Identifying Collaboration Needs in the Workplace

Studies show that professionals who collaborate in the workplace are more efficient and deliver better results than their peers who fail to do so. In a hallmark study a few years ago, Cisco pinpointed 10 different business outcomes resulting from collaboration—increased productivity, more shared knowledge, and improved communications topping the list.

While some enterprises still grasp to retain fixed workplace environments where workers are assigned permanent workspaces and expected to come to the office five days a week and sit in that workspace 9 to 5, the numbers are dwindling. At the very least, most organizations are embracing hybrid workplace policies where workers have the flexibility to work from home and/or from virtual office locations such as coworking spaces closer to their home residences at least some of the time.

Fostering Collaboration with Remote Workers

When it comes workplace collaboration, the reality is that it can happen in all workspace environments. In the case of remote workers or those who spend most of their time working from home offices or virtual office spaces, recent studies such as the one by Connect Solutions reveal that those who work remotely are more productive than those who go to an assigned location. In addition to being more productive, these remote workers tend to put in more hours—6 to 7 hours per week on average.

To ensure these remote workers achieve or exceed the same levels of collaboration as their on-site peers, organizations need to adhere to a handful of recommendations:

  • Onboarding new workers.

    New employees typically start new roles with some sense of uncertainty that comes with questions and concerns. Additionally, the first few weeks in a new job often are critical in establishing new relationships and directing the new employee on corporate culture, team roles and responsibilities, individual members of teams, executive leaders, among others. Here, organizations need to ensure they have onboarding processes and programs in place to ensure that their remote workers hit the ground running and have an opportunity to form relationships with other peers.
  • Collaboration tools.

    The emergence of digital, cloud-based tools used for instant messaging, video conferencing, document sharing, and project management make it possible for remote workers to engage with their peers in real time by erasing the distance separating them.
  • Optimization of work schedules.

    While remote employees may not be tethered to a 9-to-5 schedule, this does not mean they can work just any time. In this case, workers need to keep colleagues apprised of their work schedules and availability and may need to maintain time management to track time worked (depending on their roles and the nature of the business).
  • Collaboration opportunities.

    Even remote workers sometimes require facetime with other professionals. Coworking spaces give organizations an opportunity to provide their remote workers with a venue where they can network and interact with other professionals. As coworking spaces normally include workers from various industries, professions, and company sizes, remote workers gain a wide spectrum of experiences when working from coworking spaces.
  • Face-to-face meetings.

    Whether employees are in the same metropolitan area or scattered across the country, time spend in face-to-face sessions is important to facilitating collaboration. Coworking spaces or rented conference rooms such as Davinci Meeting Rooms are great venues to consider—as they come with lobby greeters/receptionists, administrative services, beverage and catering services, and more.

Stimulating Collaboration in the Workspace

For professionals working from virtual offices spaces or even fixed office locations, workspace collaboration is a top topic of discussion for many workers. In the case of coworking spaces, a recent study shows professionals working from a coworking location are 84% more engaged and motivated, 80% more likely to turn to other members for help and guidance, and 89% happier. So, what are some of the things that organizations can do to stimulate a collaborative workspace—whether in a coworking space or a fixed office location?

  • Open discussion.

    Providing team members with a chance to voice ideas and opinions leads to better engagement and can lead to more productive meetings. Here, participants need to actively listen to the concerns of others, analyze problems without assigning blame, brainstorm solutions to problems, and work to build consensus about goals and processes.
  • Group brainstorming.

    In instances where the topic is confined to specific issues or problems, group brainstorming enables teams to tap the ideas and expertise of the entire team to pinpoint a solution.
  • Mixed-skills teams.

    Just as companies need to build diverse teams, they need project teams with mixed skills—both types and levels. Research shows mixed-skills project teams perform better, identifying and executing faster and achieving better outcomes than those lacking skills diversity.

Numerous positive business outcomes result from workspace collaboration. Following are a few of the most noteworthy:

  • Faster-paced innovation
  • Increased efficiencies
  • Employee skill-building
  • Increased employee satisfaction
  • Understanding of the bigger picture
  • Better customer engagement and satisfaction

Collaboration is a business requisite. Regardless of whether workers are remote or work in fixed or virtual collaborative workspaces, they must leverage the right technology tools and resources to ensure they optimize collaboration opportunities.


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