How business can encourage greater team collaboration

Team collaboration is the cornerstone of any successful business. Without it, companies lack inspiration and innovation and that has a big impact on their bottom line and ability to grow.

A highly-motivated and engaged workforce operating in sync with one another improves not only productivity and efficiency, but also the long-term well-being of individuals. It also enables better idea-sharing and problem-solving.

The benefits of effective team collaboration are borne out by the fact that employees who were primed to act collaboratively stuck to their task 64% longer than those that worked alone, according to a Stanford University study. The research also found that they reported higher engagement levels, lower fatigue levels and a higher success rate.

Taking a collaborative approach can reap rewards for companies too. A report by the Institute for Corporate Productivity has revealed firms that promote collaborative working are also five times more likely to be high performing than those that don’t.

Workplace optimisation

That’s why it’s essential for firms to encourage collaboration within and between teams and, indeed, departments. It starts with providing employees with an environment that is highly conducive to work, where they can interact easily with their teammates, whether that is on site or working remotely at home.

That means thinking about the design and layout that will provide the best opportunity for staff to interact with each other. For example, an open plan office enables workers to communicate more easily face-to-face rather than having everyone segregated in cubicles or in different rooms.

Where team members are working remotely, it’s vital to equip them with the tools to do the job as effectively as possible and make them feel involved within the group. Collaborative online platforms such as Teams, Slack and Trello should also be used, as well as phone calls, emails and video conferencing to maintain engagement and interaction between team members and work on the same project together at the same time.

Collaborative culture

Employers also need to establish an inclusive, collaborative culture and way of working that everyone buys into. The culture needs to come from the top, with senior management setting the tone and leading by example, and run consistently throughout all of their protocols and procedures.

To encourage greater collaboration, managers should host regular team meetings, where everyone is invited to have their say. They should also organise team bonding and social events such as going to the pub or for a meal to enable staff to get to know each other better and build up a bit more of a rapport.

Good team performance also needs to be recognised and celebrated as such, with the reward of incentives such as bonuses. That will encourage team members to want to continue to maintain high standards if they know that they are going to profit from the success.

Measuring the results

Finally, companies need to measure how effectively team collaboration is working in terms of output and results. That requires looking at how effectively, efficiently and quickly tasks are being performed.

Another key indicator of its success is employee satisfaction, which can be monitored through engagement surveys and feedback. A highly motivated team of people is likely to feel more valued, and therefore, be happier and more productive in their work.

Ultimately, collaboration is all about making staff feel part of a team that is working towards the same goals. When everyone is fully invested and pulling in the same direction, the end result will be far more positive, for both the team and the company.

Wayne Pope, Founder and CTO of award-winning Glasscubes, which specialises in enabling companies to collaborate with people inside or outside their organisation, using a rich set of tools from client portals, online workspaces, intranets and information gathering. Glasscubes helps well over 50,000 users in more than 100 countries to maximise their workforce’s potential through an online secure system.

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