5 Benefits of collaboration – and how to unleash them!

On the Pixar University crest there is a saying in Latin: Alienus Non Diutius.”

It translates to “Alone No Longer.”

Pixar University

Collaboration, and all the benefits that come with it, are deeply rooted in Pixar’s past.

In 2000, shortly after the success of Pixar’s first sequel, Toy Story 2, and shortly before the blockbuster that was Monsters Inc., the company relocated.

The original plan was to create three buildings for the three divisions of the company – one office for the computer scientists, one for the animators, and one for the Pixar executives.

Steve Jobs, owner of Pixar at the time, scrapped this idea and instead decided that everyone would share the same vast space so that they could collaborate with each other.

And this culture stuck.

According to John Lasseter, chief creative officer at Pixar, it works like this: “Technology inspires art, and art challenges technology.

There are many benefits of collaboration. In this article, we’re going to take a look at 5 of these benefits and exactly how you can unleash them in your business.

1. Increased communication

Communication is the cornerstone of collaboration. When teams talk to each other they can empathise with each other’s problems and understand what everyone needs to do the best job.

This leads to tasks being completed more efficiently, resulting in more successful projects. And, of course, on the flipside of that, clear communication reduces the likelihood of project errors and setbacks – saving time and money!

But, increased communication shouldn’t just be for the benefit of internal teams. When you focus on improving communication and collaboration with your clients you’ll see strengthened relationships and, as a result, increase the amount of repeat clients you have.

How to:

Increased communication is something that so many companies and employees crave. Yet, when it comes to implementing it, most fall at the first hurdle.

The first thing to note is – simply saying you’re going to improve communication won’t make it so.

If your team struggles with communication then ‘trying harder’ isn’t likely to help anything. The more likely explanation is that you have a process problem that needs to change.

One of the biggest culprits to blame for poor communication is email. According to our recent survey, 65% of businesses primarily use email to communicate with their clients and 39% use it as a primary communication tool between co-workers.

Unsurprisingly, this same survey found that a staggering 96% of people think that the businesses they deal with could improve when it comes to communication and project management.

Ditching email for an effective project management tool could help your teams to communicate more effectively – both with each other and clients.

Project.co’s discussion tab keeps all communications in one central place, visible to everyone involved in the project.

Project.co discussions tab

Team members and clients can also chat directly within tasks, so that everyone knows what needs to be done – and when.

Project.co tasks

Plus, email notifications ensure that people don’t have to completely give up their inbox!

Wyzowl email

The beauty of using a project management tool to improve communication and collaboration is that instead of having conversations separated in different inboxes, everyone has access to the conversation.

This ensures that even if someone is out of the office unexpectedly, there need never be a dip in communication.

2. More flexibility

Flexibility is an invaluable asset. You only need to look at the long list of defunct businesses that didn’t have the flexibility to evolve (Blockbuster. Toys R Us. MySpace) to realise that adapting to changing situations is what helps businesses stay afloat.

When your teams collaborate, they are more likely to work together to find newer (better!) ways of doing things.

Increased flexibility also works to further improve communication, as people who collaborate closely are more likely to be open to each other’s suggestions – creating a greater sense of equality among team members.

How to:

Increased flexibility in the workplace starts with creating an environment where everyone feels safe to input and give suggestions.

This can be encouraged through regular project meetings where everyone has a chance to be heard – from entry-level staff through to senior levels of management.

But, being heard is one thing and making changes is another. To really benefit from increased flexibility you need to be willing to change direction at any point in the project, if a team member offers a suggestion of a better way to do things.

This also means shedding any fear of failure. Sometimes suggestions won’t work out, but the fact that you’ve tried them will encourage team members to share their opinions more often.

After all:

“Failure is not the opposite of success, it’s part of success”

Arianna Huffington

3. Increased productivity

The biggest benefit of collaboration, when it comes to your bottom line, is increased productivity. When productivity increases, projects are completed more quickly – giving you an accelerated time to market and increased profit.

Productivity typically increases when everyone knows what their role is within each project, As long as everyone is on the same page there will be less crossed wires and delays.

And this can even reduce the amount of meetings you need. Meetings are notorious timesinks. According to a recent survey of over 2,000 office workers, 34% of people believe they waste between two and five hours every week in meetings. And 67% of workers say excessive meetings keep them from getting their best work done.

How to:

So, aside from cutting down on the amount of meetings you have, how else can you unleash the benefits of productivity?

Using a project management methodology, such as kanban, can help you to map out every stage of your project so that you have visualisation over which team member is needed and when, and also what’s required of them.

On Project.co, you can set out your tasks visually using our kanban feature. With our drag and drop functionality you can quickly move tasks from to-do, to doing, to done!

Project.co kanban

The beauty of using a project management tool for increasing productivity is that everyone has an overview of what the rest of the team is working on. This minimises the possibility of duplicated work and ensures everyone is aligned on the direction of the project.

Another great tool for improving productivity is Google Drive. We all know how disastrous it can be collaborating on offline documents – there’s always multiple versions and before you know it, no one knows which version is the most up to date one. This can lead to duplicated work and a lot of wasted time.

With Google Drive, everyone can work on the same live document. You can see your team making updates in real time, and you can also check the version history to see the edits that have been made since you last opened the document.

collaboration document

This is a great, free option for teams looking to improve their productivity through seamless collaboration.

4. Learning potential

When teams collaborate with each other, they can learn from one another. Just look at Pixar:

“Technology inspires art, and art challenges technology.”

When teams learn from one another they can also learn more about themselves, and begin to grow from that.

The simple act of an outside party asking you why you do something a certain way can inspire a change that may make everything quicker, easier, and even more profitable!

What’s more, learning is important to modern workers. 59% of millennials say opportunities to learn and grow are extremely important to them.

On top of that, 87% of millennials rate ‘professional or career growth and development opportunities’ as important to them in a job.

How to:

As demonstrated by the Pixar example above, creating a culture of collaboration starts with the environment. If you want your teams to learn from each other then they need to be encouraged to communicate with each other.

An open plan office can help with this – especially if you mix up your teams. For example, instead of sitting everyone in banks of desks according to their departments, you could split everyone up – so one bank of desks features people from every department in the company.

Interdepartmental meetings can also unleash the benefits of collaboration. Try organising regular meetings between teams that can learn from one another, for example marketing and sales. This will not only give employees the chance to learn and grow, it will also bring teams closer together.

5. More engaged employees

When employees enjoy collaborating, your office will benefit from a better atmosphere. And this can make for happier employees in general.

This is great news, not only for workplace satisfaction, but also for productivity. According to a recent study, 39% of employees will actually work harder if they are happy.

So happy employees are not only more engaged, but more productive – and they are also less likely to leave, reducing your turnover rate.

How to:

Incentives are a great way to recognise and reward great teamwork. This could be in the form of a gift card for projects that are completed in an exceptionally efficient way or a trophy that can be shared around the team.

It also helps to encourage engagement through regular group activities such as team quizzes, pizza nights in the office, or even a charity bake sale – whatever gets your team working and having fun together!

Final thoughts

Overall, collaboration can help your team feel more connected, engaged, and productive. And this can lead to more successful projects!

Bring your team and your clients together with Project.co.