When people join efforts to work towards the same end goal it is known as teamwork. Teamwork is efficient work which leads to more productivity at a lesser cost and hence higher profit, and it is also beneficial on many other levels. Teamwork helps employees to divide and conquer work, it also helps employees to improve on certain skills.
Collaborative work also aids in the improvement of the overall workforce. For example, if 5 graphic designers worked separately on a project, each one would have a strong and weak skill but when they are asked to work with each other, they learn from one another and this leads to growth and overall improvement, which is beneficial for oneself and the company at large.
Multiple viewpoints or perspectives are brought to the table when teamwork is in motion. In an instance where only one person is working on a project there might be just one viewpoint rather than multiple which could lead to a faster as well as better innovation. Teamwork involves less management; we see that people take accountability for the work they must do. This fosters a sense of being part of something larger than themselves, and of being able to contribute to the overall benefit and company. Teamwork also brings about better communication among employees, by way of which they learn to support and work co-operatively.
There are several challenges that hinder working as a team in the digital world. When people are not given the option to sit face-to-face and collaborate or brainstorm, this might lead to disjointed efforts. In large-scale corporate companies we see people from different time zones working on the same project and synchronisation of the efforts can be quite difficult. All though there are limitations to working as a team in a digital space, there has been so much focus on creating technology that aids collaborative work to cover the gaps here.
There are several benefits to teamwork or collaboration especially at the workplace.
- Skills are built, employees are given the opportunity to learn from their co-workers and improve their skill set. They can self-analyse and build on things they need to improve. Inter-departmental collaboration is also needed to complete projects and hence employees can get an insight into different perspectives and skill sets which they can learn for their own growth and improvement. Not only an improvement in the skillset, it also leads to forming better relationships in the company built on mutual respect and collaborative efforts.
- Teamwork has a positive effect on company culture, it brings about satisfaction in the work an employee does, when an individual collaborates with other people and their inputs are valued it brings about a positive sense of self, which in turn causes a positive ripple and creates a warm and safe workplace environment.
- Employees realise that they are a part of a bigger picture, that the work they are doing is not limited but it influences something larger than themselves, that is, they are now aware they are contributing to something that can bring a positive change or influence on many people.
- Problem solving is made easier- when different perspectives and ideas are put forth by different people, solutions to problems are found quicker.
At same time collaboration and teamwork also face its own challenges. Power struggles are one issue, when people with a keen sense of individuality are put into work that requires team effort or collaboration. This might lead to resistance and to avoid this issue people who compliment and work well together should be teamed to ensure smoother functioning. Another potential issue is that with different perspectives there is chance of decision-making being more complex and hence a strong leader needs to be appointed to make sure everything stays on track.
With such importance given to this skill in corporate life, the skills required to work as a team should be imbibed early on as a part of the educational process. Furthermore, good collaboration also requires effective communication. Hence, open communication skills should also be focused upon right from the student years.