Virtual Collaboration Still Matters in 2021 — Here’s Why

Emily Engle August 9, 2021 3 min read
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If 2020 and 2021 have taught us anything, it’s that humans are resilient. The way we once did things in workplaces, homes, and public spaces worldwide suddenly changed. Although things have slowly begun to move back toward the way we once existed, we’re left with a noticeable shift in other areas. For one, as 2021 advances, it’s clear that virtual collaboration isn’t going anywhere. For many industries, it’s even opening up new doors. 

What 2020 Taught Us About Virtual Collaboration 

Perhaps you learned a new hobby in 2020. Plenty of us developed new hobbies or returned to old ones as the world collectively embraced the time to finally break out dusty Raspberry Pis and start fresh sourdough starters.

Additionally, though we’d always suspected we might be able to make it work before, we were suddenly thrust into virtual collaboration, even if we lived next door to one another. After a week and then a month, many companies talked about closing up permanent office locations altogether. When push came to shove, it turned out that employees could work together from anywhere.

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Uncovering Issues

Of course, nothing reveals the problems in a system more quickly than many people relying on the system. When the COVID-19 pandemic forced people to work from their homes, employees who might otherwise speak to one another within a cubicle were asked to share information across virtual platforms. Some companies used existing frameworks, and some were forced to choose collaboration software quickly out of necessity. Well into 2021, companies may still be experimenting with the right software for their permanently remote teams, which have likely grown (and perhaps even grown further apart) in the pandemic. 

What Makes a Good Tool For Virtual Collaboration? 

As remote workplaces grew, many companies felt growing pains quite acutely during 2020. Cloud-based tools that allowed real-time collaboration through file sharing and communication quickly proved themselves valuable in all industries. Better still were those tools that allowed users to see changes, notified members when there were things to view, and operated intuitively. While the tool doesn’t make the team, it provides an easy way for group members to interact, no matter their time zone or location on the globe. Good tools pave the way for great teams to excel, no matter the project. 

The Advantage of Virtual Collaboration at Work

While meeting with a group of like-minded professionals in person is satisfying, it isn’t always possible — due to a global pandemic, for example. Virtual workspaces replicate the personal and professional environments in which teams thrive and come with several advantages. 

Virtual work allows companies to hire the best people for the job, no matter their state or country. The right tools overcome differences in time zones while maintaining constant communication and an environment of collaboration. Similarly, virtual workplaces allow for additional opportunities for people who live in small places that don’t often employ people in their industry and provide companies in small towns with limited labor markets with a wealth of employees. 

Virtual workplaces are typically more cost-effective as well since they eliminate the need for large office spaces. They tend to increase employee productivity since they limit distractions and provide flexible hours for employees, leading to higher employee retention rates and overall job applicants. 

When companies focus on developing an effective virtual workplace, they pandemic-proof themselves to protect against other economic fluctuations and potential labor shortages. 

The Bottom Line

Over the past two or so years, we’ve seen a rise in virtual workspaces utilizing the best tools. The renewed demand for better online workspaces has given rise to several tools, and Autodesk remains committed to offering virtual spaces for collaboration that exceed expectations and create a productive, easy-to-use environment for all your needs. Check out Fusion 360 to learn more about how cloud-based CAD/CAM software can enable designers and engineers to get their jobs done from anywhere in the world.

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