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Link between team collaboration and productivity in the modern world of work

The COVID 19 pandemic has taught us many things; the biggest of those lessons is perhaps the realization that we as humans cannot live without other humans. The lockdown led to severe isolation cutting people from their loved ones and colleagues making them crave for human connection. 

This extreme isolation was also felt in workplaces as people were working remotely from their homes. With the world rapidly shifting to remote work, many corporations were forced to revamp their work policies to adjust to it. One work practice that was particularly affected was collaboration and teamwork; Microsoft observed a decline in collaboration and teamwork after being shifted to remote work. 

Now that the pandemic is over (not literally) and the lockdowns have been lifted (thankfully!) the world is still not ready to let go of remote work. Rightfully, as remote work comes with a huge set of advantages. It is cost efficient, not just for employees but for companies as well. The work hours are more flexible (depending on the organization of course), people get to work from the convenience of their homes and in general it makes work-life balance easier. 

One concern however still remains: collaboration in remote work. While many organizations have adapted well to it, some are still struggling. Regardless, it is extremely important to incorporate collaboration in remote work. Way more important than it is for on-site work.

If done correctly, studies have shown that remote collaboration can actually increase employee productivity. In fact, it has been estimated that digital collaboration increases employee productivity up to 30%. Here’s how:

Collaboration reduces workplace isolation and loneliness:

One thing about remote work is that it can get extremely lonely and boring. As much as we would like to have our own space from time to time- in the long run we cannot work efficiently when we are isolated from others. Many remote workers state . Social isolation then leads to a low morale, lowering the engagement of the employees, ultimately affecting their performance and productivity.  Collaboration brings employees together and allows social interaction to occur. It lets the workers socialize with others, giving them a sense of community.

It improves communication:

Whether your employees are working remotely or on-site, having strong and positive communication amongst them is an absolute must. Companies with a culture based on healthy communication tend to have a higher rate of satisfied, engaged and productive employees. In remote work, the need to have a smooth flow of communication actually increases many folds  there is an obvious lack of physical interaction. That barrier alone can lead to frequent misunderstandings and communication errors between the employees. This could further detach them from their workplace making them feel unheard and isolated.

It increases employee engagement:

It is a well-known fact that employee engagement and productivity are directly proportional, meaning the more engaged your employees are, the more productive they would be. A major contributor to high employee engagement is social interaction and workplace friendships. Employees who have friends, or good acquaintances are more likely to be engaged at their workplace. In fact, some employees prefer workplace friendships over a higher salary. Since collaboration makes social interaction occur, it can lead to building positive relationships between employees, hence increasing their engagement and productivity.

It leads to the development of a positive and thriving workplace culture:

Here’s the thing: no matter how much you pay your employees and how big of an organization you are, if you have a toxic workplace culture, your employees are not going to be happy and productive. Numerous studies have found that a negative workplace culture leads to lowered employee engagement and poorly affects their performance. One way to combat silos and toxicity in a workplace is to have frequent team building activities and collaborative projects. In remote work, a negative culture may easily develop because of the physical barrier. Hence incorporating collaboration as regular work practice is important for a positive remote workplace culture.

Utilizing remote collaboration for optimum employee productivity:

Collaboration no doubt has a positive impact on employee productivity- only if done correctly. Just putting employees together and asking them to work together is not enough. You must have solid team building and collaboration strategies and policies in place to actually see its positive results. Having a collaboration tool is a must in that regard. Studies have shown that using digital tools actually increases employee productivity by a significant percentage. Apart from using tools, having strict policies regarding workplace ethics is also important to make collaboration work. 

Remember, at the end of the day, a person working individually –no matter how hard, can never beat a team. Therefore, practicing collaboration will not only enhance employee productivity, it would lead to a generation of creative and innovative solutions that are ultimately going to work for the benefit of your organization.

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