What Makes a Workspace Collaborative?

Collaborating virtually is no longer just a trend, but a strategy for survival. It ensures business continuity, fosters employee engagement, and increases productivity. The increase in remote working in the last year produced challenges due to distributed workforces trying to continue working with different workspaces, applications, and even operating systems.

To achieve the benefits of collaboration, organizations need tools that provide a centralized workspace that employees anywhere can access securely, where they can collaborate and share work with seamless processes.

What is a collaborative workspace and its characteristics?

Easy to access

A collaborative workspace enables people to work together, regardless of their physical location. This means workers need to easily access the workspace at any time.

Businesses often use several applications at the same time—for project management, documents, production, etc. In fact, research shows that small and medium-sized companies use between 20 and 50 SaaS solutions to get their work done.

Image Source

Going back and forth from one app to another wastes time and impairs productivity. Typically, each application requires signing in, creating a hassle of different usernames and passwords for workers and the IT team.

To be effective, a collaborative workspace needs to be unified with all the apps your team needs to work, share, and stay connected. Some features that make it easier for workers to access the information include:

  • Single sign-on: A single username and password for the entire workspace simplify access, saving time and improving productivity. This single sign-on should work across devices, allowing employees to work from anywhere.
  • Single interface: Easy access to any app from a single interface makes it easy to switch between them. 
  • Centralized dashboard: All integrated apps (like Office or Salesforce) in a central dashboard allows the worker to open and work in any file, regardless of where it is stored.

Simplify tasks

Accessing the workspace and applications is just the first step. The essence of a collaborative workspace is to simplify how teams work together. An effective workspace provides intelligent collaboration through an automated workflow.

Workers need to be able to find shared documents and work together in processes across devices. Some characteristics that make it easy to collaborate in a workspace include:

  • Central repository: This simplifies finding jobs and producing content. The worker can pick up where their teammates left off. The repository should be organized in a logical manner that allows all team members to find and collaborate on shared documents and reports. 
  • Create workflows: The team can customize and create automated workflows for different projects. Some projects need more approval steps, some fewer. An effective workspace gives teams a simple way to stay connected and coordinate the work from a central platform.

Easy to Share

This is perhaps the most critical part of the collaboration process. Sharing processes sometimes create bottlenecks of reviews and approvals stalling the workflow. Requesting feedback, approvals, and signatures can be automated in an effective workspace, making the project flow more easily, saving time and frustration for the team, and helping meet project deadlines. Some activities you can automate in an effective workflow include:

  • Send for approval or feedback: As soon as a task is completed, request approval or feedback from the task itself.
  • Email within the workspace: A big part of collaboration is communicating easily with teammates. Within an effective workspace, team members can send emails and instant messages and set up and carry on meetings without having to step outside the workspace. Citrix Workspace integrates email and messaging applications seamlessly, ensuring all communications are done inside a secure workspace.
  • Share a link: Sharing content with outside stakeholders creates a security risk when done from different sources. By working in a unified workspace, the team can ensure role permissions are applied when sharing links with clients or contractors.

Benefits of a Collaborative Workspace

Working remotely has become the new normal for many companies in recent years. It has proven an effective strategy for reducing costs and ensuring business continuity. Most companies today collaborate online in one way or another, using shared project management, content creation, or chat applications. The benefits of working in a collaborative virtual workspace, however, are much wider:

Enables maintaining a hybrid workforce

Flexibility is critical for survival in the current market climate. Many businesses have teams consisting of employees working remotely and in-office staff. These hybrid teams need to keep track and collaborate on projects regardless of different systems, devices, and physical locations.

Without a unified workspace, it can be difficult to keep business processes running smoothly. Arrangements for hybrid staff are often dynamic, changing from week to week for personal reasons, or due to lockdowns or the worker’s schedule. A virtual collaborative workspace allows hybrid teams to work on the same projects from anywhere. It also makes it easier for employees who switch back and forth to keep tabs on the work.

Increases security against internal and external threats

Virtual collaboration may increase the risk of internal threats when not carried on in a secured workspace. Workspaces like Citrix use the zero-trust security model to protect users from threats on BYO devices, data, resources, and files. Unified workspaces set security practices such as single sign-on to SaaS, documents, and web apps. Other practices may involve permission access rules and the principle of least privilege (granting users access only to resources they require). This applies not only to internal processes but also allows outside stakeholders to connect and collaborate securely.

Comprehensive application delivery

With virtual apps and a virtualized desktop, employees can work on a project from anywhere, across various devices, and using any type of connection. Sometimes, new members of a team need access to new apps to work on a specific project. A collaborative workspace is ideal to quickly provide new apps and desktops with no security concerns. This allows you to scale your activities, control access, and provide a great user experience for your employees without compromising security.

Achieve business continuity with remote work

In these uncertain times, companies need teams to stay connected and continue business activities as much as possible. When meeting physically is not an option, a well-defined collaborative workspace helps teams continue operations. Business can continue regardless of where the employees are working from, lockdowns, or extreme weather conditions.

Increased employee engagement 

People who work remotely often report a higher satisfaction level from their jobs and a better work-life balance. As a result, companies that employ remote workers have higher employee retention. In addition, virtual workspaces provide a way to communicate and share things internally—like internal social media. This fosters company culture, especially for remote employees that may feel isolated from company events and news. 

Saves time and costs

Virtual workspaces lower infrastructure costs by reducing occupancy, utility, and office expenses. Companies can save approximately $25,000 per employee in productivity over three years for each employee that works remotely. A centralized virtual workspace also prevents delays and miscommunication due to employees using different workspaces.

Streamlined workflows

Companies without a unified workspace usually rely on email for communication. This generates security issues and problems such as documents getting lost. A centralized, virtualized interface allows employees to store, work on, and transfer project information and documents.

A collaborative workspace automates repetitive tasks, standardizing and streamlining workflows. This eliminates the emails and chat messages requesting access, feedback, and approvals. Instead, once a user logs in into the system, they can access all apps, projects, and documents they need. Approvals and feedback are sent automatically through the workflow.

Increased productivity

With more companies geographically distributed, a team spread across different time zones can be more productive when working in a unified collaborative workspace. Employees can use virtual communication and instant messages as though they are in the same office. Video conferencing allows for team meetings; for instance, there could be weekly meetings on a set time slot that works for team members in India, Europe, and the US. This ensures the project goes faster and smoother.

How Citrix Workspace Can Help Your Team Collaborate

Citrix Workspace is a complete solution for your teams to access, collaborate, and share. Through a centralized interface, users can connect to data, apps, desktops from anywhere, on any device. Once signed in, you can access all apps, see the latest project your team is working on, and continue collaborating.

Citrix Workspace implements security practices such as single sign-on and permission controls to keep data, identities, and processes secure from internal and external threats. This allows workers to share and collaborate securely with outside stakeholders, such as clients and contractors. By automating tasks and processes, companies can save time and improve workflows.

Citrix Workspace is designed to improve collaboration and productivity with an easy-to-use, intuitive platform. Learn how you can streamline workflows and processes, access, share and collaborate from anywhere with a single solution—Citrix Workspace.

Additional resources: