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Team Collaboration

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4 Collaboration Secrets Guaranteed to Improve Teamwork
Collaboration 5 min read

4 Collaboration Secrets Guaranteed to Improve Teamwork

These four tips are guaranteed to uplevel your teamwork in ways that might surprise even your most jaded team members. But only if you're ready to be a brave leader.

How to Fix the Fragmentation of Information in the Workplace
Collaboration 5 min read

How to Fix the Fragmentation of Information in the Workplace

Welcome to the age of abundant yet fragmented information in the workplace. There is a very real fragmentation problem. Because, to put it bluntly, our work information is all over the place. And it is affecting our work speed and overall efficiency, both as individuals and as teams.

Virtual Watercooler Breaks: The Value of Informal Communication in Remote Teams
Project Management 3 min read

Virtual Watercooler Breaks: The Value of Informal Communication in Remote Teams

  Recently, I came across an interesting study by a well-known German university. It revealed that about 80% of successful ideas created in teams were born from informal conversations, both in co-located and virtual teams. It also stated that in R&D teams, almost 90% of conversations could be described as informal. So, informal communication doesn’t only have psychological value, but is an essential component of innovation. According to my own experience, conversations on informal topics are key for getting your team connected. Distributed teams don’t have the opportunity for casual watercooler talks, so they might have a deficit of this important component. If people work together on a regular basis, even if they are not located in the same office, they eventually get to know each other better. But the bigger the team is, the lower the natural tendency for bonding. One of the things we do at Wrike (where our distributed team counts for over 60 people today, and is growing) is that at our regular company meeting, apart from talking about plans and achievements, we also weave in some personal info into the mix. For example, some people may share photos from recent vacations, we introduce newcomers with some information about their hobbies and interests, etc. The team likes it, and it definitely gives additional topics for internal discussions. Also, we try to meet in person as frequently as possible. I’ve noticed that every face-to-face meeting improves collaboration, because team members get more open to communication and feel more comfortable when they need to put their minds together at work. These remote employee engagement activities contribute to forming a friendly and productive environment where people don’t just work, but enjoy to work. And it is no surprise that this, consequentially, makes a positive impact on employee retention. How important do you think informal communication is for work performance? Wrike's flexible work management platform empowers remote teams to do their best work, from anywhere. Find out more here.   

How to Deal With Conflict in the Workplace
Collaboration 10 min read

How to Deal With Conflict in the Workplace

Conflict is a reality of the working world. You deal with different people every day, people with varying perspectives, opinions, and convictions. When contrasting opinions and dynamic personalities collide, expect conflict and disagreements. As with anything in a professional setting, a little politeness goes a long way to help diffuse the situation.

How the Best Sales Teams Collaborate to Get Better Results
Collaboration 5 min read

How the Best Sales Teams Collaborate to Get Better Results

There are sales teams, and then there are world-class sales teams. What sets the highest achievers apart from the average Joe? We looked at research around the web and, of the many factors that help a sales team run like a well-oiled machine, we were most interested in one particular finding: high-performing sales, sales operations, and sales enablement teams are better at collaborating. To create a world-class sales team, your organization must capitalize on collaboration within your team (from individual to individual), as well as between teams (from sales to marketing, IT, support, etc.). We're sharing stats we found online that show why your team needs to focus on collaboration if you want to keep things moving "up and to the right." World-Class Sales Organizations Collaborate Within Their Team A yearly study conducted by the Miller Heiman Research Institute reports the best practices of identified high-performing sales organizations versus average sales organizations. We compared results from their 2015 study to the results from their 2013 study to see how the trends in sales collaboration are changing. Sales organizations were asked to rate the performance of their teams based upon the following statements: On collaboration between management and team members: "Our management team is highly effective in helping our sales team advance sales opportunities." World-class teams are continuing to focus on collaboration between managers and team members, as other teams pick up on the trend. On collaboration between top performers and their colleagues: “We know why our top performers are successful.” Building a world-class team comes down to not only HAVING top performers, but also knowing WHY they are top performers so you can educate the entire organization on successful practices. "We leverage the best practices of our top performers to improve everyone else." (only reported in 2013) High-performing teams take time out of the week to teach the winning behaviors of top performers to the rest of the company, so everyone can perform better. World-Class Sales Organizations Collaborate with Other Departments Stats on cross-department collaboration including the sales organization from the same studies done by the Miller Heiman Research Institute: On collaboration between sales and other departments via shared tools: "Our CRM system is highly effective for enabling our organization to collaborate across departments." (only reported in 2015) With the rising popularity of CRM tools, world-class sales organizations focus on adopting a tool that enables collaboration between teams, instead of siloing their information within one team. On collaboration between sales and marketing: "Sales and Marketing are aligned in what our customers want and need." World-class and typical sales teams are both focusing on aligning with their marketing team to deliver better results. And it's not only the Miller Heiman Research Institute reporting findings that cross-department collaboration helps sales teams perform better. Together, Salesforce and The TAS Group reported numbers on the benefits of aligning your sales and marketing teams: Where sales and marketing are aligned on their initiatives and goals: — Sales win rates increase 15% — Company revenue can increase as much as 25% — Salespeople are 57% more likely to be high-performers And if your sales and marketing teams work together to take your leads from day 1 to the end of a sale: — Email marketing has 2X higher ROI than other channels (Direct Marketing Association, via Smart Data Collective) — Nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads (The Annuitas Group) Is Your Sales Organization Collaborative? The trends are clear: collaborative sales teams perform better. So how would you classify your sales organization? Are you highly-collaborative, or do you still have room to improve? Share your team and cross-department collaboration wins in the comments, and help other sales, sales operations, and sales enablement teams learn more about what really works. Thanks for sharing your wisdom! If you're ready to improve team and cross-departmental collaboration for better business results, see how Wrike can help with a free Wrike trial.

Inspiring Corporate Team Building Activities to Bring Colleagues Closer
Collaboration 10 min read

Inspiring Corporate Team Building Activities to Bring Colleagues Closer

Corporate team building activities are some of the most fun and effective ways for your employees to bond and set a foundation for strong professional relationships. Learn more about the best ways to integrate both indoor and outdoor corporate team building activities and ideas into your business.

How to Keep Team Morale High During Difficult Times
Leadership 7 min read

How to Keep Team Morale High During Difficult Times

There is no successful company that hasn't faced its share of hard times. Whether it be an exodus of leadership, a shift in goals and priorities, or a lack of resources, there will be times your employees will find themselves overwhelmed, confused, demotivated, and on edge. Supporting staff during difficult times is par for the course — now more than ever. But knowing how to motivate employees during difficult times can boost workplace morale and make it easier for them to face personal, professional, or social challenges. 2020's global COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it many problems. Declining workplace morale is a new hurdle for managers and HR professionals. The subject of maintaining employee morale during these hard times is of paramount importance as disengaged employees cost companies up to $350 billion a year in lost productivity.  As humans, we are able to handle change but do not do so well with uncertainty. As we come to terms with our new normal, it is time for leadership to regroup and reignite enthusiasm amongst teams and employees. Below are five actionable ideas to increase employee morale and bring your team back to top productivity.  Increase workplace morale by encouraging candid conversations about where the company is heading Uncertainty can weigh heavily on your team. One practical way of supporting staff during difficult times is to be open and honest about the direction the company is heading in. In times such as these, it is important to carry along every member of the team by letting them know vital details about the company's position, priorities, and strategies put in place to stabilize and thrive through this unpredictable season. This gives employees a feeling of control, direction, and purpose as they begin their work every day. As a leader at this time, being transparent in your decision-making and communicating clearly cannot be overemphasized. It ensures that members of your team understand the tasks to be done and why they are essential.  As you lead, it is also crucial to listen more than you speak. Taking in feedback from other executives and members of your team lets you know what is going on with them at home and work. Open communication will allow you to assess the level of turbulence in different areas of their lives and the business, focus on the most critical issues, and show your employees that their voices count. Provide counseling sessions to motivate employees during difficult times While having conversations with your employees, and collecting feedback go a long way to increase employee morale, a better initiative is to provide optional counseling sessions for employees who request them during these times.  As the use of emergency mental health hotlines rises steadily amidst the pandemic, Singapore-based hotel-booking platform, RedDoorz is providing online counseling sessions led by certified counselors and psychologists to its staff and employees who work at partner hotels. Amit Saberwal, CEO of RedDoorz, says he hopes to "spread positivity and optimism" within the travel and hospitality industries, which have experienced "major disruptions" as a result of the novel coronavirus. You can take a page out of RedDoorz's book and bring in trained professionals, or create small peer groups to reach teammates who seem to be struggling. You can give employees access to meditation apps and also share online mental health resources. Most importantly, you can encourage leaders in your business to openly talk about their mental health as a way to get employees to open up and unburden themselves. If you can get your employees to speak honestly to you, then you can then find better ways to support them. Nearly 40% of employees say their company has not asked them how they're doing since the pandemic began. Employees in this group are 38% more likely to say their mental health has declined since the onset of the pandemic.   Supercharge workplace morale by streamlining your workflow and celebrating every win During this time, it's important to celebrate every achievement, regardless of how small. Your employees need confirmation that their work is valued and making a tangible impact. Each week, you can highlight at least one achievement. This could be anything from higher email open rates to meeting an important project deadline. You'll soon find that calling out little wins boosts morale, productivity, and confidence across your team. This is also a good time to streamline your team’s workflow and set clear priorities by taking off all unnecessary tasks so employees can focus on the most meaningful projects that move the needle. Some leaders may pile work on employees’ plates because they now work from home. Instead, it would help if you lightened your employees' workload, so they manage their personal lives in tandem with work during these times.  Don't take up more of your employees' time because they are not clocking into the office. You can also reduce the need for too many video meetings as Zoom fatigue is draining. Instead, send emails, summarize reports, and enable visibility into teammates' tasks in a project management tool like Wrike. Schedule breaks during the workday and allow asynchronous work To get the best from your employees at this time, it is wise to become output and results-focused. Since the beginning of March, when most companies made the call to work from home, employees have reported working 2-3 hours longer per day. This is combined with the pressures of caring for sick loved ones, maintaining one's health, caring for children who are learning from home, and maintaining valuable work productivity. As a leader during this time, it is wise that you allow asynchronous work schedules, giving employees room to plan their days in the most optimal way to take care of both work and personal responsibilities.  You can institute roles that promote healthy work-life balance habits and enforce a mandatory break in every workday. This could be the typical one-hour lunch break, but in this case, you insist that all employees log off their work devices at this time.  As a part of workplace mental health initiative, employees are now encouraged to treat switching off as a scheduled event, rather than working through breaks and long days. Some companies are going one step further and making it impossible for employees to send emails after hours. The fact is when home doubles as the office, employees have a tougher time switching off. Since the pandemic started, Surfshark, a VPN provider, has seen spikes in usage between midnight and 3 am, proof that workday barriers are beginning to erode. As a result, good leaders must make an effort to help employees unplug each day to maintain good health and workplace morale. Organize optional fun virtual activities to boost employee morale or encourage rest Different personality types refuel in different ways. An introvert needs solitude to recharge and strategize, and an extrovert craves more people-time to relax and soak in positive energy.  In the words of the great Benjamin Franklin: "We must all hang together, or most assuredly, we shall all hang separately."  Schedule regular open hours with team building activities for remote teams to get your team's mind off the madness. During this time, employees can choose to stay offline and recharge, login but not participate, join in and engage in virtual happy hours, scavenger hunts, and other online team building activities your company needs. You can also check out our ultimate list of team building games for more ideas. How to motivate employees during difficult times  As a manager, it is up to you to gauge the stress level on your team and eliminate additional stressors or distractions that may hinder their performance. Demotivation is extremely contagious and spreads uncontrollably, just like the COVID-19.  To kill the infection at its source and focus on improving morale in the workplace during these difficult times, you must continue to build good habits that support positive workplace morale and resilience in employees.  We recommend that you:  Encourage honest conversations about the company's position and where it is heading between leaders and employees. Frequently gather employee feedback on essential topics Provide mental health coaching and counseling sessions Lighten employees' workload and focus on wins Promote healthy work/life habits and allow asynchronous work Have regular manager/employee conversations about individual needs and actions Maintain transparency to motivate employees during difficult times Organize optional fun virtual activities to boost employee morale and encourage rest Work with Wrike and start focusing on building employee morale Wrike's collaboration tool is the perfect software for businesses facing the challenge of improving morale in the workplace, especially now - with the new challenges COVID-19 has brought to the business world. Maintaining team collaboration, remote team communications, and proper work management is all possible with Wrike's solutions for business continuity. You can get started by signing up for a free two-week trial here. 

