It can often seem like online collaboration tools are the exclusive domain of the office-based information worker. After all, at-home employees sharing docs, editing spreadsheets, talking on chat apps, and jumping on Zoom calls are the face of online collaboration. Frontline workers don’t seem to be part of the picture.
But to believe that story, you’d have to forget that there are over 30,000,000 frontline workers in the United States alone. And you’d have to ignore that online collaboration is ideal for frontline workers.
Smart, forward-thinking businesses with frontline workforces know the answer to what is online collaboration? doesn’t just revolve around deskbound employees. Digital communication technology is a powerful way to bring frontline workers together, across companies and around the globe.
What is Online Collaboration? A Frontline Definition
When you think of online collaboration, you might think of multiplayer video games where strangers meet in a virtual world to go on a quest toward a specific goal. To achieve that goal, the players have to collaborate and overcome challenges, often without ever being in the same room.
This example isn’t as far off as it seems.
A frontline workplace is usually a group of strangers who come together to solve challenges every single day. Whether in hospitality, manufacturing, or retail, they have to get the information they need to solve complex problems on the fly, and they have to rely on each other to do it.
Online collaboration uses digital technology to bring workers together. Innovative collaboration tools allow workers to communicate and share, no matter where they are.
The best online collaboration platforms offer the following:
- The ability to easily access and share documents, videos, and images
- An instant notification tool
- Multilateral communication, including chat and messaging functionality
You might be saying to yourself, ok, but how does this work for frontline employees? After all, they generally don’t have corporate email addresses and aren’t parked in front of a laptop all day. That’s where a mobile-first frontline operating system comes in. With a frontline-optimized platform, it can all happen via smartphone.
How Online Collaboration Gets Your Teams on the Same Page
Here’s the thing about online collaboration: it isn’t a nicety. It’s an imperative. As frontline-majority businesses face a severe labor shortage, anything you can do to make work more productive, less frustrating, and more personally fulfilling boosts retention. Online collaboration makes it happen.
We estimate that frontline workers spend up to four hours a week searching for information they need to do their jobs. That’s a significant chunk of time, and there is not a single employee who would describe that as a fun, fulfilling part of their job.
Having a place where everyone can easily find and access the information they need increases productivity and boosts morale.
Frontline workers can often become isolated in their roles. They’re dealing with a machine or a customer usually by themselves. And their managers are extremely busy.
But mobile-first collaboration tools that encourage multilateral communication allow workers to ask questions, share advice, and troubleshoot problems. It reminds workers that they aren’t alone: they’re part of a team.
According to our 2022 Frontline Trends Report, workers have to use a lot of tools just to get through the day.
Some of these include:
- Whatsapp or other SMS
- Paystub apps
- Scheduling apps
- Time-off request apps
That’s a lot to keep track of and often makes it frustrating to do even the simplest tasks. Integrating all applications into one platform reduces confusion and makes life easier for everyone involved.
Not everyone needs to feel passion for their job, but they do need to feel that they are appreciated and have some control over their lives. Online collaboration technology gives everyone the tools they need to succeed.
- Managers don’t have to waste so much time on paperwork and can focus on supporting employees
- Workers have the knowledge they need to make smart choices
- New hires have the training to hit the ground running
In short, no one has to be worried about making the wrong decision, because they have the information they need to make the right one.
Beekeeper Brings Teams Together
Connection. Convenience. Confidence. Those are what every frontline manager and worker needs, and that’s what frontline businesses need to deliver.
Beekeeper makes online collaboration easy. Our innovative frontline operating system works on virtually any mobile device. With Beekeeper, workers can get the information they need, finish the paperwork they have to do, and share and receive messages through a single platform.
Frontline employees want to be part of a team. They want to be on the same page. Beekeeper makes it happen.
Download our How to Choose the Best Team Collaboration Software eBook to learn more about how to make the most of online collaboration, or request a demo to get started today.