According to a recent Oxford University study, collaborative teams are 13% more productive when they feel happy and work towards a common goal. Unfortunately, despite the known advantages of efficient teamwork, managers rarely dedicate enough time to developing productive collaboration strategies.
Another study from Salesforce confirmed this fact. Out of 900 U.S.-based knowledge workers surveyed, 76% believe that collaboration directly impacts different aspects of company culture. Establishing a collaborative work environment is no easy feat. However, merging cooperative values into an organization’s ethos requires a consistent effort from every participant.
In this blog, we’ll explore the five key team collaboration strategies to provide you with a head-start in maintaining productive team collaboration. But first, let’s define exactly what collaboration in the workplace is.
What is Collaboration in the Workplace?
First, let’s start with a collaboration definition. Generally speaking, collaboration in the workplace is the process of two or more people, entities, or organizations working together to complete a task or achieve a goal. Team collaboration can be defined as individuals at different levels from various parts of an organization working together to complete a specific task or project.
Collaboration is more than just sharing the workload. It is a perfect way of aligning individuals to achieve something they’re unable to do independently. Teamwork uses several skill sets, resources, experience, and points of view to accomplish bigger goals and make an impact. Moreover, it can spark creativity and invention while also facilitating better decision-making.
A collaborative workplace allows teams to pool resources, communicate effectively, and get more work done by eliminating rework. Also, as communication is improved throughout the organization, teams become more aligned and work in harmony.
Types of Collaboration to Use in Your Digital Workplace
Here are some typical types of collaboration in organizations:
- Team Collaboration
Team collaboration is one of the oldest types of collaboration techniques used to enhance workplace efficiency. Collaboration in a team works well when teammates are familiar with each other’s expertise and come together to contribute to a larger goal. This type of collaboration sets strict deadlines, and significant achievements are acknowledged. In big organizations, a team manager or leader is responsible for maintaining efficient collaboration and boosting employee morale within the team.
For effective team collaboration, businesses can leverage a quality CRM software to store customer and prospect data, look for sales opportunities, manage service requests, and handle marketing campaigns in a single place. All team members can access customer data and interactions using a CRM for ease of use.
- Cross-functional Collaboration
Cross-functional collaboration usually happens when teams from different departments work on a common goal. This occurs more frequently than you might realize, and businesses that get this right often achieve better results than their competition. A truly digital workplace improves the likelihood of cross-functional collaboration by providing different workplace efficiency tools and other capabilities to make it work.
- Contextual Collaboration
Contextual collaboration entails the integration of collaborative applications into an enterprise platform. Employees are empowered with the capability of instantly switching to a collaborative application when required. By means of contextual collaboration, the entire organization can access business-critical data on a single platform. As a result, you can improve team efficiency and productivity.
- Social Collaboration
It’s crucial for employees to be able to connect with other colleagues or departments within the organization using a collaborative platform. Social collaboration ensures that teams can find a solution quickly using their collective effort rather than relying on their experience and skill set.
- Cloud Collaboration
Cloud collaboration enables multiple users that can access, read, edit, and eSign documents on the go. As documents are stored in the cloud, all users with access can view and edit the latest version of a document. Cloud collaboration can be used in companies where teams are required to collaborate virtually, like a business with one or more office locations.
pdfFiller is a cloud-based document management and collaboration tool for teams and businesses of all sizes. By using this cloud-based software, users can edit PDF documents in real time. It doesn’t have the same limitations as a conventional PDF editor and can easily accommodate collaboration on larger files.
The Key Benefits of Collaboration in the Workplace
- Improved Problem-solving and Innovation
The number one advantage of a collaborative workplace is better problem-solving and innovation. According to Frost & Sullivan, companies that collaborate are 30% more innovative and at least 36% more productive than those that don’t promote team collaboration. It becomes easier to find solutions with team members contributing their diverse expertise. This way, teams can work better and create innovative solutions as a group rather than people working separately. On top of that, a constant flow of information about the course of the shared work and any potential challenges can actually improve the quality of communication and result in a faster response to new developments.
- Improved Employee Output
As the research above suggests, happy and driven individuals work better and produce astonishing results. Workplace collaboration allows individuals to feel connected to one another. Hence they are driven to work together to achieve a common objective. Working in a team on a complex project can seriously enhance employee output. According to Zippia, employees working collaboratively are 64% more likely to stick to their assigned tasks than their solitary peers. This shows how the notion of working as a team makes you more inspired to do your best work while addressing challenges.
