Here’s Why Productive Collaboration Matters for Your Team
If you’re like most marketers and creatives, you’re probably already trying to figure out how your team is going to deliver more this year than last. And unless you’re one of the lucky ones, you’re probably not planning to have more budget, more time, or more team members to do it.
Most teams have realized that the only way to actually accomplish doing more with the same (or in some cases less) is to get the most out of their resources by streamlining their process. But there’s one major component of your team’s day to day that’s guaranteed to waste time, energy, and budget if it’s not done efficiently: How you collaborate.
Savvy marketers and creatives already know how valuable collaboration can be, both within and between their teams, resulting in fresh new ideas, compelling content, better channel engagement, and more successful campaigns. But if your team isn’t participating in productive collaboration—communicating and sharing information efficiently—then the costs can quickly start to outweigh the benefits.
Here’s three ways unproductive collaboration could be hurting your team.
- It’s taking up too much time.
Unproductive collaboration can be a major time-suck at any stage of your team’s creative production process. Take review and approval: If there’s not an established review chain, efficient proof routing system, or organized way of collecting feedback, much of your team’s time can easily be wasted chasing sign-offs from the right stakeholders, tracking down proofs, collating comments and mark-ups, or reaching feedback consensus. According to the results of our Workflow Check-Up survey, 86% of marketers and creatives spend more than four hours per week on non-revenue generating admin tasks. That’s time your team could be spending doing their actual work—be it designing creative content or planning strategic campaigns.
- It’s causing too many distractions.
While some teams have streamlined their formal collaboration practices, i.e. the consistent communication points that occur within their workflow, most haven’t consider the cost of the informal practices their team engages in. Ad hoc collaboration—like IM-ing another designer to get their thoughts on a mock-up or calling a meeting to gut-check subject lines—can be seriously distracting, and cause major drops in productivity.
A University of California, Irvine study recently reported that interruptions (even short ones) significantly increase the total time it takes to complete a tasks. A similar University of Minnesota study found that jumping from one task to another—think trying to design a logo, then stopping to review an image that was emailed to you—reduces efficiency overall. The reason? “Attention residue:” Your mind still thinks about a previous task when trying to tackle a new one. So it’s no wonder that Harvard Business Review’s study of one Fortune 500 company found that 60% of employees wanted to spend less time responding to ad hoc collaboration.
- It’s reducing quality of work.
Finally, unproductive collaboration can also have a serious impact on your team’s quality of work—especially if your process creates the need for redundant or overly time-consuming communication. According to a study conducted by the University of Virginia’s business school, knowledge workers (like marketers and creatives) spend 70-85% of their time attending meetings (virtual or face-to-face), dealing with e-mail, talking on the phone or otherwise managing tons of requests for input. As a result, many wind up having do much of their work when they get home at night—which leads to lower quality output and a decline in employee satisfaction.
The other major cost of unproductive collaboration is that it makes what The Economist recently called “deep work” nearly impossible. According to the article, “Deep work is the killer app of the knowledge economy: it is only by concentrating intensely that you can master a difficult discipline or solve a demanding problem. Many of the most productive knowledge workers go out of their way to avoid meetings and unplug electronic distractions. Peter Drucker, a management thinker, argued that you can do real work or go to meetings but you cannot do both.”
If you’re not collaborating efficiently, it could be preventing your team from producing their best work—the kind that’s needed to meet continuously increasing demands and achieve aggressive objectives in 2017.
Want to learn more about adopting productive collaboration practices that will improve your team’s efficiency at each stage of your process? Check out our eBook, The Power of Productive Collaboration.
Ellie Baldini is the Content Marketing Manager at inMotionNow. Having been a member of several creative teams herself, Ellie knows the challenges of inefficient workflows. She draws on her experience to connect creatives and marketers with the benefits of inMotion, so more teams can get back to doing the work they love.