Collaborative Workplaces: Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

By Kristen Harris

I believe we all do better when we work together. It’s part of human nature; we are social animals, designed to work together and rely on each other for survival. We build communities, including work communities, and together achieve greater success than any of us could achieve on our own.

There are ongoing debates about whether collaboration leads to greater success than competition. I’m all for a little friendly competition, but I don’t want to live or work in a place where every individual is only looking out for their interests and doesn’t care about anyone else. That may work for some people, but not me. I’ll take the path of teamwork and collaboration every time.

There are plenty of studies and anecdotes about how collaboration can lead to greater success in business, sports, education, patient care, and many other aspects of work. One focused on social psychology found that exposure to cues of working together on a challenging task can inspire intrinsic motivation, “turning work into play.”. Hells yeah, that sounds great!

Five reasons teams perform better when they work together:

  1. A team can do more than any individual, even a superstar. Surprisingly, a whole group of superstars does not necessarily make a winning team. Great teams have a balance of skills, talents, and experiences. You need superstars, rockstars, and rising stars all working together.

  2. It’s more interesting and enjoyable to work on something with others. Working with others is more fun, and when you’re having fun you tend to stick with the task longer. When usually leads to better outcomes.

  3. Working together helps you persist longer on a challenging task. We get more engrossed in the task at hand and stick with it longer when working with others. And we’re more likely to come back and work on related tasks later, which likely leads to more solutions.

  4. Additional brainpower helps! Working with a team of people to solve a problem will no doubt lead to more ideas or potential solutions than an individual can generate on their own. Especially if that team has a diversity of experiences, backgrounds, skills, and talents. 

  5. Being in a difficult situation or facing a challenge can feel less stressful when you have the support of a team. When you know others are there working alongside you and you’re all going to solve this together, the weight is not all on your shoulders. 

Wondering how to make your workplace more collaborative? Here are a few things we do at Portfolio Creative: 

  • Use shared tools–we’re all working in Slack, Google Drive, and our industry-specific database together. 

  • Share info–we all capture and share notes, content, etc. If you invite collaboration, others will usually join in.

  • Schedule times to work together–this is especially important if you have team members with flexible schedules or working remotely. It seems formal but without planned meetings or schedule work sessions, everyone just works on their own, in a silo.

  • Celebrate team success–to encourage collaboration and teamwork, it’s important to find ways to celebrate team successes, not just individual performance. 

Curious about collaboration? Reach out any time; we love helping our clients build successful creative teams!