Workplace tools

5 Benefits of Collaboration in the Workplace

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What do X-Men, Fantastic Four and Ninja Turtles have in common? These are teams that all work together towards a common goal and achieve it successfully through collaboration. The same is valid for the workplace.
As Greg Satell states in his article on Forbes magazine: “More and more, what drives value is the ability to collaborate with both humans and machines. That is where advantage lies today. That’s why today’s economy is a social economy with collaboration at its center. We need to shift our focus from assets and capabilities to empathy, design and networked organizations.”
Yes, collaboration is the future of work.
And here are some of the benefits that collaboration brings to the workplace:
1. It increases productivity
Isolation and feeling disconnected lowers productivity and leads to disengaged employees. Collaboration, if done right, is the motor of increased productivity and well-being in a team.
And it is proven. Dr. Christian Jarrett backs it with research – in a survey conducted by Cisco among thousands of teleworkers, 69 % stated that they experienced higher productivity when they worked remotely. In addition to that, 83% said that their communication with other team members improved (or was unaffected for that matter). In 2009 a research team led by Frank Siebdrat assessed the performance of 80 software teams spread around the world. The research showed that more dispersed teams often outperformed “co-located” teams.

2. It saves money
Collaboration tools save money. According to Accenture – through the use of collaboration technologies that improve the manner in which work is done, companies have achieved impressive results. Here is a real-life example:
“By sharing experiences and ideas via an online platform, employees in CEMEX’s alternative fuels program reduced CO2 emissions by 1.8 million metric tons per year, saving the company more than $140 million while earning $80 million in sales of CO2 credits. By more readily sharing documents and quickly locating experts to answer questions, sales teams at GE Aviation were able to complete in minutes work that had previously taken more than one week.”

3. It creates greater flexibility
According to a 16-year study by Idea Champions “only 3 percent of the 10,000 people they interviewed said that they come up with their best ideas at work. The other 97 percent said their best ideas come to them while they are in the shower, on vacation, taking walks, enjoying a glass of wine, or just doing nothing.”
Nowadays, you can work from almost anywhere. For example, Unilever gives permission to its 100,000 employees to work anytime, anywhere, as long as the work gets done.
Thanks to collaboration tools, distance is no longer relevant. The aim of the enterprise should be to mobilize the resources of all of its employees through higher collaboration, no matter where they are located.

4. It creates a sense of belonging & community
Seth Godin talks about the concept of tribes in his book Tribes: We need you to lead us – “A tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea. For millions of years, human beings have been part of one tribe or another. A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate.”
A workplace is actually a community created to achieve a certain goal. Having a shared interest combined with good communication between the members of the community can be extremely beneficial.
The artilce “The importance of collaboration in the workplace” sums it up perfectly: Collaboration brings meaning and adds value to the way team members perceive their job. Employees are more likely to continue working for a business longer when they have strong ties with the people they work with and feel that they’re a part of something important.

5. It teaches
You can learn so much from your coworkers when you collaborate. The exchange of ideas and know-how is of benefit not only for the employees but also for the enterprise.
When employees collaborate, especially working with colleagues from other departments, they understand better how the enterprise functions. Combining unique perspectives from different team members creates better solutions. It fosters knowledge-sharing and creativity in the enterprise.
There is a hidden bonus. Working on a big project? No worries, dividing the work among team members makes it easier to complete it. The responsibility is shared among all and thus overloading only one or two people with work is avoided.
In the best case scenario, the team members trust each other, so the feeling of safety makes possible for ideas to emerge.

Whether your organization has been adopting collaboration tools or not, one thing is clear – the future of work is in technology-enabled collaboration. It takes time to break down silos and adopt new practices. But once you do it you will never want to go back.
SMASHDOCs helps you reap the benefits of technology-enabled collaboration. It is a web-based intelligent word processor for collaborative writing and editing, featuring revolutionary change tracking technology. All changes are tracked in one single version of a document instead of creating multiple versions.
Thus you can focus on the most important thing – creating great content together.

“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”

-Henry Ford