What Is Collaboration At Work? The Complete Guide


Collaboration. It’s a word we hear a whole lot in the context of work. Collaboration skills. Collaborative workspaces. And in recent times especially, online collaboration tools.

A collaborative organisation is something every business wants to achieve. So how can they create one?

In this guide, we define collaborative working, and look at how to implement it in your workspace and processes.


Guide To Collaboration at Work: Contents

  • Definition of collaboration in the workplace
  • Collaboration vs. teamwork
  • Why work collaboratively? Benefits of effective collaboration
  • How to build a collaborative environment
  • Remote vs. in-person collaboration
  • Designing a collaborative workspace
  • Key features of a collaborative workplace


Collaboration at Work FAQs

What is collaborative working?

Collaborative working is where individuals share their skills in order to reach a common goal.

Usually, a particular team of individuals from different departments are brought together to work on a project or task, because their skills work well together.

There are plenty of benefits of collaboration in the workplace. Collaborative working is proven to be a seriously efficient way of getting tasks done quickly and more effectively. And it’s not all about output; team members can inspire and motivate each other, and share their skills, which can help boost employee engagement. Want to know more about the benefits of collaboration at work? Download the guide to collaborative working.


What are online collaboration tools?

Online collaboration tools are web applications that are used to… *you guessed it*… collaborate. They are not a new thing – collaboration tools have been in use for years. However, since the shift to full-time remote working during the pandemic, businesses have been more reliant on virtual collaboration tools.

Online collaboration enables employees to work in collaboration and stay organised wherever they are working. They can be central to ensuring that projects stay on track.

At Work.Life, we use a range of collaboration tools in our day-to-day work. Some of our favourite online collaboration tools are:

  • Slack – The ultimate online workspace for collaboration, we use Slack to send Direct Messages to our team, share files, and video call.
  • Asana – Great for project management, Asana allows our team to track progress, set deadlines and set reminders for upcoming deadlines.
  • Trello – At Work.Life, we use Trello for both personal organisation and team collaboration, by creating boards and sub-tasks, which can be assigned to the relevant team member.


What is a collaborative workspace?

A collaborative workspace (sometimes referred to as a collaborative office space, or a collaborative space) is an office where design, layout and general work environment are built for cooperation. The objective is to bring team members together, by creating an environment to encourage socialising, meeting, and productivity.

As more and more businesses are recognising the benefits of collaborative workspace, and are interested in having a collaborative work environment themselves, modern workspace designs are leaning towards open collaborative settings. Many coworking spaces are purposely built with collaboration in mind, with many features to help facilitate it – such as collaboration spaces in offices, and meeting rooms equipped with collaborative technology.

Want to know what a collaborative workspace involves? Download the guide for more.


Why is collaboration so popular?

The rise of collaborative workspace isn’t brand new. In recent years, businesses in many different industries have recognised the power of collaboration for creating innovation, improving team relationships and helping their teams work more efficiently. Building a collaborative workplace is high on many business’ agendas, impacting the way they set up and use office space, their organisational structure, and even hiring goals.


What is a collaborative workplace culture?

To make collaboration work, it needs to be embedded in the business. Collaboration shouldn’t just occur if someone initiates it ad hoc, on a specific project. A collaborative workplace culture is one where collaboration is consistent, deliberate, and implemented into every process. Working in collaboration should become a constant for employees.

Online collaboration tools and collaborative office space can help businesses build a collaborative culture.


What is successful collaboration in the workplace?

Successful collaboration in the workplace can be measured by output. Are tasks getting done more quickly, and to a better standard? With workplace collaboration, efficiency should be directly impacted.

Successful collaboration at work can also be measured by employee satisfaction. If your staff are more motivated, feel more valued and are learning from each other, it’s a clear sign that it’s working within your business. Try running an employee engagement survey to find out whether your team are more engaged with collaborative working.

What is the difference between teamwork and collaboration in the workplace?

These two terms are often used interchangeably, but there’s a key difference! Teamwork tends to refer to a group of individuals functioning as a team, who will often be from the same department.

Collaboration is more likely to be team members from different departments working together towards the same goal, who will be able to learn new skills from each other. The end result may be more creative, as the team working on the project are from a more diverse array of backgrounds. Combining skills and knowledge from very different individuals produces the best collaboration!


Working collaboratively is a goal for many businesses, but knowing how to implement a collaborative working culture is where it gets a bit more tricky. The important thing is to define a purpose and embed collaboration into every project and process, so it becomes second nature!


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