Collaboration in the workplace is when two or more people (often groups) work together through idea sharing and thinking to accomplish a common goal. It is simply teamwork taken to a higher level. Teamwork is often a physical joining of two people or a group to accomplish a task. With the changes and advancements in technology, such as high-speed Internet, web-based programs, file sharing, email and video-conferencing, collaboration has become a more productive way of doing things. Collaboration in the workplace incorporates teamwork and several other aspects, such as the following:
- Thinking and brainstorming ideas to provide solutions – This key element brings groups together to offer different perspectives and expertise to solve for common problems. The phrase ‘putting our heads together’ would be a good example of this important element of collaboration.
- A strong sense of purpose – Groups and individuals who truly collaborate see the value in working together. Collaboration is not forced upon someone. There should be a meaningful reason for working together, and it should benefit both parties or the company as a whole.
- Equal participation – In corporate America, a collaborative manager or leader may often say, ‘leave your titles at the door.’ Treating everyone as equals when collaborating can open up communication and encourage ideas from all levels of the company or department, not just the managers or directors.