to effectively engage in cross-team collaboration.

As a result, links in the business chain can become broken. The most successful companies are those embracing cross-team collaboration.

“Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much.”

Helen Keller


In this article, we’ll be looking at how influential a lack of collaboration and teamwork can be on the success or failure of a project, or the business as a whole.

A learning environment

Collaboration in the workplace doesn’t just happen. It is borne from a culture of learning and knowledge sharing.

UK charity Campaign for Learning recently ran its annual Learning at Work Week campaign to encourage organisations to promote learning cultures and inspire people to learn.

Mike Knivett, MD at Artemis Marketing (one of the many companies to take part) sees learning, a growth mindset and collaboration as critical levers for achieving business success.

He says: “Bringing people together from all departments within the organisation enables us to look at our processes from different angles and continually improve them.

“We know that to stay ahead of the crowd we need the best people working together to deliver innovative solutions.

“We encourage our people at all levels to participate in cross-team rocket projects. Learning from each other is the foundation of our success so far.”

“Great things in business are never done by one person; they’re done by a team of people.”

Steve Jobs

Departmental boundaries

Innovation doesn’t always come from where you expect.

Cross-functional collaboration involves building teams of people who have different levels of expertise.

The most effective workplace collaboration occurs when barriers are broken down and people are brought together.

According to an article in the Harvard Business Review, the biggest obstacle to innovation in large companies is turf wars: “Any time you start something new like [an innovation initiative], that cuts across many areas.

“There’s a potential for people feeling like you’re in their backyard,” says Michael Britt, a senior vice president who heads Energy Innovation at the US utility operator, Southern Company.

But departmental boundaries are only a problem if you let them be.

It is up to business leaders and project directors to foster collaboration by being clear about what is expected and how teams across the business are expected to support those expectations.

The fact is, companies ditching silos and embracing cross-departmental relationships tend to be high performing businesses. Research also shows that interdepartmental collaboration also increases efficiency.

“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.”

Henry Ford

 

Building trust

build trust

If there is one sure way to shoot collaboration down, it’s through micromanagement and a lack of trust.

Consider a work situation where employees are trusted to make decisions.

They feel they can count on each other when there is a problem to be solved, recognise each other’s strengths and share the credit for successes.

Overall, when people feel trusted, they step up and do their best work.

Micromanagement has the opposite effect. If team members don’t trust one another they become less engaged and can even develop negative behaviours, further eroding trust and damaging the outcome of projects.

According to US-based Onpoint Consulting, who help businesses to enhance cross-functional teamwork for success, trust is more difficult to build in cross-functional teams, especially across different geographical locations.

Building trust takes effort. Mentoring and partnering team members can help ensure everyone is on the same page and encourages a more cohesive approach.

Ultimately, cross-functional teams need to be clear they are all working towards the same goal. Involving people, seeking their input and allowing them to make decisions is a crucial part of this process.

See more on why trust is critical to team success here.

“It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.”

Harry Truman

Alignment

Effective collaboration requires everyone working towards the same goal.

If employees don’t have the same objectives, collaboration is impossible and rifts in teams are likely.

So, how do you ensure your project team is singing from the same hymn sheet?

It’s simple and it starts from the very beginning. Goals need to be communicated from the outset and regularly reinforced to ensure all project team members are in alignment.

Summary

Any project, as well as day-to-day activities in business, benefits from collaboration.

However, collaborative effectiveness will depend on business culture, goals, trust and how departments work together.

Good communication is also essential. In a non-collaborative environment, staff become disengaged, lose trust and motivation. Business and project success relies on people working together towards the same goal.

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