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why we should encourage more collaboration at work

employees collaborating on a project at work

Collaboration, teamwork, working together. Whatever phrase you coin it with, ultimately collaboration brings people closer together to work as a team. Collaboration at work is always desirable but isn’t always something that happens. 96% of senior managers believe that there is a lack of collaboration within the workplace. Up to 30% of companies experience poor employee retention as a result of an unsupportive company culture.

Sometimes the idea of ‘working collaboratively’ may come across as a ‘fluffy’, not so important kind of ideal, but those statistics speak for themselves. It’s no secret that working together has an array of benefits for company performance – so why aren’t we doing more to encourage collaboration at work? The biggest companies in the world are taking actions such as removing siloed working environments, encouraging hot-desking and meeting new people within the company weekly, so can’t we? This has to happen at scale, within the limits of the company, but it can still happen.

But before you can start, you need to believe in collaborative working and understand its benefits to your company. Otherwise, you will never get backing from your seniors, or even your peers if you’ve not learned the importance of working in together.

collaboration at work builds confidence on projects/tasks

Whether it be the team as a whole, or individuals within the team, working collaboratively often increases the confidence of those within it. This could be confidence within their own ideas, ways of thinking and ability to do the work needed, or simply being fully aware of the whole project, its lifecycle, and on-going progression.

Naturally, leaders take to the fore, and there is generally a good feeling about roles and tasks. Timelines are set to maximise effective performance and people learn/know what they need to focus on during the process. Additionally, they know that if they need to, they can ask/give help where necessary to help optimise team performance and the delivered output.

collaboration at work builds transparency and working relationships

I find that working collaboratively really drives the transparency between teams, peers, and management. Working as a team allows you to expose yourself to others around you working on different parts of the project. From this, you can see how they think, how they are working and understand the context behind their decision making. As a result, we can gain a real insight into the performance of our peers and gain respect for their skills and the impact they have on the wider project. This helps incredibly when communicating with your teammates – you can be more empathetic to their constraints, scenarios and their talents, allowing you to manage workloads effectively.

Once you see your peers performance and work alongside them, you’ll naturally trust their word. For instance, perhaps you’d previously worked with a graphic designer who’d given you a delivery date and you were sceptical of the length of the timeline – when you work together you appreciate the truth in their words and understand how your request has impacted their schedule. You’ll also appreciate that they’re being agile by trying to find space to deliver your required work. Trust and transparency help grow performance. If we trust each other, we grow together.

Relationships are generally built on trust, and in the workplace, this is no different. You’ll find that as a result of collaboration, relationships at work grow exponentially – peers that might not have had reason to grow a relationship previously, now, since working together have created a positive working relationship that is impacting the business performance.

collaboration at work encourages communication

There is no such thing as collaboration without communication. In order to work collaboratively, you need to speak to each other. This is where collaboration in the workplace can really help increase business performance. Communication helps build trust and transparency and helps you to understand timelines, deliverables and performance.  As a result, teams fully understand what’s needed from them in order to meet milestones.

Communication also increases the ability to identify problems early and allows for opportunities to fix them. Without communication, we’re more susceptible to mistakes, missing deadlines and producing poor quality work. Communication allows you to seek help from peers where necessary – this will help you identify any potential mistakes, problems with the tasks and work towards solving them.

Furthermore, this presents opportunities for knowledge sharing and internal upskilling without the need for formal training. Of course, there are instances where you need to outsource employee training, but in instances where employees communicate between each other, you’ll find that your talent grows, internal knowledge resources are high and the development of your company continues to grow too.

collaboration at work can produce better end results

At the end of the day, we are always working towards the end goal. Whether that’s a business goal or our own personal goals. Achieving targets are a core reason why we work and collaborative work can both, directly and indirectly, impact these goals. For instance, one of our goals may be to enjoy where we work. It’s no secret that working together can create a more positive working environment. when we are happier at work, we go above and beyond for the greater good. Teams who work together coherently have the biggest and best impact on company performance.

Producing better end results can increase our need to feel purpose too. Perhaps a team worked on a creative ad campaign that went viral and the results speak for themselves. This can impact the need for purpose positively.

Also, it’s fun to work with others. Simply put, you get to talk about and do things that interest you both. From this, you enjoy coming into work each day and will work harder to help your friends who are also working with you within the team.

Finally, by working in a more collaborative way, you become more creative. You’re exposed to newer ways of thinking, different insights and learnings and so your ideas change. You learn what’s worked before, what hasn’t and why. These new ways of thinking and insights have helped you to enhance your skills and decision making. Additionally, this will help increase your performance within the team.