by Patricia DuChene
Director of International Sales, Wrike
There’s a problem in all our companies. In our Wrike Digital Working Report 2016, 58% of UK respondents felt their workload had gone up to some extent, with a fifth stating it had gone up significantly. Furthermore, 62% of UK respondents said that because of this change in workload, they were feeling more stressed compared to a year ago. (This puts the UK second to Germany, where 66% felt their stress level had increased, and ahead of France with 60%.)
But take a look at some of the causes of this stress and increased workload and you’ll realize it’s actually a solvable problem. Wrike’s Work Management Survey found that the #1 reason for employee stress is missing information. Close behind are: problems with prioritization, and unrealistic goals. These top three stressors can be managed and even minimized with a simple combination of a collaborative culture and the right collaboration tools.
But doesn’t a collaborative culture come naturally?
Like most anything else of value, it has to be worked at. You put in effort to identify the values your company lives by. You nurture and build a mindset where sharing and collaboration are second nature to every employee. And it all begins at the top.
“Culture is something that is derived from the founders,” says Colin M. Darretta, Founder & CEO of WellPath Solutions.
Wrike’s founder and CEO, Andrew Filev shares: “One of the working tools is ‘leadership by example.’ Say, when you assign a task or finalize an important document, make sure that your workers are aware of it and can easily check it out. Then, when you have ‘champions’ on the team who follow your lead, you can use some peer pressure for others to follow suit.”
Having a culture where communication is open, and collaboration is encouraged makes all the difference when trying to break through boundaries and produce cutting-edge innovations.
But culture isn’t the only ingredient. The other half of it is choosing the right tools.
How do collaboration tools give you a competitive advantage?
When you use tools that make work processes and communication more efficient, high value output is created much more quickly.
Collaboration tools accelerate innovation
Two (or more) minds are better than one! Take a look at companies using the Agile methodology to power their work: they’re constantly getting feedback from customers, partners, suppliers. All these key stakeholders get early access to products in beta, and provide ideas on how to improve the product. With better alignment between customers’ actual needs and your product’s features, you’re able to build stuff you never knew was needed. With tools that make this collaboration easier, you free up mental cycles for the real creative problem solving.
Collaboration tools help reinforce accountability
If you’ve studied high-performance teams, you know that public accountability is the secret sauce in moving a project forward. Your team is 33% more likely to accomplish a goal when they tell others they’re working on it. Collaboration tools allow your colleagues to publicly commit to goals. This visibility also empowers your team to share not just progress, but also ask for help in moving roadblocks, or dealing with sticky problems. Plus, accountability helps eliminate that other source of stress: duplicated work!
Collaboration tools minimize work silos
When you use collaboration tools to store work in progress, you are making information accessible to everyone who uses the tool, thereby improving communication and transparency – especially between departments. New ideas and suggestions can then come from anyone with access to the information. Or new collaborations can spring up as needed.
Collaboration tools improve quality
Working in a silo means you have your own ideas and nothing more. But the right collaboration tools can help you tap into the collective knowledge of your team. This access to their expertise and ideas improves the overall quality of your work. For example, after I finish writing this blog post draft, the text will go into our collaboration tool, Wrike, where our content team will edit it and add their revisions to my work. Because we have a culture of collaboration in place, I trust that their edits will improve the quality of this post.
Overall, the right tools give your team the efficient benefits of real-time collaboration. Whereas in the past, we would lose precious time lost to constantly maintaining a monster spreadsheet or searching in vain for an email attachment, today’s collaboration tools improve work to the point of giving your organization an edge over competitors. And that’s an edge that’s crucial for success.