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Collaborative work: 3 tips for successful implementation

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Collaborative work has been gaining in importance in many teams for years. Companies encourage collaboration between employees, provide the required software and try to adapt the processes in everyday work to collaborative work. However, there are always problems with the implementation. Benefits remain unused and the collaborative work does not meet the high expectations. We show what collaborative work means and how it can be successfully implemented in teams ...

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Definition: what is collaborative work?

The concept of collaborative work is often equated with teamwork and used synonymously. A mistake! Although the two terms are closely related, a special type of collaboration is referred to as collaborative work. In teamwork, the team pursues a common goal or works on a joint project. Often, however, this does not happen in direct cooperation, but side by side. One colleague takes care of one area, a second takes on another and at the end the individual results are brought together.

Collaborative work means a narrower form of cooperation. All employees involved can work on a project together and at the same time. This is possible, for example, when several people have digital access to documents such as texts, tables or PowerPoint presentations at the same time. The right software for this is available in a wide variety of areas and can be used in many companies.

Benefits of collaborative work

Employers have long been committed to greater cooperation. Those who work together towards a goal achieve more and are happier. Collaborative work also promises some other advantages:

  • Improved collaboration
    Collaborative work improves collaboration across the team. The strengths of individual employees can be better used, and weaknesses can be compensated for.
  • Stronger communication
    In order to work on projects together and sometimes at the same time, a strong communication is necessary. Collaborative work promotes the exchange in the team and improves communication, which is usually carried over to other areas.
  • No duplication of tasks
    Time and again there is a waste of time and duplication of work. Reason for this: Responsibilities are not clear, subtasks are either done several times or not at all. The improved communication and transparency in collaborative work prevents such duplications.
  • Greater independence
    Online access enables more flexibility in collaboration. Colleagues don't have to sit in the office together to be able to work collaboratively. It is also possible for one employee to be in the home office while the other is working on a company trip.
  • Direct feedback
    Everyone involved can see directly what others have been working on. You can give feedback, make suggestions for improvement or express an opinion. Processes can thus be run through faster.

Requirements for collaborative work

The technical requirements for collaborative work are no longer a problem these days. Companies have fast and stable Internet connections as well as working computers and the necessary software. If these basic requirements are not met, investments should first be made before starting collaborative work.

However, the technical infrastructure is of no use when teams don't use them properly. It is therefore important that the employees are ready to accept the form of work and get involved with it. In addition, companies don't just have to introduce tools (e.g. Asana, Basecamp or Bitrix24) for collaborative work. Rather, they have to prepare and train their employees and teams in a targeted manner. Important questions are, for example ...

  • What are the company's goals in introducing collaborative tools and working methods?
  • What advantages does collaborative work offer employees compared to previous work methods?
  • Which points and principles should employees observe when working collaboratively?
  • How flexible can and may collaborative work in the company be designed?
  • What expectations does the boss associate with the introduction of collaborative work?

Most of the questions mentioned can not only serve as a guide for employees. They are also suitable for management and supervisors as a planning basis for the introduction and preparation of collaborative work.

3 essential tips for working together

Many companies try collaborative work - sometimes as a targeted concept, sometimes unconsciously. But the approach is not equally successful everywhere. A problem can be that the above-mentioned prerequisites are not met and, for example, the team does not get involved in the new form of cooperation.

However, errors can be observed again and again in the implementation, which lead to the failure of the collaboration. So that the introduction of collaborative work in your team works and you can enjoy the benefits in the long term, we have put together three tips for you that you should keep in mind when implementing:

Keep roles and responsibilities flexible

Flexibility is an important factor for successful collaborative work. Clear structures, assigned tasks and responsibilities are firmly anchored in the minds of many employees. Collaborative collaboration works best when companies create greater freedom for their employees. Everyone should be assigned tasks according to strengths and know-how, not according to defined roles within the team.

Use the concept sensibly

With all the advantages of collaborative work, the following applies: Reflect on the areas in which it really makes sense. It is not necessarily suitable for a team to work together on every task and every project. Sometimes it makes more sense if one employee takes care of it alone or the supervisor distributes the subtasks individually.

Check implementation and success

The one-time introduction of collaborative work does not promise success. Rather, it requires constant adaptation and improvement. Keep an eye on the results, collect feedback and regularly check whether the cooperation is bringing the desired effects. With this review, collaboration within the team will improve over time.

Collaborative work for employer branding

Not only teams and employees, companies too can benefit from well-organized collaborative work. In addition to greater productivity and employee satisfaction, collaborative work enables various offers to present yourself as an attractive employer. Flexible working hours, home office regulations and the possibility of teleworking are in great demand among many talents on the job market.

Correctly used companies position themselves with cooperation as a workplace in which the sense of togetherness plays a major role. Instead of elbow company and constant competition, it can be a unique selling point if the team is in the foreground. For this to succeed, the company has to align its employer branding accordingly. It is not enough to just introduce collaborative work internally. Only open communication to the outside world and a corresponding image as an employer make the company interesting for potential applicants.

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