Your organization has to rely on employees not only as individuals, but also as a team. While remote or hybrid work might have split up your team physically, chances are your work still requires near-constant collaboration.
In fact, employees spend an average of 50% of their workday collaborating with others. But one weak link in your team’s collaboration can cause miscommunication and confusion. That’s why effective collaboration is so important.
When a team collaborates, they’re working together to achieve a goal. Today, that usually happens with an assist from technology, both in real-time and asynchronously.
Collaboration is a necessary soft skill, but it can be difficult to coach your team on it. Sometimes, the best way to learn is through example. Check out these 6 examples of effective collaboration in the workplace to understand how modern employees can work better, together.
Cloud-based work is the future of collaboration. 83% of employees rely on technology to collaborate, and one of the most effective ways your team can work together is with document sharing.
Tools like Google Drive and Dropbox Paper allow teams to collaborate on the same content in real-time. Some project management tools also offer the ability to collaborate in real-time on files in addition to their other features. Document sharing allows even remote teams to collaborate as if they’re all in the same room together. You can easily see changes in real-time, edit text, leave comments, and manage access permissions, too.
When employees rely on each other to accomplish tasks, it’s important to track their to-dos in a transparent, cloud-based platform. Project management tools like Monday, Trello, and Asana allow teams to create collaboration-friendly workflows, tasks, and projects.
Instead of wondering about a coworker’s progress with a task, employees can use PM software to ask questions, share files, and find information. They can even create task dependencies, so it’s clear who is responsible for which tasks, and when. Managers can also consult the PM tool to see what their team is working on, identifying points of friction.
Regardless, your team also needs to trust each other in order to collaborate effectively. A European bank realized that when teams didn’t have the time to socialize with each other, they didn’t have the trust necessary to collaborate. By redesigning its physical space and changing its culture for collaboration, the bank improved sales by 11% at underperforming locations.
Meetings can be a productivity black hole. However, teams that know how to collaborate can have highly efficient meetings. This differs for every organization, but collaborative meetings often look like this:
Collaborative teams want each other to succeed. That’s why it isn’t unusual for collaborative teams to coach each other on technology and processes. For example, if you switch to a new PM tool and some employees are struggling, other employees can coach them on it.
Two heads are better than one—that’s why collaborative teams will often meet to brainstorm new ideas, either virtually or in person. But instead of just chatting about their ideas, most collaborative teams usually visualize their ideas too.
In fact, 60% of employees collaborate visually, whether that’s in the form of written lists, bulletin boards, or sticky notes. For example, in-office teams might prefer to brainstorm with a whiteboard and sticky notes. This is especially helpful if you have a team of tactile and visual learners. But for hybrid or remote teams, digital whiteboards like Miro are also effective. This allows your team to save their ideas for later and create new boards, which is perfect for iterating new ideas.
The future of work will be less siloed. That’s why more organizations are investing in cross-functional teams. Instead of sequestering marketing, sales, IT, accounting, and customer service into separate departments, a cross-functional team brings members from various departments together. As long as you have a process in place for how the team will operate, this is a great way to form a team with more experience and fewer blind spots.
A multinational tech firm realized the power of cross-functional teams firsthand. The company leveraged the Humanyze Platform to analyze employee data and identify ways to bring teams together. The firm changed its culture and physical workspace, allowing for cross-functional collaboration to be prioritized.
The way we work has changed forever, which means that the way employees collaborate will change too. No matter your industry, niche, or customers, your organization needs employees with collaboration skills. After all, nothing happens in a vacuum at your organization. However, collaboration can still be complicated, which is why it’s critical for organizations to intentionally plan for teamwork. Follow these 6 excellent examples of effective collaboration as a model for your own organization.