Collaboration is one of the best ways to uncover your team’s best ideas.
A collaborative workplace environment helps bring different skill sets together, and more times than not, it allows projects to efficiently kick off. True team collaboration keeps everyone on the same page whether your teams are in the office or working remotely.
The good thing is that successful collaboration is no longer limited to in-office brainstorms and long boardroom meetings. Some of the best ideas surface when people aren’t even in the same room!
But only when you use collaborative tools to streamline your process. It’s like finding that sturdy Swiss Army Knife that helps your teams collaborate—no matter the circumstance.
However, things like collaborative project management tools are only one piece of the puzzle. In this blog, we’ll look at how leaders can promote teamwork and collaboration in the workplace, the most common bottlenecks, and some best practices for the entire team. 💡
What is Collaboration in the Workplace?
Collaboration in the workplace is when two or more employees work together to achieve a common goal—typically through sharing specialized knowledge, skills, ideas, and resources as a way to benefit their company.
A collaborative workplace generates innovative solutions brought together and flushed out by diverse teams—sometimes across the entire organization. It allows individual team members to pull from a larger group to get more resources to efficiently complete a project.
Benefits of Creating Collaborative Teams at Work
A Queens University survey found 75% of employees think collaboration is essential in the workplace. But only about 39% of employees believe their company isn’t collaborative enough.
A collaborative team culture fosters a stronger sense of community among coworkers. It can improve workplace collaboration, employee morale, and job satisfaction—all while reducing stress. The upside of team collaboration is seemingly endless, but there are many benefits to consider:
1. Successful collaboration uncovers creative ideas
Innovative and unique ideas tend to bubble to the surface when they’re put in the same “room.” It’s easier to see connections you would have overlooked otherwise. And team members can actively talk through possibilities and brainstorm the best answers for team projects.
For example, if a design team brainstorms with the copywriters in real-time, each group gets insight into everyone’s specific role and duties to produce digital content in an efficient manner.
By building a greater understanding of the pain point they’re addressing, they can combine both visuals and text in a more efficient manner that maximizes the outcome. Considering different ideas together makes it more likely to come up with fresh, inventive solutions faster.
2. Employee collaboration drives productivity
When employees work with other team members on a project, more gets done in a shorter amount of time thanks to their combined efforts. The more productive team, the faster you close the feedback loop.
And with a faster feedback loop, your teams iterate on new ideas, workflows, or processes in real-time. In other words, encouraging collaboration in the workplace is one of the best ways to stay competitive. 🏆
3. Collaboration in the workplace improves morale (even for remote teams)
This one’s a biggie. When team members feel supported by their coworkers, they tend to be happier and more motivated. This leads to employees taking more initiative and ownership in their work.
In fact, research shows employees who collaborate are about 17% more satisfied with their job. If the goal is to nurture a productive work environment based on teamwork, the last thing you want is for team members to feel disengaged or out of the loop because they aren’t working together to tackle challenges.
This can be particularly tricky with remote teams and virtual collaboration. But having a centralized location for all of your teams’ work to get done is crucial to stay in sync.
4. Collaboration limits stress and workplace anxiety
Having a collaborative environment lowers stress levels by reducing workplace anxiety. There’s less stress when employees are dividing tasks, sharing workloads, and helping team members collaborate by using their specific skill sets.
Research from Harvard Business Review found 92% of employees experiencing stress at work is due to their team dynamics. Without effective collaboration, pinpointing gaps in processes can be overlooked and slow down (and anger) your team.
But when teams share knowledge and work together, there’s a greater opportunity for synchronized workflows and better team dynamics.
5. Effective collaboration builds stronger working relationships
Working together creates trust. If a team member trusts their coworkers, that worker forms better working relationships.
Collaboration means working from different perspectives. But knowing who said what is important to working toward the same goals.
The benefits of nurturing better working relationships through collaboration also contribute to lower turnover rates. Collaboration and team communication at work have been linked to a 50% reduction in employee turnover rates.
6. Unified teams rise from efficient collaboration
Remote or hybrid work is the norm these days. This means it’s important to find ways to keep your team connected. As a team leader, you must first demonstrate collaboration and take initiative on the communication skills you expect to get work done.
It doesn’t matter if you have some people in the office or remote workers scattered across the globe—team leads must encourage employees to avoid silos, communicate with other teams, and find solutions to their bottlenecks.
That consistent collaboration occurs when the team develops trust and works in unison. But they need the right collaboration tools to connect to others across a digital workplace.
Working on projects together and having weekly video conference meetings allow teams and remote workers to connect on a deeper level and form better relationships.
How to Encourage Effective Collaboration at Work
Knowing workplace collaboration is a net positive is one thing. But encouraging it well enough that it sticks is another. So consider a few practical ideas.
1. Use project collaboration tools
Research suggests digital collaboration tools have the potential to unlock over $100 billion in value for companies. Why? Because they directly boost productivity by as much as 20% to 30%.
That’s a significant increase!
