Mid 19th century: from Latin collaboratio(n- ), from collaborare ‘work together’
What does ‘working together’ really mean?
Collaboration (The Facts)
More than just a way to connect with others...
- 83% of today’s professionals now rely on technology to collaborate. (Alfresco)
- 95% of workers believe artificial intelligence can improve work tasks. (Harvard Business Review)
- Employees now spend about 50% more time engaged in collaborative work. (Harvard Business Review)
- Roughly 75% of employees regard collaboration and teamwork as important. (Queens University of Charlotte)
- 90% of employees believe that decision-makers should seek other opinions before making a final decision. (Salesforce)
- 88% agree that a culture of knowledge-sharing correlates to high employee morale and job satisfaction. (Oscar Berg)
- 88% believe collaboration accelerates decision making (Next Plane)
- 56% pointed out collaboration-related measures as the factor that will have the greatest impact on their organization’s overall profitability. (Google For Work and Raconteur)
- 97% of employees and executives believe lack of alignment with a team impacts the outcome of a task or project. (Mckinsey)
- 86% of employees and executives cite lack of collaboration or ineffective communication for workplace failures. (Salesforce)
2 + 2 = 10
When people collaborate, they grow, and so do their ideas and capacity for change. All relationships matter to us whether it's a business, colleague or family. Developing trusting relationships is the key to innovation, creation and breaking boundaries, both real and perceived. Relationships help us add value to an organisation both as individuals and collectively because change breaks through boundaries and norms. Work communities can help us feel like what we do is worthwhile and benefits others.
Coffee breaks Versus Long-term, Sustainable Projects
Collaboration is a broad term that can be used in a lot of different circumstances. Whether it’s a 2-minute conversation by the coffee machine in the office, or a long-term project requiring more of a time investment, realising the potential of one another takes trust and effort and involves taking risks. Being prepared to open ourselves up to criticism and being willing to move our fundamental views is not always easy. Effective collaboration takes practice and benefits from a diverse range of skills and experiences across both the industry and socially to work. Collaboration works best within a level playing field where trust is earned and power is equalised. Everyone needs to foster mutual respect and have an equal voice, even if they are inexperienced or new to the situation.
COVID-19 Versus Collaboration
COVID-19 has demonstrated the importance of digital readiness, which allows business and life to continue as usual – as far as possible – during pandemics. Building the necessary social infrastructure to support a digitised world and stay current in the latest technology will be essential for any business or country to remain competitive in a post-COVID-19 world, as well as take a human-centred and inclusive approach to technology governance.
With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing employees around the world to work from home, the need to communicate effectively has never been greater. Yet, the ability of employees to communicate has changed dramatically with the loss of a centralised office and the face-to-face interaction it fosters.
The average length of meetings has decreased to such an extent that the collective amount of time employees spent in meetings is now far less and much is online. Valuable ‘sounding board’ time is lost with colleagues. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the average length of a meeting has declined from 1 hour to 45 minutes, while the average meeting count rose from 5.9 meetings prior to coronavirus lockdowns to 6.9 meetings.
Though an overarching increase in virtual communication is unsurprising, we would not have predicted all the ways in which this occurred. For example, despite the potential drawbacks of large meetings or emails with many recipients, these forms of communication practices may help synchronize how information is shared (e.g., by holding a team meeting instead of several one-on-ones). Moreover, expanding the number of email recipients and meeting attendees increases the likelihood that important information is received by all relevant individuals in an organisation. This is an especially important function in a time when organisational challenges likely cut across the business and are relevant to a greater set of people. Being more inclusive when everyone is dispersed could also help employees maintain their identity within the organisation (Wiesenfeld et al., 1999).
Collaboration in the field of Technology
Full adoption of collaboration tools is enhancing productivity while giving employers the ability to hire talent no matter the location. But businesses won’t truly understand the complete benefits of the tech trends until they really are adopted sustainably over the longer term across the organisation; over the coffee machine or in the boardroom, collaboration can give you the edge you need going forward. The 3 C’s of collaborative technologies - Communication, conferencing and coordination are a useful starting point.
In a world where technology is everywhere, collaboration is everyone.
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