Everyone with a smartphone is familiar with the ping of notifications from various group chats. These groups help us stay on top of family plans, friendships and clubs – so why not use them in the workplace to help team collaboration?

Generation Y is helping drive the technological advances in and out of the office – 93% of them say the latest technology is important in choosing an employer. [1] Using the familiar technology from their personal lives can have immediate productivity boons for people and organisations.

In recent times, enterprise tools have been lagging behind the apps available to consumers. But SaaS products are fighting back. Platforms such as Workplace with tools and features such as groups, for example.

Groups enable people to share feedback and post updates and can help improve team collaboration. But what's the etiquette of using groups to create, connect and collaborate effectively?

Do consider the security implications

Do consider the security implications

Shadow IT is a thing. And it can have security consequences for your organisation. CIOs and IT teams are becoming increasingly aware of the security threats using consumer apps can bring.

This makes platforms such as Workplace particularly attractive because it's secure, it's enterprise-ready out of the box and it comes with specific controls to help admins manage their online communities.

That it also contains tools such as chat and group functions that can turbo-charge comms and collaboration is an added bonus.

Don't go off message

Don't go off message

Workplace groups are a great and simple platform for sharing information. And you have complete control over the type of group you set up. They can be open, closed or secret so you can set clear expectations of the types of content for any given group.

Teams gather in project groups that are typically secret or closed. Here you can exchange files and collaborate on shared documents via your preferred integration such as Box or Sharepoint.

Open groups are often for announcements and are social spaces for people to share all sorts of updates and information. But whether it's a decision about a project or details about the work summer bash, make sure that the chat stays relevant to all members.

If you'd like to discuss something between two specific people, consider swapping to chat or your one-to-one group. This will save your coworkers from distractions and notifications that aren't relevant to them.

Do encourage the difficult conversations

Do encourage the difficult conversations

The chats that happen in groups stimulate wider conversations. They're also open forums where differences of opinion will undoubtedly arise from time to time.

Embrace this. Use it as a forum to discuss organisational challenges. Encourage senior members of the team to address issues or concerns in public. It's a transparent and effective way to move the company conversation forwards.

But also be aware of when is the right time to take things out of the group and solve them in a different forum.

Don't add to the noise

Don't add to the noise

Groups enable people to get work done fast. They're the perfect place to collect sign-off on your work with the simplest of 'thumbs up'.

They also help the workflow. Drop your version of a document into the group and ask for feedback. Your coworkers in another time zone will pick it up when they come online and do their bit.

The group becomes an ongoing and constantly updated timeline of the entire project which helps new starters or project members get up to speed fast.

You should always remain mindful of notification overload. Workplace groups and News Feed help reduce the noise. News Feed uses machine learning to surface the important messages from your groups.

You can change the notification settings to suit your needs, and if another group member tags you in a group chat, you'll always receive the notification.

Do collaborate with external partners, suppliers and customers

Do collaborate with external partners, suppliers and customers

And finally, multi-company groups (MCG) give you all the same group features to use securely with external teams. File sharing and threaded comments mean you rely less on hard-to-locate email threads – and the MCG becomes the single source of collaboration and communication between people in your respective organisations.

Enterprise tools are catching up and enabling organisations to build and manage powerful online communities. Using these new technologies to collaborate is far easier today than ever before. And that's good news for everyone.

[1] Survey reveals four secrets to success for attracting and retaining millennial talent, CBI
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