And it’s what collaborative project manager platforms like ClickUp are designed to achieve. With ClickUp as your collaboration “operating system,” your direct reports has an easier time collaborating with useful features like:
- Built-in doc creation to shared project and process docs
- Collaboration detection features that let you edit docs with each other in real-time, updating instantly
- ClickUp Whiteboards for brainstorming sessions to collaborate digitally at any time from anywhere in real-time
2. Host team-building sessions
Team building sessions are a great way to encourage coworkers to build trust and knock down any barriers between them. Problem-solving or team-based sports help with team bonding and enable coworkers to see each other in a new light.
Team leads can host team meetings and building sessions remotely or with a hybrid team with the help of video conferencing. Virtual icebreakers or team quizzes enable coworkers to get to know each other better—even in a digital workplace.
Need a good place to start? ClickUp’s Ice Breaker Whiteboard Template is great for remote collaboration and clearing the nervous workplace tension—especially in virtual meetings where no one wants to talk.
3. Invite people to brainstorm
When faced with a challenge, brainstorming is an effective way to allow team members to share ideas and their points of view to successfully collaborate.
However, to facilitate the brainstorming process, it should be done with the understanding that creativity is encouraged and all ideas are worth hearing.
Team leaders must create a safe space for everyone to brainstorm. A great way to do this is by explicitly asking everyone to actively participate and practice their active listening skills. Encourage group discussions to build a secure collaborative workspace so ideas are heard without judgment.
4. Integrate cross-team collaboration
Cross-team collaboration is another great way to foster teamwork in the workplace. Companies that encourage cross-functional teams provide opportunities for different departments and employees of varying skills to work together and learn from each other.
This will not only improve collaboration, but it allows employees to share key information and drive innovation and productivity.
Common Workplace Collaboration Blockers
Despite the benefits of collaborating on work, there are plenty of obstacles that teams must overcome. Many blockers stem from a lack of something—be it tools, soft skills, or existing workflows—rather than working with too much of any one thing.
However, one of the more common blockers to collaboration in the workplace is lacking collaboration software that frees employees and gives them everything for efficient problem-solving.
In fact, a Gartner report found roughly 80% of workers who use collaboration tools maintain productivity and efficiency in the workplace.
Let’s look at the specifics of some common blockers.
- Disjointed work tools: It’s pretty common to see teams working with a handful of applications without any real workflow or work process. While one person may use one tool for documentation, another may use a different platform for task management. If those two tools aren’t communicating—or aren’t existing on the same platform—miscommunication, visibility issues, and delayed project timelines get in the way
- Siloed information: Disjointed work processes also produce siloed projects—blocking important information needed to get projects done. with disparate information that helps get projects done
- Lack of trust: A lack of trust between coworkers blocks collaboration since people may be reluctant to share their skills and know-how with others
- Poor communication: Without proper communication, team members may not understand what is expected of them, leading to miscommunication and confusion
- Unclear goals: If a project’s key objectives aren’t clear, it’s challenging for teams to coordinate their efforts to produce top-tier work.
- Weak team or company leadership: When coworkers lack a strong leader or company that promotes effective collaboration, it isn’t easy to keep the project on track and everyone on the same page
- Competition and employee burnout: Coworkers who are in competition with each other may be less likely to share resources or help one another out. And if team members don’t know their responsibilities, they may step on one another—leading to issues with employee retention and equal participation
Workplace Collaboration Principles
Workplace collaboration principles define how coworkers should interact with each other and how projects should be managed. By having clear principles, teams have an easier time working toward the same goal.
Plus, promoting collaboration encourages trust and respect, which are essential for productivity. Some of the most important principles are:
- Respect: All team members should respect each other’s opinions and creativity while avoiding criticism that isn’t constructive. Though this is a nuanced principle, setting expectations from the beginning helps teams uphold each principle
- Open-mindedness: Team members should not shut down new ideas and perspectives but rather be open to them
- A shared purpose: Team members should be aware of the common goal they are working towards and how they are contributing to it. This is where centralized tools like ClickUp help with the maintenance and access to key team information with ClickUp Docs and shared workspaces.
- Cooperation: The team needs to coordinate their efforts and resources so they get the best ROI within their team’s constraints.
- Accountability: Everyone must take responsibility for their own actions and be held accountable for their part in the project. This works well if you assign task ownership to the right team member. Add visibility by assigning tasks in one dashboard so everyone knows what everyone else is responsible for at all times. This is even more important when managing remote employees
Collaborate Across All Your Teams With ClickUp
Creating a collaborative environment in the workplace greatly benefits both employees and the organization in terms of increased creativity, productivity, morale, and team spirit. By encouraging open communication, providing positive feedback and recognition, and promoting an environment of trust, companies foster a strong sense of teamwork and collaboration.
This will not only help to improve individual performance but also lead to better overall team performance. Teamwork makes the dream work. But ClickUp makes it happen.
Whether your team is working remotely or not, you still need a centralized space for collaboration. And that means your team has access to digital tools to start a brainstorming session, tag a teammate without a message getting lost in email, or simply by refining your file-sharing system to one universally searchable place.
With ClickUp, it’s possible. So get started today and create your free workspace to start collaborating with your team.