The main barriers to collaborative working taking off in your organisation

Posted by Niall Sullivan

16-Oct-2017 08:00:00

barriers to collaborative working

Failing to collaborate is becoming a big problem for organisations.

The results of a survey by Salesforce suggest that 86% of the participants believe that lack of collaboration was responsible for workplace failures.

So what is holding organisations back? The risk of collaboration failure? Or maybe they’re just not sure how they can improve it in their workplaces?

In this blog post, we’re going to look at the main barriers to collaborative working and how they can be overcome.

Distance

global mobile workforce

Whether it's a fellow team member or a key stakeholder from another organisation, there will have been times when you have had to work with people based in different parts of the country…. or even the world!

Logistically this is a nightmare. There is no way you can realistically meet up with everyone individually. You would never get anything done!

It’s not about to slow down either. The global mobile workforce is expected to reach 1.87 billion people by 2022, which means that you will need to find a solution to this problem.

Luckily, collaboration software is bridging this gap. Using secure online workspaces, people can share and collaborate on documents together, use shared calendars, create surveys and much more.

Even better, they can do this anywhere on any device, as long as they have an internet connection.

Time

How many times have you tried to talk to someone only for them to say ‘I don’t have time.’ Quite often I would guess.

There is another way to think about it though. Have you ever considered that it isn’t that you don’t have enough time, it’s just that you don’t use it as efficiently as you should?

Stay on track - Download our essential time management checklist

A lack of time management amongst staff is costing organisations dearly. This is clear when you consider that wasted time costs UK businesses £80bn per year.

Procrastination is one of the biggest triggers for this. According to some researchers, procrastination has more than quadrupled in the last 30 years!

To combat this, try and focus on one project at a time and set yourself daily, weekly and monthly goals to help stay on track.

Unengaged employees

bored at work

A report by Gallup has found that only 13% of employees working for an organisation around the world are engaged with the work that they’re doing.

This is strange considering there are plenty of reasons why employee engagement is crucial to the success of an organisation.

A lack of engagement from your team members can certainly effect collaboration.

Increase employee engagement within your organisation with our 5 point checklist.

Think about it. If they’re unwilling to fully engage with your project, why would working with other people change their mindset?

However, don’t despair. There are plenty of employee engagement ideas that you can try.

Take Facebook for example. They obviously know what they’re doing as they regularly appear at the top of happiest employee polls.

Their one key philosophy is to allow their employees access to as much information about their company as possible. This kind of openness creates trust between the two parties.

This is easy to replicate within your team. Allow them to voice their opinions via forums, (using a secure project extranet is a great way to do this,) so that they feel like they’re making an important contribution to the success of your project.

Company culture

A clear company culture that encourages teamwork and creativity is crucial to breaking down the barriers to collaborative working.

Unfortunately, this is not the case for a lot of organisations, with 64% of all employees not feeling that they have a strong work culture.

A shift in company culture isn’t easy. There might be certain people who are stuck in their ways or simply do not like change.

Increasing creativity is even harder. According to one survey, 80% of people in the UK found that were under increasing pressure to be productive rather than creative at work.

A balance of the two is what’s needed. Yes you want to be productive, but you also want to encourage team members to create ideas and new innovations.

Encouraging collaboration is proven to help with innovation. According to Fresh Consulting, it is a central theme to this because of:

  • Associations - Our half ideas associated with other people’s half ideas can make whole innovative ideas.
  • Speed - Speed is crucial to delivering innovation before others do
  • Connections - Collaboration with others expands your social circle of connections to make things happen.
  • Energy - New ideas are often borne into a hostile environment and a team of people can provide the support to push them through.
  • Implementation - Innovation results from implementation of a complete solution or idea.

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Topics: collaboration tools, online collaboration