Collaboration among employees is one of the major factors that contribute to the success of any business. This notion is quite easy to comprehend but very difficult to implement into practice, as there are many stumbling blocks that you might have never heard about. In this article, we’ll explore the most effective ways to establish and boost collaboration between employees.
What collaboration among employees is and why it matters
Before we get into the specifics, it’s vitally important to understand what collaboration among employees is to be able to use this notion correctly. By collaboration we usually mean a collective exchange of ideas, points of view and opinions within a group of people in order to achieve some common goals, whether it be delivering a project, launching a new product in the market or conducting marketing research.
To make collaboration between employees better, the team needs to be united and open to new ideas and innovations. As a rule, collaboration requires everyone to take part in collective decision making. If for some reason someone is not involved in the process of collaborative work, it gets hard for the whole team to achieve success.
Collaboration is important because it enables employees to be more productive and more effective in their work, especially compared to individuals working on projects alone. It also makes employees more accountable, which helps to considerably increase their motivation and develop a sense of responsibility.
Collaboration vs Teamwork among employees
When talking about collaboration, you might find it easy to confuse it with teamwork, as both notions are often treated as synonyms. However, it’s not true. Collaboration and teamwork have a lot in common because both notions imply collective efforts to achieve a certain goal. The main difference between collaboration and teamwork is how the goal is achieved.
When it comes to teamwork, there is a kind of hierarchy with a leader who delegates tasks to other team members depending on their skills and expertise. It’s the leader who makes all decisions and bears responsibility.
In its turn, collaboration is when team members are treated as equals, and everyone has the right to make a contribution to the common cause by coming up with their own ideas.
Main benefits of collaboration
Why should companies encourage collaboration among employees? There are several main reasons:
- Collaboration promotes self-analysis and personal development. It allows employees to think about and evaluate their strengths and weaknesses when working towards a common goal. Two heads are better than one, so teams usually work better when everyone takes advantage of their skills and relies on the expertise of other team members.
- Collaboration helps you learn new things. When you collaborate with other employees by exchanging ideas and opinions, you inevitably learn something new even if you don’t realize it. Some of your colleagues might be better than you at project management, and you can improve your project management skills during the collaboration process.
- Collaboration contributes to better problem solving. Problems may arise at any moment, and an intense exchange of points of view can help to elaborate a balanced approach to any of them. The more closely you collaborate, the better. If you can’t solve a problem, just ask other employees for advice.
5 ways to improve collaboration among employees
Now that you know which benefits effective collaboration has, let’s have a look at a few best ways to get your team to collaborate effectively and improve teamwork among employees:
- Communicate the right vision to your team. Make sure the common objectives are clear and achievable to make everyone go in the same direction.
- Allow team members to bring fresh perspectives. If your team is a mix of motivators, inspirational thinkers and hard-working employees, just let them be who they are and contribute their expertise.
- Provide the right software tools. Whatever it may take, it’s vitally important to find the right set of tools and applications that facilitate collaboration, especially if your team works remotely. It may mean having daily meetings in Zoom every day or implementing collaborative software, such as Microsoft 365, Google Workspace or ONLYOFFICE Workspace, to help employees work more effectively even from the comfort of their homes.
- Make your team work as a whole. If you bring together a group of talented people, this doesn’t guarantee success. However, if you manage to get all employees to feel they are part of something bigger, you may expect good results. Team building activities, like informal meetings and gatherings in a cafe or restaurant, really work in this case.
- Grant freedom. Don’t over-control your team because it can kill the creativity of employees and prevent the collaboration process from being effective.
Make collaboration easier with ONLYOFFICE
In an era when remote teams are becoming more and more widespread, it’s essential to have special collaborative software that can allow each employee to have access to the common collaborative environment. Fortunately, today there are plenty of tools and applications that make the collaboration process as effective as possible. Some of the well-known examples of such software include Zimbra, Twake, Microsoft 365, Google Workspace, etc.
Let’s get into practice and discover how to collaborate better on the example of ONLYOFFICE Workspace, a comprehensive collaborative platform.
1. Keep your documents in one place and share them with a couple of clicks. Electronic document workflow is what every company deals with on a daily basis. In ONLYOFFICE Workspace, you can organize a secure storage environment for all your documents, spreadsheets and presentations. You don’t need to switch from one file-sharing platform to another to have all your documents at hand. With ONLYOFFICE, you can connect all your accounts to a single workspace. If you need to share something, you can choose from various access permissions making sure that only the required users can open your document and perform certain operations:
- Full access;
- Form filling;
Of course, you can change the access permission at any time. If you need to share a file with a non-user of your portal, just generate an external link and send it by email.
2. Collaborate on documents in real time. For remote teams, it’s important to be able to co-edit all types of content online without having to exchange endless document versions via email. With ONLYOFFICE Workspace, you can make the most of real-time co-authoring due to a full set of collaborative features — AutoSave, Version History, Track changes, comments, user mentions, etc. Using the ONLYOFFICE online editors, you have the freedom to switch between two co-editing modes depending on what you need. For traditional document collaboration in real time, choose the Fast mode, and all your edits will be shown to other collaborators instantly. For more private co-editing, activate the Strict mode, and what you type will become visible only after you click the Save Button.
Also, the ONLYOFFICE online editors allow you to resolve and delete comments all at once. Now you don’t have to review each comment one by one. With a single click, you can resolve or delete all comments in the whole document, all comments in a specific abstract or all your own ones.
3. Collaboratively work on projects. Working on projects together is the cornerstone of any successful business. The Projects module offered by ONLYOFFICE Workspace makes it possible to create individual or group projects and keep track of how well your team deliver them. Create tasks, subtasks, milestones and assign responsible users. Build Gantt charts to analyse the progress of each project. Create discussions to exchange ideas and opinions in real time.
4. Build customer relationships together. Using the built-in CRM system, your team members and you are allowed to create customer databases and add customer contacts so that you can access all important information about your clients in one place. Keep track of potential sales and generate leads by embedding a special web form on your website. Create invoices and send them by email without leaving the module. Generate sales reports and analyse them with your team.
5. Exchange emails with ease. Although sending emails is becoming more and more obsolete, many people still prefer this method of communication. In ONLYOFFICE Workspace, you can create separate corporate mailboxes for all your employees and even keep all your accounts in one place by connecting third-party services, like Gmail. The Mail module is linked to other modules, so you can attach files from Documents or CRM contacts. Always be in touch with your team via email.
6. Communicate online. Communication is the key to effective collaboration. In ONLYOFFICE Workspace, you can communicate with other team members in different ways. When co-editing documents in real time, you can leave comments and exchange text messages through the built-in chat. You can also add the Telegram plugin making it possible to connect your Telegram account and chat with your team right in the document. Also, there is a separate text messaging app that allows you to send and receive messages online.
ONLYOFFICE Workspace is a collaborative office that comes with an online office suite and a full-featured collaboration platform with document and project management, email, calendaring, CRM and social networking tools. The solution allows you to securely organize collaboration among employees, whether it be in the cloud or on a private server.
If you prefer another collaborative platform, you can integrate ONLYOFFICE Docs to enable real-time document editing and co-editing with your current solution.