improve team collaboration

6 Ways To Improve Team Collaboration At Work

Good collaboration is the driving force in the success of every business. And whether employees are working under the same roof or working remotely, a team can accomplish much more when people have strong relationships and communicate well.

When asked about the importance of teamwork and collaboration at work, 3 out of 4 employers consider both very important. In fact, they also said a lack of teamwork or collaboration can lead to inadequate employee performance and missed deadlines, among other problems. These other challenges resulting from poor team collaboration include: 

  • Diminished employee involvement
  • Lower levels of interpersonal trust
  • Unequal knowledge sharing
  • Lack of defined roles and responsibilities

Poor team collaboration has always created challenges in the workplace, but now with the growing work from home trend, it will become even more crucial to encourage remote communication and relationship-building. After all, teammates need to get to know each other before they can be expected to perform at their highest level. The best results come when people feel like they’re part of something bigger than themselves — part of a team. So read on to learn how you can build better relationships and improve team collaboration.

The Benefits Of Team Collaboration

The classic definition of collaboration at work refers to a group of people, internal or external, who are working towards a common goal. Whether you’re organization is for-profit or non-profit, multinational or startup — the idea and importance of collaboration remains the same. And so do the outcomes. Some of the biggest benefits resulting from workplace collaboration include:

  • Continuous innovation – At this very moment, hundreds of good ideas are floating around in the mind of each member of your team. Given the platform and the opportunity to discuss those ideas, there is no limit to what they can achieve together.
  • Improved engagement – A team has members with diverse skill sets and knowledge levels. In the right collaborative culture, they can socialize over what they know and create bonds beyond their call of duty. Engaged team members experience a 41% reduction in absenteeism and 59% less turnover
  • Improved productivity – With innovation, engagement, lesser conflicts, and ownership within the team, collaboration boosts everyday productivity.  And on a broader level, this helps companies make more money and improve employee satisfaction. Successful collaboration in the workplace often shows a 21% increase in profitability and productivity.
  • Sense of ownership – A collaboration-friendly work environment promotes a sense of ownership. When employees feel that they are seen, heard, and safe to share their thoughts, they will be willing to take charge. 
  • Faster Conflict Resolution – People deal with conflict in the workplace all the time, even the most extroverted ones. However, in a healthy work environment, they tend to resolve a dispute on their level by embracing an open mindset and listening intently.

Ways To Improve Team Collaboration

Here are some simple ways for companies and independent teams to improve team collaboration and build relationships at work. 

1. Evaluate: Find out what you’ve been doing wrong.

Before you start exploring strategies to build relationships at work and improve team collaboration, you need to evaluate your current processes. What is working? What is not working? Carry out a detailed analysis and interview people to find out what your teammates like about the current process, and what they think could be improved upon. Once you get everyone’s feedback on your current collaboration culture, you can then evaluate ways to improve it. Here are a few questions you can ask. 

  • How often do you struggle to find information?  
  • Do you feel you need better resources to collaborate internally and externally?
  • Do you feel engaged and encouraged at work? 
  • How often do you face conflicts with other team members? 
  • Do you feel a lack of trust within your team?

2. Establish: Set some ground rules for collaboration at work.

Collaboration is a common practice among businesses, but no two companies have the same collaboration strategy. That is why you have to set expectations and boundaries for your work communication. For instance, creating a communication plan for your team makes it easy for you to set and manage expectations. Establish schedules for monthly/weekly check-ins and decide on the collaboration tools your team will use to work together on a daily basis

Pro-Tip: Reduce the inbox noise. Even though it is convenient, email is not an effective means for day-to-day communication at work. When used for real-time conversations, an influx of emails can be overwhelming and the time it takes to respond back and forth is usually unproductive. Instead, try to find ways to convey your messages creatively by using beautifully crafted videos or other appealing medias.

