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Communication and Collaboration

Collaboration in a Digital Workplace: 3 Types Explained

With hundreds—if not thousands—of collaboration programs and apps available today, how do you know which ones are a fit for your organization? Before answering that question, it’s important to understand the types of collaboration in the digital workplace.

4 minute read
types of collaboration
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Intranet use cases Thumbnail
Intranet use cases

As online collaboration tools continue to permeate the enterprise, intranet managers need to make their intranet the hub of internal collaboration or risk irrelevancy.

Collaboration means working together to get something done. At a minimum, your intranet software should facilitate the following three types of collaboration within your digital workplace:

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Instant Collaboration

Goal: Share ideas and get immediate feedback
Offline equivalent: Face-to-face meetings & phone calls
Online solutions: Slack, Zoom

Instant collaboration tools include instant messaging and desktop screen-sharing. Your intranet should provide links or downloads for these tools and instructions on how to use them. Advanced integration could include an indicator beside names in the employee directory to show who’s online.

Project Collaboration

Goal: Plan and execute a project
Offline equivalent: Status meetings & war boards
Online solutions: Trello, Asana, and Miro

Project collaboration tools usually include a shared calendar, to-do lists, message boards and a file repository. Your intranet should link to your project collaboration tool and include suggestions on how to use it effectively. Advanced integration could include a personalized to-do list on the intranet home page.

Mass Collaboration

Goal: Ongoing sharing, learning and connecting with teammates
Offline equivalent: Team off-sites, workshops, conferences
Online solutions: Confluence, ThoughtFarmer

Mass collaboration solutions make it easy to create, share, and find content. They include wikis, blogs, and social bookmarking. The best ones leverage the network effect to aggregate individual contributions in ways that create value for the entire organization. Your intranet shouldn’t be integrated with a mass collaboration solution. It should be a mass collaboration solution.

The intranet team should pursue ownership of all types of collaboration and integrate them into a single intranet portal. The future for intranets is mass collaboration.