Managing the Collaboration Culture at Workplace
Collaboration is the new keyword at workplace. More and more organizations are encouraging their employees to work together towards a common goal, which can be extremely fruitful for the organization and carries some major benefits for the employees and team members who are working together to achieve a single result.
The time spent on collaboration at workplace has increased by nearly a 50% during the last two decades while a modern day worker spends as much as 80% of their time in pursuit of collaborating tasks and team work.
On a very good day, team effort and collaboration can provide a series of benefits to everyone included in the effort including the sharing of knowledge and skills, improved flow of information, increased communication and problem solving efforts among peers. Team effort is also known to reduce the amount of stress and pressure directed on a single worker and can be counted on to deliver results at the end of the day.
However according to the recent findings published on the Harvard Business Review over 20% of the collaborative work and value added contribution spun from a small group of employees which amounts to 3-5% of the organizational workforce. Moreover the research also found that the concepts of collaboration can be highly exaggerated at sometimes and that a single ‘extra miler’ or an employee who went out of his or her scope of responsibility can drive team performance more than all the other members of the team combined.
While this can be a good news for any organization, the highly positive collaborative behavior of these top performers can turn out to be high exhaustive and time consuming to them at the end. What started as a virtuous circle of knowledge sharing and leadership can soon turn into a vicious and cannibalistic process which puts immense demand and pressure on the top collaborator.
Most of the top collaborators across organizations found that collaboration and team work was more of a bottle neck to their day to day functions and carrying out of tasks that has been specifically assigned to them. An extra miler can spend nearly 80% of their work time on meetings and other communications like email and chat conversations; connecting, sharing information and providing direction to group efforts.
These escalated roles of collaboration can also hamper the work process of the main contributor as well as the team and the increasing workload can overtax their capacity making them less effective and efficient.
More often than not the large amount of contribution made by these extra milers can go unnoticed because the requests for collaboration and assistance can come from other team and branches of the same organization or in some cases external parties like clients and other organizations.
Due to the lack of a hard and fast process to monitor the collaboration work done by these extra milers their contributions largely go unnoticed and decision makers of an organization can be left in the dark about the extra milers who deserves acknowledgement and remuneration, which in turn can lead to the loss of precious collaborative resources forever.
Following a strict but simple procedure to monitor the flow of collaborative resources may it be informational resources like knowledge and skills, social resources which include one’s awareness, access to information and their position in a network and personal resources like individual time and energy can help an organization and its decision makers identify and reward true contributors of an collaboration process.
Identifying the true role of each contributor can also help an organization streamline their collaboration culture and implement positive habits while discouraging patterns that can drain the energy out of a main collaborator.
While increasing the collaborative efficiency of an organization requires a 360 degree approach, implementation of an internal communication tracking method and a comprehensive task assignment and management system can provide the organizational leadership as well as project managers and team leaders with a better picture of the organization’s collaborative process.
Using a comprehensive task and project management tool like OPPTIMO can provide a clear picture of the flow of tasks and responsibilities within a team as well as an organization, providing leaders and decision makers an understanding of the drift of responsibilities, duties and tasks within each scheduled project and the amount of time spend by each members on the particular task.
OPPTIMO also provides the flexibility of managing all the internal requirements of a team within the same application. Each team member can maintain a personal to do list while other members too can request help or assign tasks through this application. Most importantly OPPTIMO also helps the team members see the amount of work assigned to and handled by other members, allowing them schedule their requests for collaborations and information according to the workload of the contributor.
As collaboration efficiency becomes an essential aspect of today’s workplace, implementing strict guidelines on workplace collaboration can make sure that main contributors are not over taxed beyond their resources and can also encourage employees strike a healthy balance between collaborations and individual initiatives, which is also an essential ingredient for organizational recipe for success.