Collaborative work is about people working together to achieve a common goal. This is facilitated by the development of new technologies.
- Proximity, intimacy and permissiveness: Harvard researchers have shown that three factors are important for collaborative work. Proximity makes it possible to bring people together, intimacy implies that everyone remains independent and permissiveness encourages relationships and activities outside of work.
- Methods of exchange: Synchronous tools such as instant messaging or video conferencing enable real-time collaboration. The phone is also widely used and enables employees to quickly access information on a specific topic. Asynchronous tools include shared calendars, online word processing and to-do lists. While email remains the most commonly used tool, today it’s heavily challenged by applications to avoid the ever growing pile of emails.
- Collaboration using computer tools: Collaborative work can be achieved with a computer tool, such as a work collaboration software, which allows team members to follow the progress of projects and organize tasks. A collaborative platform allows employees to find information at any time, share documents, and comment on or annotate pooled information.
- User collaboration: Bringing us back to the roots of collaboration, users can collaborate with one another on tasks without using a system. As long as they’re located in the same office and speak the same language, they can get together to work on tasks and complete them with more fun, clarity and efficiency.
There are several methods to encourage collaborative work. Each organization can adapt and select the techniques that it considers most appropriate. On the other hand, these methods are very different depending on the size of the company, the purpose of the work, the means of the organization and the technical nature and training required.