Collaboration: Why it should be subject to a Collaborative-Autonomy Work-Life Balance
Collaboration. It’s the buzzword of the 21st century… at least in the corporate world.
It is no secret that for the past five years collaboration has been the ongoing trend for companies wanting to achieve a competitive edge in the marketplace. After all, collaboration is the catalyst for innovation and creativity. But like anything else, too much collaboration could have an adverse effect on a company’s success.
Now, please do not misunderstand me –Collaboration does have its benefits. As mentioned before, collaboration, or the coming together of a group of two or more people working together through idea-sharing and thinking to achieve a common goal, provides opportunity for projects to be addressed with greater efficiency, creativity, and innovative solutions. Different strengths are brought to the table and each member of a collaborative team has opportunity to share knowledge, skill and/or learn from his or her fellow members. Collaboration also fosters a sense of unity or belonging. It allows individuals to “own” what is important to the company which can have a direct positive effect on morale among employees. However, companies that only focus on the benefits tend to miss some of the short-falls that can arise from an over indulgence of collaboration.
Despite its many benefits, collaboration is not for everyone. Organizations in general are built on people with a variety of personalities, some of which thrive working in a group setting, others of which work best alone. Forcing excessive collaboration on all employees may cause undo stress for individuals that work best focusing on a task independent of others around them.
In addition, collaboration can take up a lot of time at work and therefore interfere with work-life balance. It is estimated that at least 70% – 85% of an employee’s time during regular work hours is taken up in face to face, virtual or over the phone meetings. For some employees, this means that any tasks that need to be worked on individually or require an extreme amount of focus and concentration are done before or after work hours, at home or staying late at the office, leaving little time for social activities, rest and mental rejuvenation. This in turn could result in compromising the efficiency of a company’s operations and output both in terms of time and quality.
So what is the solution? Keep collaborating but find a balance between collaboration and autonomy for your employees in order to maximize on the benefits of both worlds.
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- Study.com, “What is Collaboration in the Workplace? Definition, Benefits & Examples”, http://study.com/academy/lesson/what-is-collaboration-in-the-workplace-definition-benefits-examples.html
- The Economist, “The Collaboration Curse”, January 23, 2016, pg 63