What Is a Self-Organizing Team?
Collaboration 10 min read

What Is a Self-Organizing Team?

Self-organizing teams are a key part of Agile project management. Read on to discover how to make your team more productive through self-organization.

Why Your Teamwork Sucks... and How To Improve It
Collaboration 7 min read

Why Your Teamwork Sucks... and How To Improve It

Turns out we're not naturally wired to play nicely together. Anyone who's ever watched children playing team-based games will understand. Teamwork is just that — it's WORK. In case you think that's blindingly obvious, it's not. One UC Berkeley study says that high-performing (AKA powerful) individuals who are forced to work with other powerful individuals in a group actually end up with below average results. Partly because they end up bickering about who gets to be "the top dog" instead of working towards a consensus. And partly because high performers are less focused on the task, and do not share information as effectively. They are too distracted about their status as leaders to work harder as team players! The findings from that study are neatly summarized in the 50-second video below: [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hJuBlJiVfw[/embed] If top performers get better results as lone superstars, what hope is there for the rest of us? Why We're So Terrible at Teamwork In an eye-opening interview with the Harvard Business Review, leading organizational psychologist J. Richard Hackman shares why teams don't just naturally work: I have no question that when you have a team, the possibility exists that it will generate magic... But don’t count on it. Research consistently shows that teams underperform, despite all the extra resources they have. He goes on to state that there are multiple problems that erode whatever benefits there are in collaboration, sometimes negating all the positives. On one hand, teams have many advantages: They share more (and have a greater diversity of) resources than they would have had individually They have more flexibility in deploying their resources (i.e. If someone gets sick, a team can organize to fill in the gap.) They have many opportunities for collective learning (i.e. More often than not we learn via social interactions. And collaborating on every shared task presents an opportunity to learn.) They have the potential for synergy — that moment when things just work, and teamwork produces magic. And yet, in study after study, the actual performance of teams is often worse than if individuals worked alone. Why? In a talk that Hackman gave to the MIT Media Lab in 2005, he suggests that there are really only two major reasons for the failure of teams: 1. Teams are often used for work that is better done by individuals When you get a group to do the kind of creative task better suited to an individual, you're basically setting them up to fail via decision-by-committee. Think about creative output such as plays, operas, novels. While it's certainly possible to build them via a group, they are more commonly (and efficiently) created solo. 2. Teams are often structured and led in ways that stifle their potential This, by and large, is the difficulty of corporate life — that instead of enabling the conditions for a team to thrive, structures are in place that stifle team productivity and collaborative effort. Be it red tape, weak leadership, unnecessary competition, discouragement, or interpersonal conflicts, these things all decrease the likelihood that a team can perform in a productive way. So how do we get rid of those stifling structures and free our teams to work better together? Hackman suggests you create the proper conditions so that your team can function optimally and those conditions are in his Five Factor Model. Hackman's Model: 5 Conditions for Teamwork to Thrive In 2002, J. Richard Hackman published a book entitled Leading Teams: Setting the Stage for Great Performances. Hackman and his colleagues studied analytic teams in US intelligence agencies, symphony and chamber orchestras, hospital patient care teams, management groups, flight deck crews, and various other groups in order to identify three main attributes that all successful groups possess, namely: They satisfy internal and external clients They develop capabilities to perform in the future The members find meaning and satisfaction within the group His research then led him to identify five necessary conditions — the ingredients, if you will —that result in these three attributes appearing in a team. He called this his Five Factor Model. These five factors increase the probability of team effectiveness, eventually growing the team's capabilities as the conditions continue. The five factors are: 1. Being a real team -- not just a team in name Effective teams clearly delineate who is part of the team. Their membership is at least moderately stable. Plus, they have shared tasks. 2. Having a compelling direction that everyone strives toward Objectives are clarified, challenging, and consequential enough to get team members motivated to work together. Time for some SMART goals! 3. Having an enabling structure that optimizes teamwork The team's structure — the internal way it organizes and works — has to enable teamwork and not impede it. If, for example, only one person approves the work of 20 people, then that bottleneck won't enable the team to be effective. 4. Having a supportive context within the organization In order for the team to do their work effectively, they must receive these things from the parent organization: Material resources are sufficient and available Rewards based on team performance Easy access to information necessary for their work Training and technical consults are available to the team 5. Having expert coaching and guidance Effective teams have access to a mentor or a coach who can help them with questions and challenges pertaining to their work or individual skills. In a study by Ruth Wageman, the research showed that those teams set up correctly can benefit more from good coaching. The chart below shows how little benefit coaching gives a team who is poorly set up for success. Ready to Equip Your Team? The long and short of it is this: if you can fulfill these five basic conditions then your organization can create and maintain effective teams and you give them a more complete chance to develop into a productive unit. Teamwork is something we grow up trying to perfect. Whether it's out on the soccer field, within a household, or in a corporate conference room, it's important to acknowledge that teamwork doesn't naturally occur unless you've got the above conditions. A good team paves the way for success, enables collaboration, receives outside support, and appoints the proper leadership. With these five conditions for success: Together, Everyone Achieves More. And Speaking of More... Hackman isn't the only one to theorize on what makes teams effective. Read about 5 more models of team effectiveness in this blog post and discover collaboration tools for remote teams: 6 Different Team Effectiveness Models to Understand Your Team Better

The Art of the Handoff: What Soccer’s Tiki-Taka Teaches Us About Teamwork
Collaboration 10 min read

The Art of the Handoff: What Soccer’s Tiki-Taka Teaches Us About Teamwork

Even if you’re not on a soccer field, your team needs to be able to quickly and effectively “pass the ball” to one another (just like Tiki-Taka!)—without things falling apart in the process. That latter part is where things can get a little sticky. So, let’s dive into some tips to make those project handoffs a little more streamlined.

How to Meet Millennials’ Standards for Collaboration
Collaboration 5 min read

How to Meet Millennials’ Standards for Collaboration

According to a study by Aon Hewitt, nearly 50% of millennials plan to actively look for a new job in 2015. With 80 million millennials in the U.S. alone, it’s time to start strategizing around how to attract their talent, meet their needs, and keep them engaged. Global research firm Gartner found these interesting facts about the current state of the workplace: Employees are only spending about 40% of their time at their personal workstations Non-group tasks have decreased to about 20% of the working day With larger percentages of this generation joining the workforce every day, the work environment is changing. The millennial generation grew up on collaboration, and they expect that in the workplace. So if you really want to attract and tap into their talent, you’ll need to reconsider your office setup to support collaboration and creative thinking. Removing Cubicles in the Office Traditionally, employees would withdraw to their private space and work as human silos. This is the opposite of what millennials desire; they crave collaboration. And the first step to satisfying that hunger is to say “Rest In Peace” to cubicles. Interior design and research firm Knoll ran a workplace study and discovered some remarkable results after companies moved from cubicles to an open-floor design: Performance increased by an average of 440% There was a 5.5% reduction in business process time and cost When you think about it, walls physically block communication. They separate people, and they prevent teammates from conversing with one another. So why are organizations still keeping them up? Try this out for size: group desks together in pods or line them up in rows so employees are in close contact with each other. Make sure teammates can easily verbally communicate with one another without having to shout or move too far from their desks. Designate Collaboration Spaces for Work Once you’ve said goodbye to the cubicles, the next step is to create spaces that encourage casual collisions and collaboration. According to this survey by IdeaPaint, millennials reported that only 30.8% of their ideation meetings are planned. Here are four solutions that foster both spontaneous and scheduled brainstorming: Open meeting areas: Scatter tables and chairs in various spaces around the office. This allows employees to quickly gather when they need to brainstorm, instead of having to wait for a meeting room to open up. If you hang a whiteboard on a nearby wall, then you’ve got a fully functional meeting space. Break rooms: Idle chitchat around the watercooler isn’t always a time waster. In fact, the majority of watercooler conversations revolve around work. You never know when a brilliant idea will pop up. Genius bar: Meant for eating lunch or teamwork, these long stretches of counter space allow employees to just step right up to the bar and work together. It creates a more centralized space for collaboration where multiple teams can gather in one area. Meeting rooms: You obviously can’t forget to keep rooms that people can schedule for formal meetings. They’re still necessary when you need to discuss a sensitive topic or gather a large party. A Work Environment for the New Way to Work Out of respect for fellow colleagues, collaboration can’t always be done at people’s desks. So to encourage open, unbridled teamwork that appeals to the millennial generation, create these collaborative spaces so people can feel free to brainstorm and let loose their creative ideas. Create a work environment that matches the new way people are working — with spontaneous, open collaboration. Author Bio:Sabrina is a Content Marketing Specialist at TINYpulse, writing about and researching new ways to make employees happier. A Seattle native, she loves her morning (or anytime) coffee, spending her weekends on the mountains, and of course, the famous rain.

4 Ways to Deal with an Office Crush
Collaboration 3 min read

4 Ways to Deal with an Office Crush

If you have an office crush, don't start panicking just yet. Take a look at our list of ways to deal with it quietly and professionally so neither you nor your crush are negatively affected by it.

Celebrate July 4th with Our Independence Day Game
Productivity 3 min read

Celebrate July 4th with Our Independence Day Game

Happy Independence Day! In the spirit of the holiday celebrations, we’ve prepared a fun game for you to enjoy.

How to Improve Marketing & Sales Team Alignment
Collaboration 5 min read

How to Improve Marketing & Sales Team Alignment

Sales and marketing alignment should be the goal of your organization, meaning that collaboration between teams is crucial. Luckily, Wrike can help.

What Color Best Expresses Collaboration?
News 7 min read

What Color Best Expresses Collaboration?

What visual language can a designer use to convey the product's usefulness? What kind of feeling should it generate? Read on to learn more about how the Wrike brand refresh design came into fruition.

25 Top Collaboration Tools to Power Your Marketing Team
Marketing 10 min read

25 Top Collaboration Tools to Power Your Marketing Team

Marketing teams are constantly evaluating and adapting—which can make managing campaigns and working together hectic and haphazard. Tight deadlines, tighter budgets, and higher expectations means marketers are always on the hunt for new technologies to help them streamline and scale their efforts. The problem is, there are literally thousands of creative collaboration tools designed to help marketing teams perform better. Scott Brinker’s infamous Marketing Technology Landscape now includes over 5,000 tools, up nearly 40% from last year. So, we’ve compiled a list of 25 top marketing collaboration tools, based on reviews from real users. From ideation to execution, these marketing collaboration tools will help your team work better together. Brainstorming Apps Stormboard A real-time virtual whiteboard where your team can generate new ideas, organize, and prioritize them in one tool. Top feature: Every idea has its own comment thread, where you can riff off and refine ideas as a team. Pricing: Free for up to 5 users. $5/month for Startup and Business plans are also available at $8.33/month. Coggle This collaborative mind mapping app makes it easy for your team to visualize and organize ideas quickly and easily. Top feature: Every change you make to your mind map is automatically saved, so you can go back and make a copy from any point, or revert to a previous version. Pricing: Free for up to 3 diagrams. $5/month for unlimited diagrams and image uploads, $8/user/month for individual workspaces, data management, and branded diagrams. Notism Share, edit, review, and approve both images and video with this online app. Your team can see each others cursors, making it easy to collaborate and ideate with fellow marketers and designers. Top feature: Sketch directly on the work to spin off a new idea, and to make feedback more precise. Notism also features version control, so you can easily compare ideas and decide which to pursue. Pricing: $7.65/month for 5 projects and collaborators and 2 GB of space; $20.40/month for 15 projects and collaborators and 10 GB of space, and $41.65/month for 40 projects and collaborators and 40 GB of space. Brainsparker When your team needs a little help to inspire some imaginative thinking, try Brainsparker. The app contains 200 creativity prompts. Just shake your device to shuffle the deck and see a new thought-provoking word or phrase. Top Feature: Find creativity journals, templates, and training programs in the Brainsparker Gym and Academy for even more inspiration. Pricing: Free app for Android and iOS LucidChart Store and organize ideas with this easy-to-use mind mapping software. Great for matching your content efforts to your marketing funnel, visualizing your SEO strategy, creating video storyboards, or tracking all your email campaign tracks in a single view. Top feature: Dozens of pre-built flowchart templates make it easy for your team to get up and running quickly. Pricing: Starting at $4.95/month for single users and $20/month for teams. Campaign Management Solutions Wrike Wrike’s work management software helps you coordinate work across teams, collaborate on creative assets, and get better visibility into progress and performance. Top feature: Automated, custom Requests bring order to the chaotic work intake process, and ensure your team gets all the details they need up front to get the job done right. Pricing: Wrike for Marketers starts at $34.60/user/month, or start a free trial. ActiveCampaign This digital marketing automation tool lets you build campaign workflows to send targeted campaigns, nurture contacts, and streamline sales and marketing processes. Top feature: The software notifies you of any potential mistakes that could negatively affect your workflow, like forgetting to specify a time delay between two steps. Pricing: $17/month for up to 3 users and basic features, $49/month for up to 25 users and additional features, $99/month for up to 50 users and advanced features, $149/month for unlimited users and all features. Net-Results From lead generation and nurturing to email marketing and social media management, Net-Results makes it easy for your team to create, manage, and collaborate on campaigns, as well as measure results with shareable dashboards and reports. Top feature: Drag-and-drop builders let you quickly create responsive emails, forms, and landing pages. Pricing: Starting at $800/month for 10,000 contacts. Flow A simple teamwork app that lets your team prioritize to-dos, delegate tasks, clarify priorities, and collaborate with both teammates and freelancers. Top feature: The app’s simplicity makes onboarding your team quick and easy. Pricing: Starting at $17/month for a single user, with unlimited tasks, projects, teams, and file storage. Flow Pro pricing available upon request. Communication & Chat Apps *Everyone knows about Slack, Skype, and Google Hangouts, so we'll skip those tools here and feature a few other chat tools worth checking out.  Microsoft Teams A Wrike project added as a tab in Microsoft Teams.When you need to outline a campaign strategy or discuss a new proposal, Microsoft Teams channels help your team not only talk about work, but get work done. Write quick chats, a full wiki of documents, or longer messages, complete with a subject and importance indicator. When it’s time to hold a meeting, create a new chat room to jump on a video call, share your screen, and take down minutes. Top feature: Integrations with Wrike let you create and manage projects within Teams. View tasks, update details and due dates, and view your project schedule. Pricing: Included with Office 365 plans, starting at $5/user/month. Flock Flock lets you chat with your team, connect Google Drive to share files, and host video meetings. Load your shared to-do list in the sidebar, add tasks, and assign teammates for a quick way to reference what needs to be done, who’s responsible, and how it all connects. Top feature: In-chat polling lets you quickly take your team's temperature, or hold a vote on what to do. Pricing: Free for unlimited users at 10k message history. $3/user/month for unlimited messages, history, and integrations. Discord Designed for gamers, Discord offers voice channels: always-on phone calls that let you talk to anyone in your team at the push of a button. Keep your mic muted, then tap a key to start talking and join the discussion. Discord works on both your desktop and mobile device, so you can keep the conversation going from anywhere. Top feature: Quickly add a colleague from another team to your conversation with an Instant Invite link. Pricing: Free, or $4.99/month if you want custom emoji, GIF avatars, and larger file uploads. ChatWork If you frequently work with outside agencies or freelancers, it can be tough to manage all that communication via email. ChatWork makes chatting with people outside your company easy. Create a profile and you can message anyone else with a ChatWork ID, and access all your conversations from the sidebar. Top feature: See mentions across all your teams in one place, including a comprehensive to-do list. Pricing: Free for single users and up to 14 group chats, $4/user/month for unlimited group chats, $5/user/month for user and file management. Ryver Use Posts to organize ideas and conversations. Select messages, add a subject, and include a message with details, instructions, action items, or follow-up. Ryver saves all your Posts to a tab for easy reference. Top feature: Click the Set Reminder button on each chat and longform post to have Ryver send you a notification reminder. Pricing: Free. Unlimited users, teams, guests, search, storage, and integrations. Coming soon: Ryver Task Manager, pricing TBA. Digital Asset Management Systems Canto Flight Tag, search, collaborate and report on all your company’s digital assets. Make it easy for your team to follow established brand guidelines with a clear approval processes, copyrighting, and watermarks features. Top feature: Smart albums automatically assign images, videos, audio files, and presentations by type. Pricing: Contact Canto for plans and pricing details.   MediaValet A central library that helps your marketing and creative teams easily manage, collaborate on and distribute marketing visuals and content, improving productivity and increasing ROI on marketing investments. With unlimited users, support and training, teams worldwide can access the content they need, whenever and wherever they need it.     Top feature: Audio/Video indexing using Microsoft’s best-in-class AI to leverage searchable transcripts, text and object recognition and sentiment analysis for a game-changing search experience for DAM users.     Pricing: Contact MediaValet to request pricing details.   Bynder A central hub for all your creative assets that offers real-time collaborative edits and approvals, auto-formatting for channels and file types, and clear version control. Auto-tagging powered by artificial intelligence identifies thousands of objects within images and automatically generates the appropriate tags. Top feature: Create a shareable, interactive style guide with Bynder’s brand identity guidelines to ensure a consistent customer experience across all channels and communications. Pricing: Contact Bynder to request pricing details.     IntelligenceBank Sick of searching messy shared drives? Categorize all your creative assets by file type, keyword, or metadata. Set permissions to specify which content individuals can access. Top feature: Custom brand guideline pages displayed within the app make it easy to keep guidelines up-to-date, and ensure your team knows exactly which assets to use. Pricing: $9/user/month for 10+ users, or $19/user/month for 10+ users and advanced features like workflow and approvals. AssetBank Upload, preview, and search for assets easily with AssetBank. You can create and share lightboxes both internally and externally, create user groups, and define what users can view, upload, and download. Top feature: Edit assets before you download, including cropping, resizing, reformatting, and masking. Pricing: $430/month for 50+ users and basic features, $700/month for 100-500 users and advanced features, or $1,120/month for unlimited users and all features. Widen A truly collaborative DAM that lets you view an activity feed of user uploads, downloads, shares and comments, plus comment threads, custom statuses, favorites, and ratings. Top feature: The Asset Engagement tool lets you see each asset’s popularity score, and quickly compare with your other creative assets to see what’s working best. Pricing: Start a free trial, or request a demo for detailed pricing information. Marketing Analytics Dashboards SEMrush What keywords are your competitors targeting? What are their ad strategies and budgets? SEMrush can help your team keep an eye on rivals and adjust strategies accordingly, so you come out on top in search engine rankings. Top feature: The keyword difficulty tool helps you pinpoint easy targets for your SEO strategy, or determine whether it’s worth investing time and resources overtaking the #1 spot from a competitor. Pricing: $99.95/month for 5 projects and 500 keywords, $199.95/month for 50 projects and 1,500 keywords, $399.95/month for 200 projects and 5,000 keywords. Cyfe Set up a series of dashboards for social media, web analytics, SEO, and more. View historical data alongside real-time reports, and add custom data sources as widgets. Top feature: Pre-built widgets make it easy to connect Google Analytics, AdWords, Salesforce, and dozens of other data sources. Pricing: Free version available; Premium starts at $14/month. Domo Bring real-time marketing data from your CRM, web analytics, PPC, social media, marketing automation, and financials into a single place. Give your team instant insights into metrics like ROI by channel, revenue and lead attribution, cost per acquisition, customer LTV and more, so everyone has the information they need to make smart decisions. Top feature: Get alerts via email or text message when key metrics need your attention. Pricing: Start a free trial, and contact Domo sales for pricing information on the Professional and Enterprise subscriptions. Moz Pro Get a complete picture of your SEO performance, including keyword rankings and research, competitor rank tracking, mobile rankings, backlinks, page optimization, reporting, and workflows. Top feature: Get actionable insights into website errors, competitive research, and SEO opportunities with the site audit tool, or use the Learn & Connect tab to access advice from industry experts and find SEO resources. Pricing: Starting at $79/month for 2 users and 5 campaigns; $119/month for 10 users and 10 campaigns; $199/month for 25 users and 25 campaigns, and $479/month for unlimited users and 100 campaigns. Kissmetrics Kissmetrics uses audience behavior analysis to help you find ideal customers—and keep your current ones. A blend of analytics and automation, Kissmetrics helps you understand customer behavior and trigger automatic actions to nurture relationships. See where you’re losing prospects, improve retention, and view trends in customer behavior. Top feature: Pre-built behavior reports provide meaningful customer insights, right out of the box. Pricing: Starting at $500/month. Bonus Drumup Drumup is a social media management and content curation tool that helps marketing teams discover trending content and drive customer engagement. Its social employee engagement and advocacy platform lets you broadcast marketing content to your fellow employees, making it easy for them to share to their social networks. Top feature: A built-in gamification module lets you run monthly contests and display leaderboards to keep colleagues sharing your content. Pricing: Start a free trial, or contact the DrumUp team for detailed pricing information. Choose the Right Marketing Collaboration Tools for Your Team Looking for a new marketing collaboration tool? Get advice for selecting software that will help your team work faster, communicate better, and accomplish more with our downloadable evaluation checklist. Sources: SEMrush.com, searchenginejournal.com, oliveandcompany.com, capterra.com, zapier.com

11 Key Business Benefits of Team Collaboration (& Why You Should Work on Your Teamwork)
Collaboration 7 min read

11 Key Business Benefits of Team Collaboration (& Why You Should Work on Your Teamwork)

A collaborative culture is actually the single most potent element for an organization's survival. Here are each of the 11 benefits we've pinpointed and why teamwork is crucial to every company's day-to-day dealings:

The “We” in “Teamwork: How Marketers Can Drive Cross-Team Collaboration
Collaboration 10 min read

The “We” in “Teamwork": How Marketers Can Drive Cross-Team Collaboration

Because marketing teams are highly collaborative by nature, they’re in a unique position to take the wheel and drive cross-departmental collaboration. Here are a few ways to successfully lead the charge.

Top Tips on How To Manage a Hybrid Team (Infographic)
Remote Working 3 min read

Top Tips on How To Manage a Hybrid Team (Infographic)

Flexible working is the new standard for businesses worldwide, leading managers to wonder how to manage a hybrid team. Here’s how to lead them to success.

7 Teamwork Terrors and How to Conquer Them
Collaboration 5 min read

7 Teamwork Terrors and How to Conquer Them

Since the dawn of man, teamwork and cooperation has been the preferred method of getting things done. From the pyramids of Giza to the Golden Gate Bridge, we rely heavily on teams of engineers and architects to create such majestic masterpieces. However, where there is teamwork, there is work required to be a team. Too many voices and conflicting opinions can lead to a giant headache and bring productivity to a grinding halt. Throw in egos, politics, and laziness and you've got a recipe for disaster. Here are 7 barriers that harm the harmony of your team: 1. Anchoring Have you ever been part of a group brainstorming session where, once two or three ideas have been shared, new ideas stop flowing and the group sort of shuts down? That’s anchoring. Teams get mentally stuck on the first few ideas and stop thinking of new solutions. Avoid the anchoring trap with these 7 brainstorming tricks, including brain writing. Be sure to keep all types of workers in mind with team building exercises for remote workers, so everyone feels included in the creative conversation. 2. Groupthink This teamwork barrier occurs when a majority of the group conforms to one idea despite their own concerns and insights, perhaps due to laziness, fear of judgement, time limitations, or being subjected to peer pressure from other members of the group. Because this is another common brainstorming risk, techniques like Stepladder and Round Robin brainstorming encourage everyone in the group to share their thoughts before settling on a course of action. 3. Social Loafing "If I don't get around to it, then someone on my team will just do it for me." If you've said this to yourself, then you're guilty of social loafing. Don't pat your lazy self on the back quite yet, you might have just cost your team some valuable productivity! Social loafing is the act of putting in less effort for a team project than you would for a solo task. This forces other team members to pick up the slack and possibility grow to resent you. One way to avoid this is by breaking a project into individual tasks and holding each team member accountable for certain steps. See how Wrike can help you assign tasks and delegate big projects. 4. Unresolvable Conflict Even the most successful teams sometimes experience conflict due to differences in opinion, perspectives, and experiences. However, if there is no way to resolve the conflict, then conflict harms your project's outcome. Unresolvable conflict can be caused by unclear goals and expectations for the project at hand, so avoid it by clearly communicating goals with the team and helping everyone understand their role. 5. Confirmation Bias Confirmation bias is the tendency to only accept information or evidence that confirms your own preconceptions. This bias can quickly become a roadblock when trying to iron out team conflict or justify a decision, and it can potentially lead to the Halo/Horn Effect (see below) and compromise good decision-making. To ward off this bias, challenge your beliefs and play devil's advocate. The Six Thinking Hats technique can also help you see a different perspective on the issue. 6. Halo/Horn Effect The way you perceive an individual strongly affects how you interact with them. If they made a poor first impression, or an offhand comment rubbed you the wrong way, you may have a subconscious bias against them. When that individual voices an opinion, you might automatically be more critical than you normally would. This can work to the opposite effect too. When someone you like shares their opinion, you might have a tendency to agree. When making big team decisions, try to be aware of this bias and focus on the best outcome for the team. 7. Overconfidence Effect Your perceptions and experiences inevitably shape who you are — but they can also lead to subtle mental biases that result in flawed decision making. The Overconfidence Effect happens when you accept or reject an idea based purely off a hunch with no evidence to back you up. (In fact, studies show that entrepreneurs are more likely to fall for this mental fallacy, rejecting others' ideas because of the false belief that they know what's best.) Don't fall for this mental trap! Always research new information and seek objective evidence to combat confirmation bias (and hopefully learn something new as well). What other teamwork barriers have you experienced? We'd love to hear how you resolved your teamwork troubles in the comments!