- Better Business Resilience and Adaptability
Collaboration has the power to enhance business resilience and adaptability in the face of challenges and stress factors. When different teams collaborate on a particular project, everyone works together as the industry learns to adapt to evolving business needs. Moreover, collaboration and teamwork are the cornerstones of a flexible and consistent work environment.
- Competent Remote Teams
In the post-COVID world, there are a number of advantages to allowing employees to work remotely. However, working from home can leave employees feeling isolated from their colleagues. A collaborative work environment enables employees to fulfill their roles to the best of their abilities. Also, digital collaboration tools make it easier for remote employees to participate diligently. In fact, employees who collaborate on the job using digital collaboration tools are 17% more satisfied with their job and workplace culture.
- Positive Impact on the Bottom Line
According to a survey by The Economist Intelligence Unit, poor teamwork can result in lost sales valued between $100,000 and $999,999. If you add together everything mentioned above, it is clear how each of these components aligns to increase profitability for your organization. For example, effective collaboration in the workplace leads to increased innovation, flexibility, better employee output, and more competent remote teams, and all these factors lead to great results and increased profitability.
Top 5 Effective Collaboration Strategies for the Workplace
And now, let’s discuss the key collaboration strategies that every business can leverage.
1. Promote Effective Communication
It is crucial to set your expectations for collaboration from the beginning. If your team doesn’t know that you want them to work as a team, you can’t expect them to do so. It is best to make team collaboration a part of your employee onboarding process, so employees know that your organization prioritizes collaboration. The job description must include details about both the employee roles and the collaborative roles they are expected to fulfill. Communicating these points effectively allows you to establish clear boundaries when new employees join the company.
2. Create a Sense of Community
A feeling of community is essential for a collaborative work environment as it improves employee retention rates. When individuals feel heard, they are more likely to go above and beyond their job description. Similarly, employees feel irrelevant when their opinions don’t matter, and teamwork is affected.
However, collaboration can be overwhelming for businesses looking to establish a virtual team. It is best not to overburden your team with frequent meetings. A daily scrum meeting is a good start to discuss daily tasks and identify opportunities where employees can work together as a team. By doing so, you can help your employees to coordinate and avoid rework or duplication.
3. Foster Creativity
As we previously mentioned, collaborative teams are innovative. That’s why fostering creativity only helps encourage collaboration. It is a virtuous loop. Reflective sessions are an excellent way for your team to work on their creative thinking. A motivating environment where employees can easily communicate their ideas will allow them to take an interest in the organization’s mission.
It is important to note that, for some employees, brainstorming sessions can be overwhelming if they are not aware of it. To tackle this issue, the team manager can give them a disclaimer the day before so that everyone comes prepared with creative ideas.
4. Provide Autonomy
As a business, you must trust your employees to work hard and do good work to the best of their skills and abilities. However, it would help if you remembered that they were hired because they were the right fit for the position. So, when every employee knows what they are expected to do, it is best to let them do their job with total autonomy. It might be the best thing that you can do as a business.
Moreover, you must offer a dedicated support structure as even the best employees need guidance and sound advice from time to time. Let employees know who to reach out to for a particular situation and when to offer innovative ideas for discussion. With the help of this support structure, autonomous employees can focus on being themselves and provide creative solutions. The freedom to check innovative ideas or try new concepts in a safe environment will foster positive feelings throughout the entire organization. Additionally, having driven employees will allow you to assemble a solid and productive team.
5. Implement Digital Collaboration Tools
Building a digital workplace is the most pragmatic thing you can do to allow long-term collaboration in your teams. Modern businesses are known to understand the importance and invest in collaboration tools to enhance their business processes. For instance, pdfFiller is an excellent cloud-based collaboration tool for businesses to design, integrate, and automate PDFs using a single platform. pdfFiller provides the services of an online editor and signature request manager, allowing teams to fill out, sign, and send any PDF files and forms online.
It is crucial to structure team collaboration in a way that leads to progress. Effective workplace collaboration needs more than having the right strategies in place. It helps when they have the right tools on hand to succeed. Digital collaboration tools allow employees to implement all their innovative ideas. In addition, these tools help employees stay engaged and work collectively as a team. So isn’t it a win-win for both the employees and the business? It certainly is.