No longer just a workplace buzz word, collaboration has become an essential ingredient in corporate success.
A comprehensive two-year study published in the Harvard Business Review in 2016 revealed that collaborating activities had more than doubled throughout the study period.
The study also revealed that in most companies, 20 to 35 per cent of collaborating was done by only 3 to 5 per cent of employees.
Paradoxically, that small handful of helpful individuals can become institutional bottlenecks because work doesn’t progress until they’ve weighed in. Worse, they are so overtaxed that they’re no longer personally effective.
Enter collaborative technology
Technology can not only give individuals freedom to be flexible in their location and hours worked, but can help shift the work load too.
“When it comes to finding success for businesses with geographically dispersed workforces, almost all of the respondents we recently surveyed agreed that technology is a key factor in improving relationships and fostering better teamwork,” says Tony Simonsen, managing director of IT firm Polycom’s Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea divisions.
“Also, approximately 80 per cent of those use video collaboration multiple times a day to stay in touch.”
Polycom’s own research has found that nearly two-thirds of the global workforce currently takes advantage of flexible work, which Polycom calls “anywhere working”.
'Anywhere working’ takes off somewhere near you
Polycom’s digital white paper, called ‘The changing world of work’, surveyed just over 25,000 people in 12 countries, asking them about flexible working policies at their workplaces.
“The most popular reported benefits of anywhere working are perceived to be its contribution to a better work-life balance and productivity, which topped the list among respondents,” say the authors.
“The right technology, in particular video collaboration technology, is crucial for successful anywhere working. Three quarters of those surveyed said that they use collaboration technologies regularly to communicate with stakeholders based elsewhere. While there are variations in preferences around how respondents communicate, all countries apart from Japan are using collaboration technology regularly.”