Did you realize that 75% of employees regard collaboration at work to be important? With more people working remotely, what are you doing to promote collaboration with your team whether remote or on site? Collaboration drives productivity, team building, customer service, and employee satisfaction. This article explores some tools to help you and your team be more collaborative going forward whether you are together on site, working at home or offsite, or some hybrid situation.
Why work collaboratively?
Collaboration is identified as one of the top four skills for employee’s success in the future.
When projects fail 85% blame the failure on a lack of collaboration. Approximately the same percentage rely on some form of technology for collaboration. With these kinds of statistics and the obvious statements in the opening paragraph why would you not want to work collaboratively? With remote work forces the need for collaboration is greater than ever.
In an article by Creately the authors offer five tools for working home teams. This blog explores some of the key elements presented by Creately and implications for those under and over age 25 and what you can learn to apply where you work too.
Age matters to a degree
It turns out from neuroscience that those under age twenty-five have an ability to learn faster than those with a fully developed brain over twenty-five. Once fully developed your brain becomes more rigid and it becomes harder to learn new skills. Our brains are naturally lazy and
by age 25 our brains have developed neuro pathways that become more fixed.
In other words we get stuck in a brain rut. However, the brain is the only part of our body that can rejuvenate due to neuroplasticity, meaning you have the ability to learn new things. Think about your rituals, routines, biases, temperament, and more. What can you do to enhance this ability to learn and change positively going forward?
Give your brain mental stimulation. Do something different. Take up an instrument, gardening, art, language, volunteering, or doing something new. This will also improve your motor skills. Consider a new hobby. Exercise. It turns out that you can double the number of brain cells in the hippocampus with aerobic exercise such as swimming, biking, running, rowing, dancing, skating or other activities. Try meditation.
According to meditation specialists ‘Equisync,’ ‘Meditation is the neuroscientific community’s most proven way to upgrade the human brain’.
Meditation changes the brain’s structure and function. People who practice meditation have stronger neural connections between the different areas of the brain.[i]
Don’t worry there is still plenty of time to live and learn after age 25. You have simply peaked at age 25.
Now let us look at some collaboration tools to help you and your team, but keep in mind it may take a little longer for those over age twenty-five. Show patience and understanding given the nature of the brain. Now let us look at some collaborative tools that may help you.
This blog by Creately identified some tools for your consideration. Here is some additional commentary building on their insights.
Document and file collaboration
Being able to share documents on Google Drive and Google Docs has been shown to make teams 33% faster. Why?
- It automates the process
- If offers real time collaboration with remote employees
- It allows for timely reviews
- It enables editing, storing, sharing and access
- It allows for instant feedback.
Seventy percent of us are preferred visual learners. We like to see it. It is estimated that 60% of Generation X collaborate better through visual means.
- Ninety percent of the information transmitted to the brain is visual
- Eighty percent of the people remember what they see
- Forty percent respond better to visuals rather than texts
A cloud based visual whiteboard allows multiple participants to interact on one canvas at the same time. This tool is great for brainstorming, real time developing ideas, visualizing reports, and for sharing and getting feedback from team members.
Team messaging apps
Commonly used tools include:
- Slack – easier to administer and set up – for both work and fun
- Microsoft Teams – for larger organizations and not as easy to use
- Online meeting tool Zoom
Here are some additional thoughts on Zoom
Face to face conversations help with understanding. The attitude in communication is associated with the word (7%), the tone (38%) and the visual observations of the other person, meaning face and body language (55%).
Texts are quick and easy and preferred by younger team members.
However, a text by itself may add to miscommunication if the attitude is misinterpreted. Picking up the phone and having a conversation can help clear up misunderstandings from texts. A good rule of thumb is if you have had two iterations back and forth on a text or an email and you still are not clear with each other, it may be time to pick up the phone.
As a generalization baby boomers prefer face to face communication for more difficult topics.
If you cannot be face to face, a virtual meeting such as zoom is the next best thing.
You should use virtual meeting software like zoom:
- For video conferencing with co-workers
- Conducting remote meetings with anyone
- Conducting remote interviews
- Conducting webinars
- For screensharing
Project management software
Today 87% of high performing companies use some form of project management software. Why?
- It is easier to see where projects are in the workflow
- Companies can share status with clients
- Bottlenecks can be identified and addressed
- It is easier to collaborate with each other
- Tasks can be more clearly identified and assigned
It pays to collaborate. However, it also is important to realize we look at things differently. Identifying these differences, while focusing on strengths makes teams stronger. Using tools like Google Drive and Google Docs, shared white boards, team messaging apps, Zoom, and project management software can all help with productivity, team building, and a sense of collaboration. What are your thoughts? I would love to hear from you.
About the author
Mike Gregory is a professional speaker, an author, and a mediator. You may contact Mike directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and at (651) 633-5311. Mike has written 12 books (and co-authored two others) including his latest book, The Collaboration Effect: Overcoming Your Conflicts, and The Servant Manager, Business Valuations and the IRS, and Peaceful Resolutions that you may find helpful. [Michael Gregory, ASA, CVA, NSA, MBA, Qualified Mediator with the Minnesota Supreme Court]