In today’s world of modern working, the benefits of collaborative working cannot be understated. As the world of work adapts and pivots to changing environments, one of a manager’s strongest tools is promoting collaboration within their team.
In this article, we’re going to go over some of the chief benefits that collaborative working gives to projects.
Collaborative Working Explained
Collaboration takes place when two or more people work together to achieve a shared goal. Ever since the 2020 pandemic, technology has evolved significantly to allow digital teams to collaborate easier than ever before.
Video calls, collaboration platforms, and cloud sharing now allow teams to collaborate from anywhere and have become the norm in many industries.
Successfully implementing collaborative working in your organisation takes time, effort, and knowledge of what actually makes it work. Every organisation will have different areas where collaboration would be beneficial, so the first step is determining how it would work for your organisation.
Collaborative working is most effective when the varied strengths of individuals are utilised in tandem with each other.
For example, one team member may be more introverted, and data-driven, whereas another is extroverted, and focused on the big picture. As a manager, it falls to you to determine how these qualities can complement each other.
10 Benefits of Collaborative Working
Here are 10 key benefits you can get from improved collaboration.
1) More creativity and innovation
One of the first things that come to mind when we think of collaborative working is how projects almost always benefit from multiple perspectives. The phrase two heads are better than one really rings true here.
Two people may have completely differing views on what is required for a particular task. These differing views and personalities create a dynamic working environment and help to foster fresh ideas and innovative insights.
Whether you bring together individuals with complementary or contrasting skill sets, innovative ideas and viewpoints can always be seeded. With the correct managerial guidance, collaborative working can help solve problems and complete tasks in more efficient and effective ways.
2) Teams help each other improve
When you bring together a group of people who specialise in different areas, you are likely to see one of two outcomes. The first outcome is that your teams end up working in silos, not being overly communicative.
This is not the outcome you want, as you’ll be missing out on one of the fundamental benefits of collaborative working.
If a team is nicely oiled and working well together, you will find that skill sets begin to blend. If you encourage your team members to collaborate with each other – especially on tasks that may be out of some people’s comfort zone – you will start to see your workers pick up on each other’s abilities.
This helps foster a culture of skill development, and your team will be better integrated with each other as a result.
Your workers may even end up working on each others’ tasks, which continues the cycle of collaboration, and all the good things that come with it.
3) Teamwork breeds engagement and productivity
When a team really begins to work well together, they will undoubtedly develop a sense of camaraderie. No matter how different they are as people, the shared goal will unite a well-curated team and foster an affinity.
If your team bonds in this way, you will likely find they become more engaged with their work, thanks to the goals they share.
This heightened level of engagement helps create an increase in productivity. As team members gain headway with their work, they find themselves encouraged by both their colleagues and the environment they create.
The combination of all this will increase the productivity of both individual members and the team as a whole. If you can nail your team engagement strategy, the rest will take care of itself.
4) Teams become more agile and flexible
The ability of project teams to adapt to changing environments is essential for modern business success. Regardless of your sector, every industry is being shaken up in some way at the moment, so this skill has never been more important.
When teams collaborate efficiently, this ability is maximised. Some may think that a team is harder to steer in changing environments, but when a team is tight-knit and well-integrated with its workload, the opposite is true.
Faced with a major change in circumstance, a well-oiled team can put all hands to the deck to help the project change course where necessary. With each team member focused on their own aspect of the project, team leaders can focus on steering the ship away from the rocks.
This style of agile project management comes as a by-product of healthy collaboration and should be kept in mind when deciding whether or not to increase the amount of collaboration within your project.
5) Better workplace mental health
Perhaps one of the most important benefits of collaborative work is the effect it has on the mental health of those involved. Developing a good rapport with their colleagues helps members to feel valued as part of a team, which offers plenty of mental health benefits.
This feeling of value helps a worker feel more confident in their own work, and more likely to ask for help where they need it.
A valued team member will also find themselves more engaged with their work, and more productive than they might have been without this feeling. In today’s day and age, the mental health of your employees should be a cornerstone of how you manage them.
But this does not require you to babysit them, but quite the opposite. Introduce collaboration into your teams, instil in each of them a sense of value, and watch your productivity skyrocket.
6) Collaboration is attractive to top talent
Because of all the reasons we have discussed so far, a collaborative business is more attractive to top talent. The best individuals in your field understand that collaboration in the workplace offers many benefits and opportunities.
This means that organisations that embrace collaboration are more attractive to work for than businesses that ignore it.
Research shows that those startup companies that receive the most attention (both media-wise and recruitment-wise) are the ones that embrace collaboration.
There is a reason that all these quirky companies in renovated warehouses have open-plan offices: they know how beneficial collaborative environments are. Take a leaf from their book, and show off your collaborative working environments when hiring.
7) Project delivery accelerates
While we’ve talked about how one of the benefits of collaborative working is individual productivity, it applies to the team too. If your team members are individually working more productively, the team as a whole will be too, amplified by the collective atmosphere and rapport they develop.
With the whole team helping and learning from each other with constant back and forth, you’ll find that the atmosphere they create breeds productivity.
Have you ever heard the expression the whole is greater than the sum of its parts? Well, this applies heavily when it comes to collaborative working. Two individuals working separately are not as fast as two people working together, this we know.
But also, two people working together will be working at a higher quality than they would apart. This is because of how they learn from each other and encourage each other to do better. A slight hint of healthy competition doesn’t go misplaced here either.
8) Improved staff retention
When an employee develops a bond with their colleagues and the business they work for, they are less inclined to want to leave. If you have helped to develop an employee through collaborative working, you don’t want them to leave either.
You’ve helped give them the skills they need to become a major asset to your business, so losing them would be a blow. Surprisingly, this also applies to developing a rapport with management.
More so than with personal relationships, workers are more likely to stay with a company if they feel valued by management. These feelings can be instilled in your workers with the help of collaborative working.
When a team member is valued by both their team and their manager, this sense of personal confidence is multiplied. It would take a damn good offer for a worker to want to leave a business where they feel truly valued.
9) More effective stakeholder communication
When a team puts their heads together and really gains an understanding of a project, communication with stakeholders is made much simpler. As a project manager, it is your responsibility to report progress and risks to stakeholders.
With individual team members in charge of separate aspects of the project, they will be able to provide you with more insight that you could perhaps provide on your own.
With a crack team of specialists, you will be able to provide more detailed insight to your stakeholders and refer them to your team if they require more information.
If detailed task-specific terminology is required in stakeholder reporting, a quick chat with the relevant team members will ensure you can explain it all in layman’s terms. This avoids baffling the stakeholders with jargon they don’t understand and helps to relay information in a more concise way.
10) A better bottom line
All of the things we’ve discussed today are essential to business success. From increased productivity and skill development to mental health and employee retention. But what do all these benefits add up to? More success for your business.
If your employees are working harder, are more engaged, learn from each other and feel valued, you have a winning combination for business success.
Don’t take collaborative working for granted. Utilise its benefits, and watch your business improve.
How to Implement Collaboration in your Organisation
Building a culture of collaboration in your organisation is easier than you might think. Generally speaking, people want to work together, so all you need to do is enable them. Here are a few tips to help you:
Read our guide on ideas for collaboration strategies for more insight on this!
Do you need cloud-based collaboration tools?
Verto 365’s cloud-based project management system allows teams to work collaboratively in real time, wherever they are.
Thanks to a range of tools like document sharing, instant messaging, and streamlined workflow diagrams, project managers can effortlessly implement collaborative working into their teams.
Verto 365 is designed to seamlessly integrate into Microsoft Teams, bringing a whole range of collaboration tools into the Teams interface.
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