3. Experiment: Try team collaboration and productivity tools.

Today, it is more important than ever for businesses to leverage the power of the best online collaboration and productivity tools. There are hundreds of client collaboration portals tools and task management software available out there that can keep teams on the same page at all times. And whether it’s about your explainer video production or next infographic campaigns, these tools will help you and your team keep projects on track, especially when the pressure’s on. 

Hive Project Management Goal

Hive is one of the leading collaboration and productivity tools, currently helping thousands of teams move faster every day. Hive has all of the features of a robust project management software, as well as some really helpful team collaboration tools. For example, Hive’s Zoom integration lets you start Zoom meetings right within the platform, while the chat functionality helps keep everyone connected all day long. It’s everything you need for great team collaboration — all in one single tool.

Pro-Tip: Never make decisions based on popular opinion. Evaluate your business needs before choosing a tool. The best way to go about it is to shortlist the top 5 based on your evaluation of features and pricing, take advantage of demos and free trials, and then make the best choice. Starting your search? Try Hive free for 14 days here.

4. Automate: Reduce time spent on multiple apps.

Too many workplace tools can often over-complicate your workflow and result in a lot of wasted time. The best way to avoid getting into that situation is to integrate your cloud apps and try to consolidate everything onto one platform if possible. Hive is a great example of an all-in-one workplace software, as it integrates with over 1,000 other commonly used work tools.

And if your work is currently spread across so many different apps that you don’t even know where to begin, consider using workflow automation tools to help you connect all of your different systems without having to learn any coding or technical aspect of the software. 

Pro-Tip Not sure how a workflow automation tool could help you? Here’s an example. Suppose you use Intercom for customer support, and you want to keep track of your support requests in Hive. In that case, you can use Zapier to integrate Hive and Intercom so that an action is created in Hive for every conversation started in Intercom. This automation lets you work in one single tool (Hive!) all day long, without having to write a single line of code. You can also check out a few Zapier alternatives to compare additional features and pricing options.

5. Foster: Encourage open feedback.

Instead of sharing feedback behind closed doors, develop a culture of open and ongoing feedback within your team. When you encourage team members to give and receive feedback openly, it helps people grow individually and as a group, while also creating opportunities for collaboration. 

Pro-Tip: Schedule 1:1 or team feedback sessions on a monthly or weekly basis to encourage regular sharing of constructive feedback on your team.

6. Leverage: Find ways to connect outside of work.

If you want to build relationships at work, you have to have conversations beyond “How are you doing?” and “How’s work?” To encourage teammates to open up on a more personal level, you create a safe environment where people are comfortable enough to talk to each other about interests, hobbies, and even weird stories. Do this for a while, and you will start to see improvement in your team’s dynamic. The team will be better synced, engaged, and proactive.

Another important aspect is to give everyone their due credits. Celebrate small wins of the team and of each individual. In times like these when the entire team is on remote, you can plan small virtual meetings or events to include everyone from work to come together. Virtual team building activities are a great way to build relationships online that extend beyond your typical workday interactions — you might be surprised what you can learn about your teammates in a happy hour trivia game!

Pro-Tip: Give everyone a chance to get to know each other outside of work. Plan out team lunches, outdoor activities, and team outings. If you’re working remotely, utilize virtual platforms like Zoom to plan creative activities and inspire teamwork

Ready To Make Collaboration A Priority? 

Communication is always challenging. No matter Gather a group of randomly selected individuals in one room they can’t connect and communicate right away. Something similar happens within an organization. But with the right team bonding activities and coworkplace strategies in place, you will be able to improve team collaboration and succeed as a group. 

So, what’s the delay? Put these tips to test and let great collaboration be at the core of your company, whether you’re virtual, hybrid, or back in the office.

This is a guest post written by Shalini Singh, is a creative writer and product marketer. She loves to speak her mind with clarity and logic and mainly writes on topics that are at the intersection of modern business culture and technology. When she is not writing, she is somewhere exploring a new delicacy or just sitting on the couch scrolling through random posts on Instagram. Currently, Shalini is a Content Marketer at Automate.io