How to Create Collaboration at Work (Plus Benefits of Teamwork)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published June 25, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Collaboration is the process of more than one individual working together towards a common goal. It can be a helpful trait to have in the workplace, as it can improve efficiency and creativity. Learning how to improve collaboration can help make you more effective at your job. In this article, we define collaboration at work, discuss its benefits, and share how to improve collaboration in the workplace.

What is collaboration at work?

Collaboration occurs when two or more individuals work together to accomplish a common goal. This can be done both in-person and virtually, making collaboration possible for many different types of work environments. When multiple individuals are working together on a project, it can help increase productivity as each member is able to focus on tasks that align with their strengths.

How to create collaboration at work

Collaboration is an important part of working for most companies that value teamwork as a way to increase productivity and motivation. Making a few organizational changes can make collaboration easier and more successful. Here's how to create collaboration at work:

1. Increase communication

Communication between team members is essential for collaboration, as it allows team members the opportunity to share ideas and get to know one another. Regular meetings can help improve communication by giving team members a space to ask questions and share and receive feedback. Teams may also choose to use collaboration tools, such as file-sharing platforms, videoconferencing, instant messaging, and digital calendars to help to improve and increase communication.

Related: Collaboration Skills: Definition and Examples

2. Identify individual strengths

Collaborating with other team members is effective because each individual has unique strengths. Working to identify individual areas of expertise can make collaboration easier, as team members understand each other's strengths and know who may be able to offer them knowledge if they run into a particular problem. Understanding individual strengths also makes assigning tasks easier, as project managers can use this information to decide which team members may be most successful at each task, improving the efficiency of the team.

3. Set goals

Having a common goal can help team members to understand what they're working towards and feel motivated in completing their tasks. Setting clear goals also helps make it easier to track progress, and assign tasks to individual team members. Sharing common goals can also help develop accountability and encourage team members to share ideas for accomplishing these goals. In addition to measurable goals, developing a team mission statement can further help to provide purpose for the team.

Related: How to Set Team Goals at Work (With Examples and Tips)

4. Assign roles

Assigning roles to each team member can help the group run more effectively. This is because assigning roles helps each team member to understand their duties and responsibilities and how they may collaborate with and help other team members. You may choose a more traditional, structured distribution of roles with a clear hierarchy, or you may choose a more flexible approach that distributes authority throughout the group. Assigning roles is also helpful for establishing expectations and creating clear communication, as each team member is able to understand their responsibilities.

5. Maintain organization

Whether you're managing a project or working with others, organization is important to ensure clear communication and understanding of expectations. One way to improve organization is to create a timeline for the project or task so that each team member understands what to expect.

When creating this timeline, you can collaborate with other team members to share ideas about the major steps for the project and how to complete them, giving an opportunity for different team members to share their expertise when planning a project. Regularly reviewing this timeline with the team can also help increase communication and sharing of ideas.

6. Delegate tasks appropriately

For a collaborative environment to be successful, it's important that all team members contribute, drawing on their own expertise and strengths. Delegating tasks appropriately can help with this. If you're responsible for delegating tasks, ensure that you're choosing tasks that align which each team member's area of expertise. Delegating tasks can also help each team member feel valued and more motivated in contributing to the group's goals.

Related: Delegation Strategies for the Workplace (With Tips)

7. Create guidelines

Having proper guidelines provides a structure in which team members can work, making collaboration easier. This may include guidelines for when and how to communicate, the process of submitting completed work, and the frequency and structure of meetings. These guidelines may also help team members to create their own workflows and reduce the chance of miscommunication. This can make collaboration easier, as it can help prevent conflicts.

8. Increase opportunities for brainstorming

A collaborative environment can help increase new ideas and encourage innovation as different individuals work together to provide input. Brainstorming is an excellent way to allow all team members to share and discuss their ideas. You can encourage this by creating implementing regular brainstorming sessions that provide a space for individuals to share their ideas without judgment.

Brainstorming sessions can be informal, listing related keywords or creating a mind map on note cards or whiteboards for everyone to see. Virtual brainstorming sessions may include video recording and the use of live documents to track ideas. You may choose to encourage all individuals to participate by using a round-robin structure, in which each person receives an opportunity to speak and share their ideas.

9. Try team-building activities

Collaboration is easier when team members are better bonded to each other. Team-building activities can help build this connection while also helping team members get to know one another, develop communication skills, and reduce workplace stress. This may include a short icebreaker activity at the beginning of a project or meeting, such as two truths and a lie or office trivia. More in-depth team-building activities include scavenger hunts or puzzles. Teams that work together regularly may want to develop their relationship with activities outside of the office, such as retreats, escape rooms, or group community service projects.

Related: 15 Ice Breaker Games to Improve Workplace Communication

10. Celebrate successes

Rewarding team members for success can be a great way to improve team morale, help each individual team member feel valued, and increase the team's feeling of connectedness. You may choose a more structured system for recognizing accomplishes, or you may choose to provide rewards or praise when the opportunity arises. Providing recognition that is specific to each individual's role can help increase motivation and job satisfaction while continuing to build the team culture. Using the company's reward system to recognize innovations can also help to inspire creativity through collaboration.

What are the benefits of collaboration at work?

Many companies encourage a collaborative environment as it promotes a positive team environment and helps to improve productivity. Additional benefits of collaboration include:

Encourages learning

With collaboration, different individuals with different backgrounds and expertise are working together towards achieving a common goal. This creates an opportunity for learning, as different team members are able to share ideas and knowledge. This also allows for different departments to work together, giving further opportunities to share ideas and allowing for a better understanding of the different roles and responsibilities of each department.

Related: Why Collaboration Is Important in the Workplace (With Tips)

Improves problem-solving

Because collaboration involves a greater number of people with different backgrounds, it helps increase the likelihood of success in problem-solving, as team members are able to contribute different ideas based on their individual backgrounds. Team members may also present different ideas concerning risks. This collaboration can make it easier to choose the best solution to a problem.

Creates community

Because collaboration involves working together, it helps to create a team environment and eliminates hierarchy. Team members may also feel more connected to one another, as they learn about each other's different strengths and communicate regularly. Collaborating can also help create accountability, which can boost motivation and create a feeling of accomplishment once the task or project is complete.

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