Communication and Teamwork Are Key to Any Collaboration in the Workplace.
The Business Directory defines Team Collaboration as “the process of working collaboratively with a group of people in order to achieve a goal.” So, when individuals band together to solve a common problem, that’s team collaboration.
It can happen anywhere. At your desk, in the boardroom, remotely or in the lobby, and according to research, teams are the most effective way of realising organisational tasks and goals.
Collaboration works because it encourages a mix of expertise, ideas and perspectives to come together to reach a common goal and find answers to important questions that would be harder to answer if people were working separately. Collaboration only succeeds when you have two ingredients: communication and teamwork.
86% of respondents to a Fierce inc. study reported a lack of collaboration or effective communication was responsible for workplace failures. A lack of workplace collaboration can be a sign that a company isn’t reaching its full potential. This is why the communication issues need to be addressed immediately to enhance a team’s performance.
Teamwork and communication are becoming easier in the modern age, with technology making remote work viable and in many instances, more preferable than working in the office. With that said, keeping everyone in the loop across multiple locations has its challenges.
The key is empowering and bettering employee cohesion to improve communication and teamwork. With that in mind…
Here are 14 Tips for Enhancing Your Workplace Collaboration and Teamwork
1. Take Advantage of Alternative Communication Channels
Communication works best when it’s flowing unhindered, and the biggest culprit of ineffective communication is email.
The McKinsey Global Institute found that the average employee devotes around 13 hours of their attention to email a week. This means the amount of time being spent on email rather than working is having a detrimental effect on productivity and can actually get in the way of teamwork, rather than helping it.
According to Radicati’s Email Statists Report, 2015-2019, there were 2.6 billion email users in 2015. This number is expected to grow to over 2.9 billion by the end of 2019.
The main communication obstacle with Email is that it can go back and forth and can be counterproductive when it comes to sharing files receiving feedback from colleagues and keeping conversations on point and in context.
Keep communications between team members open by integrating a chat system into your working day. That allows colleagues to have their questions answered by other members when they can, with the added benefit of having all responses and replies in one place and searchable at any time.
To improve your communication and teamwork you have to make communication easier between your team and other teams within your organisation!
2. Sharing of Files
There’s nothing worse than having to sift through emails and hard drives for important documents that have gone missing, never mind having to send the same document back and forth to another colleague with minor adjustments all day—eventually losing the amended version and being stuck with the original draft!
For a faster and more accountable way of sharing files, utilise a file sharing app in your working day. They are useful for users to share and receive different file types from other users, anywhere in the world. This means that sending files, designs and images can go straight to the recipient, saved, amended and sent back without being lost in a mountain of emails.
Tameday’s files and notes system allows you to keep all relevant documentation in one place within the project or team. Tameday allows you to share word docs, images and PDFs with your team instantly. Instead of having to store files in a hard drive and Dropbox, storing files in a project in Tameday keeps all files together to simplify file sharing.
3. Hot Desking
Hot desking has become an ever-increasing trend in the last few years, but can it be beneficial for improving communication and teamwork?
Hot desking allows team members to move between workspaces and interact with others who may have differing expertise. This is beneficial for improving communication between colleagues and departments, facilitating fast communication and encouraging teamwork.
Hot desking allows employees to share space and desks, expediting communication with other colleagues and learning other ways to approach their tasks. Moving around new people encourages fresh professional relationships, increased inter-department communication and teamwork.
Vodafone recently carried out a study that hot desking can save UK companies around £34 billion per year by reducing office costs and space.
A vital feature of hot desking is the sense of social freedom that comes with it. Without the constraints of a specific desk, employees moving around in a building can meet new people, providing a means for collaboration between different teams regardless of where they are, opening more relaxed communication channels for future office teamwork.
4. Don’t Settle for Your Current Communication and Teamwork Software
As workplaces are evolving, so must the software you’re using. Getting stuck in the habit of using the same software for years on end can harm your productivity, jar communication and keep you in your old ways of working as a team.
Finding the right software that meets your team’s needs and the needs of your business can be tricky but rewarding if you’re willing to step out of your comfort zone.
Find a modern Project Management or Team Collaboration tool. Team collaboration apps usually have everything in one place so there’s no need to check different apps to stay up-to-date. Tools can help with streamlining teamwork and setting up teams and projects to share details, assign tasks and add deadlines when working with your team. This allows communication to happen within the office or remotely.
To improve communication with your team, use a chat feature to keep everyone in communication with each other. With some project management apps you can assign work, open discussions, share files and set up events for your team. Having a clear a dashboard to clearly see your notifications and work, with clear accountability for everyone to see who’s working on what and when things are due improves teamwork.
The old ways of everyone working in silos are over!
5. Video Conferencing
If you’re working remotely it can be hard to fully connect with your team. Remote working colleagues can start to feel isolated and, as a result, their productivity can suffer. One solution could be keeping colleagues in touch over video communication.
Gallup released a survey that “43% of American employees spent at least some time working remotely” and 83% of employees use technology to collaborate in real time with people in different locations, with Polycom releasing statistics that video conferencing can aide in employee engagement, leading to better communication. 94% of those who responded said that video conferencing has increased their productivity.
