At Spacemade, supporting effective collaboration is something we are passionate about. In fact it’s a core part of our workspace design. Light filled, open working areas, high tech meeting rooms and bespoke designed private office studios support our members to do their best work together. In the words of Henry Ford “if everyone is moving forward together, success takes care of itself”.
But why is collaboration so intrinsic to good outcomes? And is there an art to great collaboration? During the pandemic, rapid global collaboration played a vital role in tackling Covid19 and looking back, not one single country or medical expert resolved the range of vaccine solutions alone.
In this post pandemic world and global politics aside, the appetite for collaboration remains. If the growth in teamwork technologies is anything to go by, cross border connectivity is playing an even greater role in business growth and innovation.
Video conferencing technology has been doing a good job supporting remote connection with face-to-face interactions. However, Zoom fatigue has become a buzz word for the tiring effect of back to back video calls. And as for video brainstorming? It’s proven not to be a viable replacement for face to face brainstorms.
A new wave of VR technology is being developed by the Metaverse platform, Horizon Worlds as an improved digital method to enhance human engagement. Meta has applied great focus on VR experiences, 3-D mapping and hardware. In doing so, it signposts a major leap forward in both entertainment and work based interactions.
Digital innovation to enhance team collaboration is an exciting area of growth but of course, collaboration is not just about tech that joins us together. Technology cannot yet deliver the human skills required for implementing impactful collaboration. As many business and team leaders know, good collaboration can be a challenge to conquer but also highly rewarding when you do.
As a workspace business dedicated to helping human connection and collaboration thrive, we’re keen to explore and share tactics for implementing the art of collaboration in the most impactful way. And the good news is that our top tips apply whether you’re a team working within a shared work space or remotely.
So much about business success starts with positive culture! Team culture dictates how people behave and work together, so it’s important to establish the right values and attitudes for everyone in the business.
Optimising good culture goes way back to the recruitment stage - finding people that match your business values and creating an educational onboarding process. Defining clear expectations for responsibilities and communication from the outset helps people work toward a common goal.
Curating positive culture is even more important in a remote setting where it can be tougher to stay connected and aligned with the team. A strong culture ensures that even in a digital format, you maintain morale and productivity while staying engaged and inclusive.
Tools like OKRs are useful ways to commit to and share common goals but even more essential are regular team check ins that aren’t always just about work. Building a strong social bond will help support good team collaboration.
As a team leader, remember that not everyone knows the same as you. So don’t be afraid to share and communicate regularly, especially with a remote team. In case you fear ‘over communication’, you can always check with your team on a process of information sharing that works for everyone.
At the start of any project, clearly lay out responsibilities. Things are less likely to fall over when people know their deliverables and how their job affects the project and the rest of the team. Transparency and openness are key requirements for effective collaboration. Being open makes people feel like they’re part of a results driven team. And if something goes wrong, bring attention to it immediately so everyone can work together to solve the problem.
If you are starting a new work project that requires collaborative effort. Or adopting a new team working approach, it’s key for all project related information such as planners or timetables with deadlines to be accessible to everyone. Agree a timeline for collaborative check-ins and involve the whole team in the decision making around time spent together. By engaging everyone in agreeing how often you meet and what communication tools to use for specific tasks, you will create a sense of respect and enhance the best chance for collaboration.
Encourage team discussion with mutual respect. Make it a rule that everyone can voice their opinion, but once a decision is made, everyone needs to commit to it. If everyone feels heard, everyone will feel more inclined to work together. Once the structure is agreed, give your team autonomy to do their jobs. Nothing shouts team spirit better than a leader who respects their team to deliver and gets involved when requested or required.
Collaboration often works at its zenith when brainstorming new ideas and solutions. And there are some key tips on leading the best types of team brainstorms. Pre-brief everyone in advance and keep the brainstorm brief tight. Focus team thinking on a specific area and recognise that if there are other areas that also need collaborative thinking, split out into subsequent brainstorms.
Time of the day and time spent are also important considerations. Ideally brainstorm in the morning before your team’s minds get too cluttered with the day and most importantly, never drag a brainstorm beyond 45 minutes. Beyond that, people tend to flag and become distracted.
“Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much”. We hope our collaboration tips help your teamwork challenges and if you’re in search of an inspiring collaborative work space - we’re here to help!