time lapse photo of busy train station
PHOTO: Karen Lau

Collaboration. Seamless Communication. Teamwork. 

For most organizations, leveraging these pillars to secure long-term success can seem like a mystery — and a frustrating one at that. However, businesses can start to achieve advanced productivity by using innovative digital solutions coupled with clear governance strategies to develop a foundation of efficient processes. 

Why the Push for Increased Productivity?

In the past, realizing advanced productivity was relatively straightforward. But now, as businesses are rapidly becoming more decentralized, it’s becoming increasingly difficult. This decentralization is due in part to the global embracement of a more remote workforce, but also because organizations are experiencing upwards of 80% more workplace collaboration than before. 

For one of the first times in history, companies have access to a highly educated, specialized and multi-generational workforce who — given their varying degrees of exposure to technological advancements — have learned to communicate in very different ways.

What Makes a Good Collaboration Tool?

Many resources provide in-depth guidance on what a true collaborative workplace should include, but above all else, the best digital workplaces are completely unified. They also include fundamental capabilities such as: enterprise chat, enterprise search, document collaboration and co-authoring, electronic processes and real-time video conferencing. In order to attain the highest level of productivity possible, an engaging, integrated, multi-channel collaboration solution must exist, and be both easily accessible and adoptable. In addition, it needs a feedback loop in place for end-users to express what works and what doesn’t, so the tool can be iterated and updated accordingly. 

Related Article: Drafting a Blueprint for a Successful Digital Workplace

Collaboration Overload Is Real

As hard as it might be to believe, collaboration overload is real. It happens when people spend too much time collaborating and not enough time executing. Unfortunately, despite all its benefits, today’s technology has made collaboration overload all too common. This type of “ad hoc collaboration” can inhibit decision making, derail strategy, and even hurt productivity instead of helping it. 

However, sustainable collaboration involves putting functional communication processes in place, while simultaneously understanding that not everything needs to be a collaborative effort. It’s all about finding and striking the right balance in your organization, team, department, etc. 

Related Article: Overloaded and It Feels So Good: How Information Overload Affects Us Today

Governance Is Critical for Collaboration Success

Sustainable collaboration is most likely to be achieved when collaboration directives have been purposefully put into place and are backed by leadership. But to drive productivity and realize productivity gains through collaboration, there must be governance.

The complexity of an organization’s structure will likely determine how detailed collaboration governance policies need to be. It’s fine to start small, as long as you establish some kind of guidelines. Tools like Microsoft Teams can seem simple at first, but proper governance is still critical. 

Don’t be overwhelmed by governance. Sometimes something as simple as a conference whiteboard outlining meeting etiquette, or a best practices whitepaper can suffice. Last but not least, make sure any policies you put in place cover both the collaboration process itself, as well as directives on how to use specific tools and applications. 

Related Article: Governance Still Matters in the Digital Workplace

Get Started on the Path to Sustainable Collaboration

Some simple steps will set you on the path to sustainable collaboration and better teamwork:

  1. Understand the landscape and what other companies are doing.
  2. Familiarize your organization with the collaboration capabilities available in today’s digital workplace tools (like Microsoft Teams or Slack).
  3. Run some pilot programs, test and learn.
  4. Empower your employees to leverage modern technology to innovate more rapidly as business solutions continue to evolve. 

So you want to be a leading business who is advancing productivity? Now is the time to learn how to use collaboration to drive productivity.