Are you ready for these 3 collaboration trends?

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Do you know someone who regularly changes employers, has overhauled their office tech suite, or taken the leap into the world of freelancing? Chances are you do. It’s even likely that person is you!

We are all a part of sculpting the future of work. These changes reflect shifting attitudes around the notion of ‘work’, which today is increasingly about creating work-life balance, exploring all of our interests, fuelling our passions, and having a positive impact on the environment around us. It’s also about self-belief and a conviction that flexible working, the gig economy and portfolio careers are trends that will continue to develop and grow, along with our knowledge. And, it’s introducing phenomenal changes to the way we work together.

While humans are incredibly adaptive and innovative, it takes foresight and a progressive attitude to keep up with these advancements. So how are you evolving with the future of work? And how do you continue to connect and collaborate with people and businesses?

Here, we take a look at three ways in which human collaborations are developing and strengthening, thanks to growing innovation in technology, and how you can harness these approaches to help enhance your own collaboration with others.

AI: people get ready

From Hyperloops to HR assistants, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has life-changing implications for people in the workplace, across the globe. Slowly but surely, businesses are adopting technologies that free people from menial or time consuming tasks, so they can focus their energy on more strategic practices, and bigger-picture thinking.

For example, two autonomously guided FAUB (Fuselage Automated Upright Build) robots help Boeing install 60,000 rivets into each plane’s fuselage, accurately working alongside aircraft assemblers. “Intelligent assistants” like Amazon Echo’s Alexa and Loka’s Jane, are helping assist people in their daily lives – the first acting as an at-home PA (checking the weather, or doing online shopping), and the latter as an HR assistant – answering questions and proactively reminding people of their workplace benefits.

These technological advances are set to boost productivity, create new jobs, and lead to an increasingly educated population. Whether you’re an employer, employee, contractor or freelancer, the opportunity and responsibility lies with you: learn about the beneficial applications of these evolving technologies. Only then can you discover ways they can enhance your performance and positively impact your work-life balance

Crowdsourcing: it works both ways

At EY, we believe anyone can have great ideas. The important thing is being able to share them with the right people. 

Our research suggests that over 100 companies from the Fortune 500 rely on crowdsourcing, and that crowdsourced innovation produces 65% more actionable ideas. In practice, it means defining your goals and creating the space to develop connections with people – across borders, cultures, and even industries. You may be familiar with ‘Have your say’ emails which look to gather new employee ideas on an old business direction or new client hit-list, but there are other ways to source innovation from around your business.

At EY, we make use of a variety of tools and methods to help multi-dimensional teams come together. An example is by using Yammer, a private social network that helps people share information, work collaboratively, build relationships and source answers from EY people around the globe. We have also developed a global knowledge portal called Discover which offers our 230,000 employees worldwide access to 100,000 go-to-market and client service materials, sector perspectives and external publications. It also allows our people to create personalised profiles to highlight their own skills so that they can be easily found to provide input into projects calling for their expertise.

As a contractor or freelancer in the gig economy, crowdsourcing should be a standardised practice. How often do you share your work and ideas on websites like Behance, or even LinkedIn? How often do you use social media platforms to advertise your skillset? Whether formal or informal, all online exposure can work to your benefit.

Rethink your physical workplace

Working remotely – whether that means taking your laptop home, or working from a clients’ offices - has given us exceptional freedom to re-shape our work methods. Although sometimes the ‘disruption’ brings challenges to our practice, such as correctly interpreting the tone of a message, (see our Emotional Intelligence article for more on this), the advantages are becoming more apparent.

EY’s digital hub, EYX, set out to prove exactly how businesses and individuals can make the most of this new type of disruption, and support innovation. By setting up in a co-working space for creatives and businesses in East London, we sought to cross-pollinate ideas with creatives, innovators and entrepreneurs whose work we’d likely never come across while based in our private offices. Not only is our business breaking new ground by working with start-ups in such an open environment, we’re also amazed at the fast pace at which new technologies have been developed, and applied.

With collaborative workspaces popping up all over the world, the potential for individuals, and also businesses, to harness the energy and innovation in these places is inspiring. So try to imagine how this disruptive environment can be applied to benefit your business. Then start making the connections, whether mental, social or educational, that will open your work up to new relationships and opportunities.

Two worlds are your oyster

There are two worlds of future work opportunities ready to be explored by businesses and individuals. Apart from real-world connections, there’s an entire online world that you can utilise. As long as you’re sensitive to geographical and cultural differences, and how your skills can fit in with them, all that’s stopping you from making the most of them is a wifi connection. Our final tips would be: define your ideas, share them in the right places, and be sure to pay your internet bill on time!