Product Tips

The global rise of flexible collaboration


Published on July 19, 2016

The cloud has changed the workplace for the better. Cloud-based, real-time collaboration tools enable flexible working situations. Together, they enable companies to compete in this fast-changing world. But the reason is not the technology—it’s what the technology allows people to do.

When people can take control of their workflows and work with each other as they choose, they are happier and ultimately more productive. Our recent Collective Creativity study, conducted by Ipsos MORI, concluded that people are happier and feel more creative when they work in flexible and collaborative ways. Making people happy has not traditionally been top of mind for many CIOs, but empowering people to add value to the company certainly should be.

What companies need

I am always talking to our customers to learn about their needs and what’s working for them. From these conversations it’s clear that our research identified a trend in the workplace. "I could not agree more with these survey results,” says Pierre-Olivier Sicamois, CIO of media company Lagardère Active, in France. “I am seeing firsthand the benefits of allowing employees to work flexibly and giving them the collaboration tools that enable them to work wherever they are. After we deployed Dropbox in 2015, we saw an immediate increase in collaboration and better teamwork between our employees.” And he saw that the company’s people were happier.

Flexible collaboration also helps the bottom line by saving people time. “We used to have so many steps for sharing and collaborating on files,” says Paul Waters, Director of IT at architectural services firm, BNIM, in Kansas City. “We have eliminated those steps, so our workflow is much more efficient.” This efficiency also helps our customers improve the service they deliver to their own customers. “With Dropbox Business, our team members can collaborate more easily with each other and clients, “ says Jeroen de Jong, director of Dutch e-commerce agency De Nieuwe Zaak. “That helps us provide a better experience for clients that keeps them happy and helps make sure they stay customers.”

Happy employees make happy customers, and happy customers make successful businesses. Another way to keep your people happy is to increase the flexibility of their working arrangements. “We want Stylerunner to be an environment where people feel rewarded and satisfied doing their jobs—and that means having resources that allow them to work productively,” says CEO Julie Stevanja of the Sydney-based activewear retailer. “Dropbox Business helps us deliver on that by allowing our people to work remotely and without interruption when they’re in the office.”

How technology helps

Our research also shows that the people who are working in these new ways express the most enthusiasm for how technology can help them do it even better. They’re significantly more convinced that technology and collaboration tools will help them generate new business, focus on innovation, and find more creative solutions. These positive attitudes indicate that collaboration platforms like Dropbox not only make businesses more efficient, but also help them create new products and opportunities.

Happiness, creativity, and productivity are the three themes that keep coming up with our customers. This is the kind of workplace that we want to help create. It doesn’t matter where you are, or how big or small your company. Your people and your business can benefit from becoming more flexible and collaborative. Dropbox can help.

Collective creativity infographic