The stats speak for themselves: it’s harder to effectively communicate and work as a team when you’re not in the office. Talking face to face with another member of your team can improve your communication and get rid of any missing non-verbal communication.
6. Reducing Inefficiencies in Meetings
Meetings can be a waste of time and money and can quickly become a one-person talking shop. Meetings can often be a place where colleagues feel that they can’t get their ideas fully heard, so instead of meetings increasing communication and teamwork they are actually getting in the way of it!
Fuze.com released a study on meetings and how much time is wasted having them. The study states that 15% of an organisation’s collective time is spent in meetings. Spending time in meetings can hinder productivity and get in the way of collaboration opportunities.
The key is spending less time in meetings and more time communicating ideas to everyone in a space where opinions can be recorded, actioned and appreciated.
Cut down on meetings to improve communication and teamwork by using a Project Management and team collaboration app that can do away with meetings altogether!
Instead of having meetings, engage with in-app discussions and chats that can include colleagues who are working remotely. Everyone’s opinion and ideas can be heard and responded to, with a decision being reached much more quickly.
7. Define Roles and Goals
“Nothing hinders teamwork and communication more than uncertainty.”
Teamwork relies on excellent communication, so before embarking on a piece of work, each team member should be able to communicate what is expected of them and what the desired end result will be.
For this to work, it is best to keep messages and goals short. Too many steps and goals can be miscommunicated and misinterpreted, leading to missed deadlines and incomplete work to a sub-standard. Regular communication between management and team members gets rid of any doubt of what the task at hand comprises.
To improve teamwork communication its best practice to define each member’s role and what successes are expected of them. Having defined roles makes it easier for team members to ask questions and build trust and ultimately makes them feel responsible for their own work.
If each employee’s role and responsibilities are clearly defined, there are higher chances of quality collaboration and sharing of work. This also works clearly when you have different groups of people from different departments working together. If every member has their own defined role then they are fully aware of what they can bring to their team, feeling a sense of value and pride when the task is completed.
8. Regular Collaborative Feedback
Bob Dignen when writing about feedback in 2014 said that “If we think we’re not doing it (providing feedback), we’re a dangerous communicator(…) it means we are probably not managing communication effectively.”
Feedback is an open opportunity for managers and team members to communicate with each other.
Feedback is a great indicator of how your business is communicating and working together. It can show if there are any pitfalls in the processes of giving feedback, receiving it and acting on it.
Effectively communicating feedback means having the best interests of each team member and the team at heart, that means having specific examples of where they can improve and encouraging your team to ask as many questions as possible.
Feedback is best-delivered face-to-face or on video call, as feedback via email can sometimes be misinterpreted. Feedback delivered in writing through a team collaboration app means that a record of feedback is kept and can be accessed at a later date to compare to other sets of feedback received.
Providing constructive feedback makes your team feel valued, especially if receiving feedback when working as part of a team. Constructive criticism when correctly communicated can help your team be motivated for change.
If you’re on the receiving end of feedback it’s best to ask as many questions as possible on how you can improve. Feedback is a two-way street!
Hearing what a team has done well and what it needs to improve on will only strengthen team performance and copper-fasten teamwork in the future.
9. Openness and Transparency
At the Summit 2013, Elon Musk said “Anyone at Tesla can and should email/talk to anyone else according to what they think is the fastest way to solve a problem for the benefit of the whole company”.
The best way to promote communication and improve teamwork within an organisation is to remove as many barriers to communication as possible. That means, making it easier for colleagues to communicate their ideas to each other when working as a team, and as a team communicating with management.
Using a company-wide chat tool means that questions can be asked to anyone at any time and a record of responses can be kept.
Encouraging your team to ask as many questions as possible can help solve problems and gives team members a platform to spread their ideas to other teams and colleagues.
According to a study carried out by Credit Donkey in 2015, people spend between 70% and 80% of their day engaged in some form of communication, and about 55% of their time is devoted to listening, with only around 17%-25% of that being remembered.
That means listening is probably the most important form of communication in the workplace when forming a professional relationship.
Having respect for each team member’s opinion, allowing them to be heard and encouraging active feedback can remarkably boost a team’s ability to work well together.
Hosting a small get together to allow a team to run through each person’s ideas and thoughts provides a valuable space for communication to flourish. An attentive and responsive team works well when there is trust and engagement.
11. Use Post-work Activities to Improve Communication and Morale
There’s no better way to improve communication and teamwork than having a good time!
Encouraging activities between teams outside of hours is as beneficial as it is enjoyable. Engaging in team building exercises or even going to the bar after working hours allows team members to take their professional hat off and get to one another a little better, feeling freer to talk about non-work related issues.
Getting to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses in a relaxed setting can help when it comes to working together on a work project on Monday morning.
The most important takeaways from team building are to build trust, develop communication and remove any barriers that would be present in a working environment, all leading to improved communication and a refreshed approach to teamwork.
Why Not Give Tameday a Try to Improve Your Communication and Teamwork?
Tameday lets you chat, share files, add to-dos, reminders and discussions with everyone in your organisation, wherever they are in the world. It gives your team the freedom to manage their own workloads and communicate files, notes and work effortlessly with everyone.
It’s free to get started, so why not give it a try and see if work flows better, your team collaborates more effectively, and more stuff gets done?