Studies show neurons react differently to same stimuli

Research from the team at Nature Communications has revealed our neurons fire differently, even if we are looking at the same object. “Neural activity changes when your attention is focused on an object or when your attention is split,” says George Denfield, who is studying in the Medical Scientist Training Programme. The results could spell big changes for collaboration tools as we begin to understand more about how to get the best from our focus.  

We can ‘train our brains’ to increase attention spans

In an age where we are constantly bombarded by notifications, it can be difficult to focus on one task. In addition, chronic sleep deficiency and a reliance on caffeine are making the problem worse. Thankfully, scientists have come up with ways to ignore these distractions. For tedious tasks, we can ‘reward’ ourselves by committing to one thing for five minutes, while we should also switch off mobile phones and consider white noise devices to block out exterior influences

Holographics: the next step in collaboration?

Investors are turning their attentions towards the next technological development in collaboration. The team at Spatial are now pushing virtual reality collaboration, whereby lifelike avatars replace the need for traditional video conferencing. Users simply connect by VR headset and do not have to commit to one device as the hardware is described as ‘device agnostic’. “Last year we saw a strong demand to collaborate in AR/VR from more than 25% of the Fortune 1,000,” says Spatial CEO Anand Agarawala.

Visual collaboration software set for huge growth

A new report has revealed that visual collaboration platform software will skyrocket in popularity by 2027. In particular, the software will have a landmark effect on the manufacturing industry, and its reach will go as far APAC, Europe, MEA, North and South America. The Global Visual Collaboration Platforms Software Market Research Report 2020-2027 is out now.

Remote working has “given us more access to better talent”

By removing the borders of office-only working, we have “opened up the talent pool”, say experts at the Financial Times. The new shift in modern work has given employers more opportunities to work with parents, caregivers, military spouses and those with physical mobility issues, offering a more inclusive workplace. Darren Murph, Head of Remote at GitLab, said: “We find that our 1,200 all-remote staff worldwide are more productive and happier at home, rather than, say, being stuck in a car or train commuting.”

What’s your communication style?

Emotional intelligence is the key to good communications, and ultimately, better productivity, says Fast Company. One of the key challenges for collaborators, particularly those who work remotely, is that digital advancements have changed the way we communicate. “Every word and nuance has the potential for misinterpretation,” says Jack Modzelewski, author of Talk is Chief: Leadership, Communication, and Credibility in a High-Stakes World. Finding your communication style involves skipping jargon, repeating the message and being yourself, says Modzelewski.

The battle of data versus communication for decision-making

The age of Big Data is having a huge effect on the way we make decisions, particularly among remote collaborative teams. Companies need to strike the balance between a data-driven approach and an ethical exchange of ideas, leveraging AI where appropriate. According to the Harvard Business Review, we should make use of databases and distributed file systems to process the large amounts of data at our disposal – only then can our own human intuition and cognitive biases intervene.

Identifying the communication stumbling blocks in your business

Entrepreneurs have revealed their bugbears when it comes to communication, says Business Matters. Looking at eight key problems, the research revealed that being connected 24/7 was causing too many distractions. Likewise, lack of conciseness, using the wrong channels and addressing everybody in the same way all ranked as the biggest no-nos. Listening issues and making assumptions both led to errors, while not being direct and not setting expectations all caused communication breakdowns.

Collaborate to facilitate digital transformation in 2020

Digital transformation is here to stay, but we need to collaborate to make it work. According to the team at Gartner, 50 per cent of organisations will experience increased collaboration between their business and IT teams over the next two years. Keith Mann, senior research director at Gartner, says: “Business units and IT teams can no longer function in silos, as distant teams can cause chaos.” Organisations must now unite over a common goal to make the most of digital tools at their disposal.

Remote work the hallmark of disruptive companies

Investors are becoming increasingly interested in remote companies. Having overcome the initial challenges of governance, internal controls and productivity, investors are now coming round to the idea. This is underpinned by a CNBC study revealing that 70 per cent of the workforce works remotely as least one day a week.