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10 Must-Have Collaboration Features for Non-Desk Employees

Posted by Andy G. Schmidt on Jun 7, 2019 11:17:32 AM


Workstream collaboration tools are finally becoming the standard they should have been long time ago—and for good reason.

Clear collaboration is crucial across all teams and locations, especially for companies with a large percentage of non-desk employees. Office workers have been collaborating digitally for years, and there has been a recent surge in non-desk workers joining the collaborative process to bring entire organizations together in a more cohesive manner.

Many companies are looking to close the communication loop with workstream collaboration platforms.

We explore what you should prioritize when finding a solution to digitalize your non-desk workforce. When evaluating team collaboration apps, you must first determine which features your team will need.

You can start this process by listing your challenges, then your needed features will begin to appear. There are two types of workstream collaboration features to consider: internal communication and workflows.


Communication includes things like instant messaging, large scale posts, video, and digital signage.

Workflows include integrations that facilitate a seamless flow of tasks to get work done efficiently.

Integrating operational workflows with communication apps is what really drives great results. This synergy is where the magic happens. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all collaboration solution since every company operates differently, but there are certain features that are extremely useful across all distributed workforces.



Here’s a list of 10 must-have collaboration features to empower your non-desk employees.


1. Integrations

Let’s start with integrations as they’re the most important. The most robust workstream collaboration platforms integrate with your existing enterprise systems. That way, operational systems and communication channels are housed in one secure location that is easily accessible by the entire organization, ideally via both mobile and desktop.

Envision a world where you can access payroll, your active directory, shift swapping, task management, etc. all in one place - in the palm of your hands and in the hands of your non-desk employees. Talk about efficiency!


2. Employee Survey Chatbots

Employee surveys are one of the necessary steps in identifying problems and opportunities for improvement. Depending on the role, turnover can cost anywhere between 16-213% of the employee's annual salary so it’s important to get their regular feedback to prevent this. Employee surveys are often a tiresome process and it’s hard to get people to fill them out on time with antiquated methods like paper questionnaires.

Fortunately, some workstream collaboration platforms allow you to create and distribute company-wide employee surveys in mere minutes. It’s never been easier to gain valuable insights from your non-desk workforce to achieve organizational alignment and boost satisfaction and retention. Plus, interactive employee survey chatbots make the process more fun, eliciting more participation.


3. Inline Translation

Many organizations, especially those with a large percentage of non-desk workers, have a diverse employee demographic with various cultural backgrounds and speak a multitude of languages. Content created in one language is often not understood by all employees, and is therefore ignored. Hiring translators and individually translating important messages and documents drains resources, so utilizing automated translation is an increasingly popular option.

Inline translation benefits your business by creating an inclusive environment that improves safety, enables faster and comprehensive information sharing, and allows room for global expansion. Inline translation empowers every single employee to communicate with one another, minimizes the overhead for management to make content accessible for employees of all backgrounds, and raises engagement and retention scores. How much better will collaboration be if you all speak the same language?


4. Communication Streams

Communication streams are predefined channels where colleagues can share information and engage with specific teams or the entire organization. Here you can distribute company news, updates, and protocols, or motivate employees and celebrate achievements. You can customize user access and roles so you don’t clutter anyone’s set of streams with irrelevant content.

In these streams you can also upload videos and share files for easier information sharing. Does your hotel restaurant have a new item on the menu? Post it in the “Restaurant” communication stream (or whatever you’d like to name it) so the whole staff knows.


5. Peer-to-Peer Chat Messaging

When looking at communication tools, you should search for real-time collaboration capabilities to keep up with today’s fast-paced work environment. Peer-to-peer chat messaging lets you send one-on-one or group messages to any colleague within secure, organized communication channels. Easily share documents, links, pictures, and videos to increase productivity and get quicker response times. This will help you contact your hard-to reach non-desk workers.


6. Automated Workflows

Workflows are the backbone of operations. Without them, there would be endless confusion and rework. Increase efficiency of workflows by making sure the right employees receive the right information at the right time to get tasks done in the right order. You can automate communications with trigger-based workflows, send personalized updates to everyone or regulated channels, and schedule internal messaging campaigns in advance.


7. Analytics Dashboard

Workstream collaboration tools mean nothing if employees aren’t using them or not utilizing them to their full extent. With an analytics dashboard, you get a real-time view of employee engagement and platform usage. You can take all the data from reports, survey responses, etc. and measure its effectiveness to make impactful changes.

Those insights let you gauge which users aren’t using the platform and have data-driven discussions to encourage those people.


8. Confirmation Campaigns

This is one of those features you don’t know you need until you have it, then can’t imagine life without it. Real-time read confirmations take read receipts to the next level by ensuring everyone is informed and held accountable for viewing critical communications.

With confirmation campaigns, you can verify crisis, safety, and regulatory information is viewed and confirm maintenance, schedule, or event changes. If colleagues don’t respond, you can easily pinpoint and follow up with those who haven’t confirmed. This is a crucial feature for non-desk employees since you can’t regularly connect with them in person.


9. Employee Directory

Were you ever tasked with spearheading a project, but had no clue how to find the right contact? This may be easy in small to mid-size companies, but for large distributed workforces, this can be a real challenge. Some collaboration tools have extensive employee directories where you can easily search for employee information, filter by department or field of expertise, and initiate a chat message or call with a single tap.


10. Secure Document Sharing

Have you ever frantically scoured your email inbox, combed through old chat logs, or just aimlessly waded through the depths of an unorganized Google Drive? For mobile, distributed workforces, having the right information specific to their location is vital to ensure operational efficiency. 

With an organized, clean, secure document library that’s already connected to your team’s favorite collaboration platforms everyone can easily access the documents they need. No more relying on your email’s global search function to track down the paperwork you need. Now you can have access to it all in one central place!


Want to get deeper insights? Download our Playbook where we share ideas on how to tackle inefficiencies in your workflows, optimize operations and create that unique workplace experience your company should be known for.

Playbook - Operations Management


Or if you want a workforce collaboration platform that has all of the above, request a free personal demo of the award-winning Beekeeper platform.

Our experts will help you unleash the power of collaboration at your place too!

 Request Demo


Topics: Internal Communications, Employee Experience, Best Practice, Operational Efficiency

Frontline employees are often under-served by technology.

Time to rectify that.

In this post we explore what you should prioritize when finding a solution to digitalize your non-desk workforce.

First you must determine which features your team will need.


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