Digital workplace
5 min read
22 August 2023

Online collaboration on documents, everywhere: efficient, safe and even fun as well

Kelly van der Horst
online collaboration

The time of endlessly sending Microsoft Word, PowerPoint or Excel files back and forth is over. Online collaboration on documents is the way to work with multiple colleagues at the same time and make real-time adjustments. Efficient, safe and fun too. In this blog, we’ll list the benefits of and tips on collaborating in and sharing documents.

Collaboration in the cloud

A familiar problem from the past: which version of the document that you and your colleagues were working on was the right one? Stress, hassle. Luckily, this is in the past, thanks to collaboration in the cloud with tools that make sharing documents and collaborating easy, such as several applications in Office 365 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, SharePoint, Teams) and Google Drive. It’s appears just as simple as it actually is: you type a note or revision in the document, and your colleagues who have the document opened as well – not through an attachment, but through a safe link – see the change happen in real-time and can instantly respond to it.

Collaborating on documents, always and everywhere

The benefits of working on documents at the same time are plenty. You and your colleagues can quickly and interactively communicate; misconceptions are swiftly eliminated. Collaborating online has never been so easy. And perhaps most importantly: there is one version, one “truth document” that everyone – at the same time or not – works on. Forget the time of versions 1a, 1b and 1c, of failed merges and double work.

Sharing documents and collaborating in the cloud is the solution. A big benefit is also that you always have access to the version of the document with the most recent edits. Even if your system temporarily stops. The nightmare of the past, that you had to start all over again if your computer froze and you hadn’t saved your edits, is no more.

One Document App in Workspace 365

So it’s not surprising that online collaboration on documents is on the rise. More and more organisations have discovered the value and wouldn’t want it any other way now. And we agree with them. Moreover, we facilitate this form of collaboration with the digital workspace we provide. After all, an important aspect of it is a user-friendly document management system (DMS), that enables your document flow to be efficient and organised.

Within Workspace 365, you’ll find all your documents, whether they’re saved on the file server or in Office 365 applications, such as SharePoint, OneDrive or Teams, in one document app – and thanks to recognisable icons they all look the same too. Central, clear and available on any device.

The document app doesn’t just look simple, it is. Skilled in IT or not: every user can find his or her way. So when it comes to working in and with documents, Workspace 365 is your starting point as well. Log in and you have your dashboard with all your documents on it, ready to go. You can immediately start working, alone or together with colleagues. Anytime, anyplace, anywhere.

Five tips for collaborating on documents

1. Facilitate collaboration on documents as an organisation

Does your organisation not collaborate online yet? Get a solution to do so. Because oftentimes, in a situation like this, you see employees deciding themselves to share cloud documents and working together on them. For this, they use applications such as Dropbox or Google Drive, that aren’t managed by the internal organisation. So what if one of those employees resigns? The possibility exists that you’ve lost all his or her files. Furthermore, it’s a potential security leak. So choose a solution and customise it for your organisation.

2. Apply a clear structure

Can you apply the same structure you’re working with now to online collaboration? Or does your organisation have to shift to a more project-based way of working, for instance by using Teams, due to which you have to adjust the hierarchy and arrangement of documents? When you still often need your old documents as well, the Workspace 365 document app is a helpful solution. Because in it, you can also integrate your file server. All your documents, old or new, in one document management system.

3. Create clear instructions on how to work with documents

Imagine you’ve acquired Office 365 for easier collaboration. You can’t just assume that employees instantly know how it works and what the benefits are. End users first need to master this new way of working. You can, for example, share an instruction video, in which is explained why from now on you share documents through a link and no longer as an attachment, and let people know where to save documents.

4. Sharing documents as an attachment is outdated

Always share documents as a link, instead of as an attachment. Then you can always disable the link. And if you make any adjustments, it’s instantly visible to your colleagues. This way, you prevent any old versions of documents floating around.

5. Use the functionalities within the Microsoft package

Make use of all collaboration feature within Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Place notes on text with the official review-function within Microsoft Word, so that it doesn’t accidentally stays in the text itself. Enable Track Changes to show where you’ve adjusted the text. Discover, learn and apply!

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