In times of economic uncertainty, many businesses go to the drawing board to come up with a game plan to overcome. The strategy might include cutting costs or downsizing their real estate footprint. But what many businesses overlook as a way to get through a tough time is enabling more collaboration. According to research by Harvard Business Review, collaboration leads to higher commercial performance. Companies with the most highly collaborative workers experienced significant growth during the 2007-08 crisis, and continued that trajectory even after.Collaboration drives productivity, increases revenue, and improves innovation. In this blog post, we’ll go over five ways that workplace collaboration benefits organizations. We’ll also talk through a few real examples of what companies are doing to foster collaboration at their workplace.
5 business benefits of workplace collaboration
1. Increases revenue
According to data from Frost & Sullivan, collaboration can increase company sales by 27%. It also improves product quality by 34% and product development by 30%. When people are together they can quickly respond to questions. They can bounce ideas off each other and get immediate feedback. They’re also better able to challenge each other to come up with the best solution for a problem.
2. Helps businesses withstand recessions
During a recession, businesses need to break down barriers. Instead, they should create collaborative, cross-functional teams. Why? Because teams that work together share knowledge better. Spreading knowledge leads to faster problem solving, better alignment of goals, and more creative and impactful solutions. It’s much easier to solve a problem with others.
3. Generates innovative ideas
Some of the greatest inventions in history weren’t thought of by one person alone. They were the result of collaborators who knew they could create something remarkable by working with others. Companies that prioritize onsite collaboration are 30% more innovative and at least 36% more productive. Collaborating can inspire people to build on each other’s ideas to strengthen them. Plus, collaboration can occur spontaneously at any point and in any place in the office. Sometimes the best ideas come after the meeting when employees are chatting over lunch or walking to their next meeting.
4. Strengthens company culture
Collaboration also drives feelings of connection and belonging at an organization. It can be a defining cultural value. When employees can speak up, freely share ideas, and contribute to initiatives, they are more likely to feel valued in an organization.
5. Boosts retention
Employees like working at companies that encourage cross-functional collaboration, mentorship opportunities, and connection-building. According to a study, companies that promote collaboration and communication at work can reduce employee turnover rates by 50%.Holding on to great talent and ensuring you’re creating an enjoyable workplace experience is key for businesses right now that are looking to build back stronger.
How are companies adapting their offices to foster collaboration?
Leaders can’t wave a magic wand and expect their employees to start collaborating. Like plants need the ideal conditions to grow and thrive, so does collaboration. The right spaces, day of the week, and amenities all play a role in fostering strong collaboration.Many companies returned back to their workplaces after the pandemic. They realized that their layout and processes weren’t fit for a collaborative culture. So they made changes to improve the interactions in the office. Here are a few ways leading companies have adapted their workplaces to foster collaboration.
Dropbox found a way to combine the best of working from home with the best of being in the office. They created DropBox Studios, which are office-like spaces designed to help employees collaborate. The studios have a coffee shop for social interactions, conference rooms for collaboration, and classrooms for group learning. These more casual-style workspaces help employees work together in a less formal setting. Employees can share spaces and ideas, and are able to enjoy in-person interactions they couldn’t get at home.
For Lionsgate, collaboration was key in getting employees back into the office. But they realized their offices weren’t set up to accommodate employee scheduling, health verification, and desk booking. So they added new workplace technology that empowered employees to safely and easily book a space. This gave them better access to their teammates. In-person collaboration can’t occur if the people you need to meet with aren’t actually onsite.
L'Oréal decided that their set-up of traditional desks and meeting rooms wasn’t the only way to get people in a room together. So they upgraded their office with fitness centers, an outdoor garden patio with Wi-Fi, comfy couches, high-top tables, and more. They even renamed their meeting rooms to “collaboration rooms.” L'Oréal understood it was important to create spaces in the office that were comfortable and fun to be in.
DoorDash wasn’t immune to the problem of having a huge office space and no one going in. So they decided to make a few upgrades to their space and implement new technology to help employees feel more comfortable. They believe that relationships are deepened when they are built in person. DoorDash encouraged their employees to come together for collaborative events such as product launches, hackathons, team meetings, planning sessions, all-hands gathering, and more. They added more lounge areas, removed stand-alone desks, and created more spaces for people to meet and work together. Businesses have a lot to navigate with return-to-office and a challenging economic market. But it would be a missed opportunity if businesses didn’t focus time, attention, and resources on a big key to workplace success: collaboration. Collaborating in an office has tremendous benefits for businesses and just might be what helps businesses weather any challenge coming their way.