‘Effective collaboration’ is a concept in business that is mentioned and focused on with such regularity that one might be tempted to consider it as something of a buzz word. However, the reason for the inordinate focus on this topic is the simple fact that it is one of the biggest factors to distinguish between successful and failed enterprises. Sceptics may be tempted to ask ‘Well if it is so important, why isn’t everyone doing it?’ The straightforward answer is that developing an internal business climate that is conducive to useful collaboration is no mean feat.
However, technology has taken some steps towards helping to foster collaborative relationships. Aside from now-standard tools such as video conferencing and desktop sharing, that are also a variety of advanced collaboration tools, such as the recently created document creation tool Xara, that provide new ways for creative collaboration to take place.
The benefits of collaboration within companies
As a business owner with a well functioning business model, you may be tempted to ask yourself, why bother? If my business is already going strong, why rock the boat and risk putting time and effort into fostering a climate of collaboration?
There is a huge range of clearly identified benefits associated with team collaboration that can take a business from good to great in a very short period of time. Today I’m going to take you through a brief rundown of some of the main ones.
Creative business collaboration provides companies with a variety of benefits that are not available when working alone. By applying multiple perspectives to a task in real time, teams are able to generate new ideas quickly and easily. These ideas can then be fleshed out using the other members of the team as a sounding board. In essence, real-time online collaboration cuts out the delayed feedback loop, resulting in more fully realized designs in a fraction of the time.
In addition, this kind of creative collaboration fosters an attitude of open communication, combating the tendency to engage in silo thinking. It also encourages individual workers to ask for help when necessary and share information and resources. The kinds of collaborative relationships forged in online editing platforms like Xara Cloud can have knock-on effects and benefits throughout a company.
Mobility & Connectivity
As business models adapt to social changes and modern technologies, the section of your workforce that is classed as mobile or work-from-home is only going to get bigger. Working from home has always posed a challenge when it comes to real-time information exchange, but with online collaboration platforms, mobile workers can converse, review and exchange ideas as easily as if they were in the office together. This also provides new opportunities when it comes to forging an international team of creators, resulting in documents and designs that are colored with and influenced by a wide range of cultural perspectives.
Skilling up and re-energising
Working together within a team has been shown to have a powerful effect on worker’s morale, well-being and development. More and more research is showing that isolated work environments can have a negative impact on mental health and wellbeing, while team-based interactions result in greater engagement, a greater sense of achievement and cohesion within the company. In addition, combining individual skill sets and applying them to a given project not only results in faster goal completion but also develops new modes of thinking and problem solving within each member of the team. Again, it sounds like an old cliche but experience and research has proven that an effective team is much more than the sum of its parts.
Educating employees about the company’s long-term vision
In isolation, an erroneous belief about something non-essential to the day’s task (such as the long-term goals and the general ethos of the company) can be allowed to persist in perpetuity. Within a team with effective leadership in place, individuals can rapidly increase their awareness of what the broader aims of the company are. This can help bring all their future activities into better alignment with those aims, even when working on individual tasks in the future.