Please read the original post, published on OnePlace Blog on August 17th, 2010.
We’ve all heard by now that effective team collaboration can greatly impact the productivity and success of the business. In a recent study, over 80% of businesses stated that collaboration was the key to future success. This sounds great, right?
Absolutely! But there are many businesses who are hesitant to jump on the collaboration bandwagon because they aren’t sure exactly how collaboration will benefit them. A big concern is that the new collaboration process may not be as productive or beneficial as they want it to be.
In all honesty, there is a learning curve with collaboration processes and tools, as there is with almost everything else in the business world. The key is to agreeing to get around the curve as gracefully and successfully as possible to begin enhancing the communication and collaboration in your business.
So then, how exactly can we get around that curve and increase the productivity of our team collaboration?
Begin With An End In Mind
Understanding that you are collaborating on an idea, a project or a goal is important for successful collaboration. Make sure that you are working together to achieve that goal, and don’t let distractions derail your collaborative process.
When working with others, your communications will be about many different topics in a variety of locations. Make sure you are organizing your notes and communications in a structured way for easy reference and to increase the flow of your collaboration.
Invest In An Online Collaboration Solution
There are many online collaboration solutions that engage team members and facilitate communication in a secure online environment. Utilizing one of these solutions in your business will organize your communications and encourage continued use among your people.
Schedule Collaboration Time
Staying on top of discussions and collaboration, just as with email, can actually be a productivity drain. Schedule time each day, perhaps at 8am, 10am, 1pm and 4pm, to check on the status of your collaborative environment. This is when you should review notes, offer suggestions and make updates. Constantly checking every 5 minutes disrupts your productivity time and can slow down all projects.
Collaborate On The Go
Take your collaborative environment with you! Utilize your collaboration solution’s mobile version to stay on top of communication and updates happening between your team while you are out of the office.
This sounds counter-productive, right? On the contrary, slowing down your thoughts and communications can actually increase collaboration productivity. Take time to think of your responses and actions. This can save a lot of backpedaling and rework later.
Escape The Office
There may come a time when you need a break. Take your team on an outing or have a fun afternoon cocktail hour. Getting out of the office encourages communication and can help get the creative juices flowing, so their collaborative efforts are doubly effective when they get back into the office.
Recognize Collaboration Effort and Success
Is your team kicking butt on one of their projects? Recognize that success in an upcoming team meeting, or by rewarding them with a morning coffee. This type of recognition and appreciation for hard work can go a long way toward increased productivity and employee happiness.
Create Collaborative Spaces
If your office isn’t laid out in an easy-to-communicate way, try rearranging things to offer collaborative spaces for your team. Place couches or beanbags in a corner for comfort during a brainstorming session. Find a funky-shaped meeting table and brightly-colored “whiteboard” for your meeting room. Efforts to make collaboration fun will only encourage future collaboration.
Who can concentrate with clutter on their desk or desktop? Tidy your workspace once a week to organize documents, trash notes and give it a general shine so you can concentrate on your work more effectively.
Collaboration doesn’t have to be all work, work, work! Find fun things to collaborate on, such as your annual holiday party or upcoming team event. Even hold contests for the wackiest ideas brought up in a project collaboration session. Making collaboration fun keeps your team happy and keeps them working together!
By following simple steps to increase the productivity of your collaboration efforts, you’ll see an increase in the productivity of your people and your business. Customers, clients and team members will be happier and more successful by being more connected and getting more done, together.