“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” – Henry Ford
When we envision a typical workplace, we think of an office with plain white walls, an overflow of post-it notes, and plenty of divisive cubicles. Employees oftentimes feel the pressures of deadlines and the need to compete with their coworkers. In this sort of environment, there is no room for working together and creating an efficient, functional team.
But this is the old workplace structure. Today, companies realize the benefits of interpersonal balance, resulting in work environments that promote both collaboration amongst coworkers and the opportunity to have individual time to complete personal tasks. With the ability to share information quickly, individuals who engage in collaboration are more likely to succeed. A study by leadership company Fierce, Inc. cited that 86% of the employees claim a lack of preparation for workplace failures. It is no secret that teamwork directly impacts and enhances performance.
But what about those of us who work from home or have remote positions? No matter the job, nomadic workers like freelancers or members of startups will attest to the power of connection. Finding a network of like-minded people in a collaborative workspace can lead to meaningful work and a range of dynamic benefits.
Benefit #1: Inspires Creativity
People who work in remote settings often have to be creative to stay ahead on their projects. Most of the time, creativity is the lone factor that leads to some of the best and most groundbreaking results. And while many creative types can usually tap into their innovative frame of mind whenever it’s needed, brainstorming alone isn’t always ideal.
Coming together in a collaborative workspace is a better way to foster creativity and learning. When people connect in a shared environment, collective brainstorming thrives. Even if we are used to working on your own, having other individuals in the room may help us to seek out new perspectives. If we are stuck or unsure where to go with a project, don’t suffer through it alone. Instead, ask questions and gain insight from other people. Hearing other opinions can encourage enthusiasm for our own ideas—which in turn allows creativity to reach new bounds.
Benefit #2: Furthers an Individual’s Goals
Setting personal goals is extremely important to success as a remote worker. Working towards deadlines and finding the motivation to handle every nitty-gritty detail can be challenging. But in a collaborative environment, there is plenty of room for individual empowerment.
The truth is, completing individual goals is better when there are other people around to partake in the positive consequences of a job well done. Sharing our goals with other people will make us more inclined to complete them. Identifying and discussing goals in a truthful and effective way will help us to hold ourselves accountable and accomplish each step. Plus, we can praise our fellow workers for their successes, infusing positive energy into the “office.”
Benefit #3: Creates a Supportive Environment
Another great benefit to collaboration is the amount of support and sense of community it instills in the community of workers. If we always work alone, we are our only support system. While working on more difficult challenges, it is helpful to have someone else around to give feedback and even offer guidance.
A study featured on Forbes.com stated that participants who acted collaboratively in a supportive working environment were able to stay on task 64% longer than their isolated peers. Participants also reported better levels of engagement, higher success rates, and lower levels of fatigue. Collaborating is clearly directly related to better performance, stemming from the support found in a connected and social setting.
Benefit #4: Combines Complementary Strengths
We all know that there is strength in numbers, and while working solo can allow for personal growth, working in collaboration provides the foundation for sharing our abilities. Putting two (or three or four) heads together will oftentimes spark a synergy that cannot be attained by one individual worker. Plus, working in a group setting lets each member offer their own strengths—strengths that are exclusively unique and can be used to the benefit of everyone in the room.
Some of the best traits of an ideal employee include characteristics such as autonomous, upbeat, detail-oriented, and confident. But the reality is, not all of us are cut from the same cloth. We may need a little boost from other people who embody the traits that we may struggle to express. A collaborative workplace inspires the right amount of give-and-take: giving our own strengths to others, and taking a bit of help in areas that we want to develop.
Benefit #5: Promotes Sharing of Knowledge
A final benefit of working in a collaborative environment is the opportunity and willingness to share knowledge. Think of the knowledge you gain by spending an entire workday on your computer alone: you can learn a great deal from the Internet, but the element of human interaction is missing. We can teach one another so much, as we all come from diverse backgrounds with differing experiences in the working world.
In a room filled with individuals who are all at work on different projects, the intersection of cross-departmental knowledge can help further the free-flow of ideas. Gaining shared knowledge through collaboration will open the door for better projects, amplified innovation, and growing our personal networks. Knowledge, after all, is power, and there’s no reason not to share all that we’ve learned in exchange for new viewpoints.
In an atmosphere of trust and open communication, teamwork and productivity can achieve newfound heights. Working in a collaborative environment is the best route to success, giving us the chance to join forces, garner support, and use our strengths to achieve our personal goals.