The power of collaboration in the workplace


A collaborative organization is something every business wants to achieve, so how do you improve collaboration in the workplace?

CREDIT: This is an edited version of an article that originally appeared on Work Life

Collaboration. It’s a word we hear a lot in the context of work – collaboration skills, collaborative workspaces, and, in recent times especially, online collaboration tools

Collaborative working is where individuals share their skills to reach a common goal. Usually, a special team of individuals from different departments is brought together to work on a project or task because their skills work well together.

There are plenty of reasons why collaboration is important in the workplace. Collaborative working is proven to be a seriously efficient way of getting tasks done quickly and more effectively. It’s not all about the desired output; team members can inspire and motivate each other and share their skills, which can help boost employee engagement.

How to encourage collaboration in the workplace using online collaboration tools

Online collaboration tools are web applications that are used to make collaboration easier. They are not a new thing – collaboration tools have been in use for years – however, since the shift to full-time remote working during the pandemic, organizations have relied more on virtual tools to build collaboration in the workplace.

Online collaboration enables employees to work together and stay organized wherever they work. These tools can be central to ensuring that projects stay on track. Some examples of online collaboration tools include:

  • Slack: the ultimate online workspace for collaboration. We use Slack to send direct messages to our team, share files and make video calls.
  • Asana: great for project management, Asana allows our team to track progress, set deadlines, and set reminders for upcoming deadlines.
  • Trello: we use Trello for both personal organization and team collaboration by creating boards and sub-tasks, which can be assigned to the relevant team member.

How to build collaboration in the workplace with collaborative workspaces

A collaborative workspace is one where design, layout, and general work environment are built for cooperation. The objective is to bring team members together by creating an environment that encourages socializing, meetings, and productivity.

As more and more organizations are recognizing the benefits of collaborative workspaces, and are interested in having a collaborative work environment themselves, modern workspace designs are leaning towards open collaborative settings. Co-working spaces are purposely built with collaboration in mind, with many features to help facilitate it – such as collaboration spaces in offices and meeting rooms equipped with collaborative technology.

The rise of the collaborative workspace isn’t brand new. In recent years, businesses in many different industries have recognized the power of collaboration for creating innovation, improving team relationships, and helping their teams work more efficiently. Building a collaborative workplace is high on the agendas of many organizations, impacting how they set up and use their workspace, their organizational structure, and even hiring goals.

How to improve communication and collaboration in the workplace through company culture

For collaboration to work, it needs to be embedded in the organization. Collaboration shouldn’t just occur if someone initiates it, ad hoc, on a specific project; collaborative workplace culture is one where collaboration is consistent, deliberate, and implemented into every process. Working in collaboration should become a constant for employees. Online collaboration tools and a collaborative workspace can help businesses build a collaborative culture.

Successful collaboration in the workplace can be measured by output. Are tasks getting done more quickly, and to a better standard? With workplace collaboration, efficiency should be directly impacted.

Successful collaboration at work can also be measured by employee satisfaction. If your staff are more motivated, feel more valued, and are learning from each other, it’s a clear sign that it’s working within your organization. Try running an employee engagement survey to find out whether your team is more engaged through collaborative working.

What is the difference between teamwork and collaboration in the workplace?

These two terms are often used interchangeably, but there’s a key difference! Teamwork tends to refer to a group of individuals functioning as a team – often from the same department.

Collaboration is more likely to be team members from different departments working together towards the same goal, who will be able to learn new skills from each other. The end result may be more creative, as the team working on the project are from a more diverse array of backgrounds. Combining skills and knowledge from very different individuals produces the best collaboration!

Encouraging collaboration in the workplace is a goal for many organizations but knowing how to improve workplace collaboration is where it gets a bit more tricky. It is important to define your purpose and embed collaboration into every project and process so that it becomes second nature!

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