With so many collaboration tools available, 2020 is the time to explore and adopt the tools that best serve your needs, providing your workforce with all the guidance, encouragement, and support required to work at peak productivity levels. Need to justify your decision? Take a look at some of the latest workplace trends that more than warrant implementation.

Most people are working remotely, at least part-time.

The Society for Human Resources Management reported that 69 percent of organizations allowed employees to work from home in some capacity in 2019, marking a threefold-plus increase since 1996. And in a 2019 Global Workspace Survey of more than 15,000 professionals from a range of different industries, the majority reported that their employees work outside of their main office headquarters at least twice a week.

All this to say that, with the prevalence of telecommuting, there is a critical need for software that connects people with each other in such a way that it doesn't matter whether they're across the hall, down the street, or 3,000 miles away. This connectivity is particularly crucial when teams are reviewing visual materials, in which case video conferencing and screen sharing capabilities serve an invaluable role. 

Meetings are costly and unproductive.

There are between 11 million and 55 million meetings held in the U.S. every day, costing most organizations 7-15 percent of their personnel budgets. Executives reportedly spend an average of 23 hours in meetings weekly, eight of which are unproductive. And a staggering-- but maybe not surprising-- 73 percent of people admit they use meeting time to do other work.

While some meetings are necessary, the many that are not result not only in billions of wasted dollars, but exacerbate what's known as Meeting Recovery Syndrome-- time spent winding down and refocusing after a meeting. The features available via collaboration tools allow for seamless, ongoing ideation and communication, cutting down on time, budget and energy-draining meetings.

No one needs another email.

The 2019 Adobe Email Usage Study found that American workers are spending five hours checking email--work and personal--each day.

In his book, Quality Software Management: Systems Thinking, renowned computer scientist, author and teacher Gerald Weinberg famously proposed that productive time is reduced by 20 percent every time we add another task to our plates. By that long-tested standard, if you work an eight-hour day, the ordinary act of having your email open while doing something else steals an hour and a half of your day.    

Email might be the original productivity channel, but we all need a break from it. Collaborative chat features offer a welcome alternative that combats this form of fatigue. You can interact with your colleagues quickly, efficiently, and without the obligatory greetings, sign-offs and other standard--and sometimes superfluous--email formalities.

The emerging workforce thrives on engagement.

Millennials are the largest generation in the U.S. workforce and projections show that Gen Z will comprise about 36 percent ?of the global workforce in 2020. So, it stands to reason that these groups greatly influence workplace trends. One of the currencies they value, collectively, is open and honest communication.

For example, 60 percent of Gen Z say they want multiple check-ins from their manager throughout the week, while two-thirds say they need feedback from their supervisor at least every few weeks in order to stay on board. In some cases, a sentence or two, or even an emoji may suffice, but accommodating this degree of engagement necessitates solutions that enable convenient, prompt, direct feedback.

At my company, the various collaborative platforms we use internally, as well as with clients and other partners, have generated remarkable levels of fluidity and productivity. We've been able to enhance collaborative processes while saving time and money that might have otherwise been spent on time-consuming meetings, costly travel, and other unproductive efforts.

As a leader or manager, fostering communication is a part of your job. Find the solutions that make that job easier and make them work for you.