Home Business Teamwork Makes the Dream Work: How to Facilitate Effective Business Collaboration

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work: How to Facilitate Effective Business Collaboration

by Olufisayo
Effective Business Collaboration

As the saying goes, “teamwork makes the dream work” and the value of this is arguably no more apparent than in the workplace. Collaboration is often key to achieving business goals, with 86% of employees and executives citing ineffective collaboration and communication as the main cause of workplace failures. Yet, with almost four in ten workers reporting a lack of collaboration within their organization, this is clearly an area many companies must work on.

If your business finds itself in this position too, this guide to better collaboration should inspire you to identify the existing barriers to collaboration and bolster your business’s prospects.

1.    Get the right tools

Another pertinent saying is that “a worker is only as good as their tools”, and this is especially true when it comes to collaboration. While it’s all well and good to tell employees to work together more closely, this can only happen if they have the tools to do so.

Perhaps the most obvious type to help them do so is communication software, whether it’s video conferencing tools like Skype or instant messaging programs such as Slack. Particularly in today’s remote working world, the only way they’re going to collaborate successfully is if they can actually interact with one another.

The same point is true for working on projects together. From project management software like Asana or Monday.com to real-time collaborative programs such as Google Docs or Zoho WorkDrive, there are so many tools for facilitating this.

Upgrade existing tools

You don’t necessarily have to splash out on new tools. Existing tools can be upgraded to enable more effective collaboration. One example is Excel, the Microsoft spreadsheet software used by many companies for critical business applications. As noted by EASA: “Spreadsheets can spiral out of control when they are shared or used collaboratively. Formulas can get overwritten, out-of-date files may remain in circulation, and intellectual property could be exposed.”

The solution? By converting Excel spreadsheets into web applications, you “prevent replication of and direct access to the native Excel file, while still retaining the ability to operate them”. As a result, users are only able to make use of the latest and most up-to-date version of the underlying spreadsheet without ever coming into direct contact with them and the above issues are avoided entirely.

2. Encourage collaborative behavior

People will collaborate more successfully if they’re encouraged to do so. Some of the main ways you can do this include:

Lead by example

What people at the top do is so important in determining the behavior of everyone else in the company. Consequently, it’s up to business leaders to lead by example when it comes to collaboration. Whether it’s by organizing regular meetings, encouraging people to speak up, or being proactive in using new collaboration tools and showing others how to do so too, there are so many ways you can inspire employees to collaborate.

Create spaces for collaboration

Another great way to facilitate collaboration is by setting up dedicated spaces for this very purpose. By having meeting pods, chill-out areas or even giving them permission to head off-site, they’re more likely to thoroughly discuss work matters instead of just firing off quick messages to each other online.

Build trust among colleagues

Collaboration efforts can be hampered by staff feeling unable to open up to one another. However, by setting up team-building activities and encouraging them to socialize, you help to strengthen bonds among team members, something that can give them greater confidence to collaborate.

3. Establish collaboration conventions

A big part of facilitating collaboration is establishing guidelines for doing so. This will help people feel more comfortable communicating with others, as well as make any collaboration more effective. It’s a good idea to create a document outlining your company’s main collaboration conventions, with some of the main things you’ll want to include being:

The communication tools you should use for which kind of collaboration

For example, more informal discussions should take place using instant messaging tools, emails can be used for less time urgent interactions, and project management tools can be used to communicate things like project outlines.

The best days and times for meetings

Some days and times are better for meetings than others. According to research, Monday mornings are the worst time, as this is when workers are at their most productive. As such, your efforts towards facilitating collaboration could actually hinder your business if you’re not careful.

General communication rules

This particular convention will cover things like always having an agenda and a chair for business meetings, and when staff can block out time in their calendar to focus on work (and utilize things like “do not disturb” settings online in the process).

Photo by fauxels

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