The internet has changed everything, from entertainment and jobs to education and healthcare, and even our workplace. Today, we have a digital workplace where technology makes our tasks easier. However, the development of technology has not affected the need for interaction in workplaces. Employees still need to collaborate with each other on several tasks.
In this post, let us discuss in brief the various modes of collaboration modern businesses use. Understanding the types and styles of collaboration can be beneficial to employers as well as employees in several ways.
Learning about the different modes of collaboration in business helps devise a strategic approach to collaboration and develop the methods to get it right. Here are the two primary modes of business collaboration used in any type of workplace.
This type of collaboration can be best understood with an example of social tools like forums. When you are working on a task, you don't want to waste time searching for the information you need. You can quickly post a question on a collaboration platform and your colleagues may try to help you out. You can also answer questions asked by others, thereby contributing to the organization's overall productivity. It is a task-centric approach to collaboration with limited use.
Active collaboration is not based on tasks but is vision-driven. It aims to enhance existing knowledge and introduce new knowledge. This type of collaboration happens when you decide to add value to a knowledge you encounter. The latest development in collaboration tools has made it possible to build and enhance knowledge across the organization in new ways.
Some other ways to collaborate include posting or sharing knowledge to groups, adding suggestions via comments, acting on suggestions, organizing online efforts for problem-solving, and more. We can follow Groups that discuss topics of our interest and participate to share our own suggestions. Such activities contribute to organizations without any limitations of workplace boundaries.
The two main styles of collaboration for any business are – internal and external. While internal collaboration involves individuals within a team or company working together for a common objective, external collaboration refers to the sharing of information and expertise outside the organization in an attempt to get new ideas, build brand awareness, and speed up time. Such collaboration involves employees and other parties like customers and suppliers.
The most common type of internal collaboration is team collaboration that takes place when team members work together and use technologies and processes to achieve common organizational objectives. A variety of best practices can be used to boost team collaboration, some of which include, providing continuous training, using the right tools, recognizing desired behaviors, constant communication, and keeping employees engaged. There are different types of team collaboration based on how and when it happens. The most relevant of them in the current situation are remote and cloud collaboration.
Participants in a collaborative community share an interest. The goal of such a collaboration is to learn and share knowledge, rather than coming together to complete a task. Members of a community may ask questions and seek advice which they further share with their teams in the offices.
This type of collaboration starts with individuals taking action for their interests. They contribute to the network and spread their expertise to others. Nobody in the network knows other members.
An example of network collaboration is social media where people collaborate virtually without knowing each other. Everybody shares links to useful resources and those who are looking for information on the topic may use them.
Video collaboration is one of the most common types of collaboration tools businesses use today. Microsoft, Google, and other cloud providers offer virtual conference rooms to conduct meetings. Members can join meetings through their computers or mobile devices. Participants can be located either in the same office, in another office in a different region, or anywhere around the world. Team members can chat, talk in real-time, view each other's screens, and ask questions with the help of a headset.
A highly significant form of team collaboration in modern times is cloud collaboration. This technique allows multiple users to read and edit any one document in real-time at the same time. As documents are stored in the cloud, all the users permitted to access the document can see the latest version and real-time changes as they are made.
This type of collaboration is more useful in organizations where teams work with other each remotely. Remote employees can work on documents and share them without having to worry about the latest changes.
Internal collaboration can include so many strategies based on the goals and objectives of the organization.
Bulletin boards or Discussion forums are good examples of this type of communication. They have always remained an effective way to share ideas on any topic. A drawback of forums is they make it difficult to find the information an individual is looking for.
Microblogging is another powerful internal collaboration strategy that helps share messages within the organization. It is much like using Twitter for internal communication. It is generally reserved for short messages and does not promote long discussions. Team members can participate in these discussions by quickly stating their points.
A Wiki can also be set up to manage information sharing within the organization. Any number of participants can contribute to the content and make sure members always have access to up-to-date articles. Such a program requires somebody to ensure the accuracy of information submitted.
In a nutshell, effective collaboration can take several forms. The choice of the right type of collaboration method depends on your organization's culture and goals. If your workplace has embraced the latest technology, teams can use emerging tools and techniques for collaboration.
Cultivating a culture of collaboration helps align employees at different levels of the organization and connect them to achieve the overall strategic plan of the company.
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