July 4, 2018
Is Friendship a Necessity for Effective Collaboration?
Written by Philip Cornell
We all know the person in the office that invites everybody over to their house for drinks Friday night, week after week. And of course this might be effective for bonding with your coworkers, but frankly you have lifelong friends that you would rather hang out with. So how do you form a team to effectively do your job while also not becoming best friends with everybody at the office? I am going to talk a little about how to establish effective workplace collaboration without necessarily becoming best friends with your coworkers.
First, is workplace collaboration even necessary? In a recent survey done by Work.com, 97% of workers surveyed agreed that the amount of collaboration is directly correlated with the outcome of the project. Collaboration is also important to utilize teamwork outside of the workplace. A team that effectively collaborates will be able to share ideas that they have while they are not sitting in the cubicle next to each other, but also while they are in their respective homes or on the road. Only 3% of the people surveyed by Idea Champions said that they have their best ideas while physically at work, so the vast majority of good ideas need to be effectively communicated without the ease of face to face interaction. Thus, collaboration is obviously a necessity for a successful workplace.
So how do you set up an appropriate balance between friendship and teamwork? As I noted earlier, a lot of collaboration comes when neither party is at work, but email is a decidedly ineffective to communicate. Instead try an alternative like Slack, which will automatically separate regular spam that you will get in your email inbox from the important message from your coworker that you will receive on slack, a completely different app. Just a simple download can easily sort through the average of 122 business emails a day received by the average worker to tell you which ones are from your team members, which leads to impressive collaboration with no BFF needed.
Another way to reduce wasted time is by focusing on streamlining meetings, which is the main way that offices collaborate. 15% of company time is spent in meetings, but according to Lead Generation, 67% of meetings are considered failures by executives. This is either due to employees multitasking during the meeting (which 70% of people have admitted to) or to those that are working remotely and calling in not feeling like they are actually part of the meeting. The easiest way to optimize this meeting time is to keep the meetings short. Don’t ramble on or over explain things, better to have people engaging and asking questions on things they are unclear about rather than wasting valuable time over explaining everything. Second, to make sure that remote workers are actually part of the meeting, have them video in instead of just call in on the line. That way they can see body language of the meeting, but also you can keep an eye on them to make sure that they are actually engaged, not just leaving their phone on speaker while surfing the web.
So yes, workplace collaboration is tough, but you don’t need to be best friends with all of your coworkers to establish efficient teamwork within your office. Rather simple tools like implementing slack to differentiate regular business emails from messages from your team. Also, to reduce wasted time on meetings, try to focus on keeping them brief and allowing remote workers to video in rather than be on speaker phone. With these extremely easy tactics, you can increase workplace collaboration and put your team on the fast track to efficiency.