4 Team-Building Activities For Your Hybrid Workforce
Collaboration 3 min read

4 Team-Building Activities For Your Hybrid Workforce

Check out these four team-building activities that your hybrid workforce will find safe, fun, and productive.

5 Unexpected Ways To Improve Team Collaboration
Collaboration 7 min read

5 Unexpected Ways To Improve Team Collaboration

The general trend these days is toward open office plans, where cubicle walls and office doors don’t impede communication. In fact, the International Facility Management Association reports that 70% of offices in the US now have an open floor plan.  But tearing down the walls so we can yell across the room at one another doesn’t necessarily improve collaboration. In fact, a study in Finland found that employees on average waste 21.5 minutes a day getting distracted by overheard conversations, the top roadblock to productivity. It takes more than just moving the furniture and hoping it will get people talking—it takes planning, intentional policy changes, and just a little hint of the unexpected. These five unusual strategies for improving team collaboration will get your teams to work together in ways that make people feel comfortable sharing ideas.  1. Put the Walls Back Up Conventional wisdom says that open work spaces and shared offices get people to talk more, but the ambient noise and visual distractions can actually mean a loss of productivity. We cycle through the open-office-closed-door argument every decade or so, probably because the pendulum swings way too far in one direction or the other, leaving employees either isolated or distracted. When employees have a quiet, comfortable place to work distraction-free, they feel more comfortable coming out of their shells when they need to work together. Cubicles, conference rooms, and separate offices help define meeting times and let employees choose when they engage with others, rather than the open office layout that stifles quiet time. 2. Build an Asynchronous Communication Policy Many workplaces have implemented instant messaging apps, crowd-sourced employee documents, and project management tools that increase the opportunity for collaboration. But that’s not enough—you also have to create expectations around how employees use those tools.  Communication apps like Skype and Slack, can and should be used with an understanding that communication happens at your discretion.  Asynchronous communication models the sort of communication that happens between parts of a computer: information is sent when it’s convenient for one part of the system, and the other part of the system receives and responds at its convenience. This way, the receiver’s current process isn’t interrupted, which helps team members stay focused on important work.  Offices that use wikis, email, chat tools, Kanban boards, and project management tools that let users view notifications and changes on their own time show respect for the individual’s flow of work. Users can set "do not disturb" hours so they won’t receive distracting notifications, and use a batching system to take care of all secondary communication outside of their focus times.  Asynchronous communication gives employees the freedom to focus without that fear of missing out on important decisions. When companies empower employees to communicate within dedicated time frames, they send the message that they appreciate when employees focus on single tasks, rather than splitting their attention between communication and assignments.  3. Implement: "No Agenda, No Meeting" It’s many people’s worst office nightmare: a meeting with no plan. Requiring that all meetings — no matter how trivial or informal — have at least a bullet point outline puts both planners and attendees at ease.  Agendas also keep your teams focused on outcomes. Teams that plan in advance and share agendas stay on track and reduce distractions that can devolve into lost time and unhelpful disagreements. Build policies about tangential discussions and how to deal with disagreements, so your employees know how to handle new and uncomfortable situations. Meeting agendas protect meaningful individual work time, and helps the group stay on task. This reduces friction due to off-topic talking, lets attendees collect their thoughts and ideas before the meeting, and defines the scope of work so all participants understand what’s expected. Collaboration is much easier when everyone knows what’s required.  Once the group completes the agenda, release employees to check off the items on their personal to-do lists. You can always schedule follow-up meetings to resolve new issues.  4. Build an Inclusive Remote Work Infrastructure Finding top talent is harder than ever, and ensuring that your employees have a good work-life balance is an HR necessity. The Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 24% of employees worked from home at least part of the time in 2015. Working remotely from a home office or co-working space in a different city can increase employee happiness and productivity and limit distractions from office shenanigans (looking at you, Sales Departments).  Companies that allow remote work or work from home policies need to build communication and collaboration into the lifestyle of the company. Use video conferencing, chat programs, screensharing & remote desktop access, and project management tools to bring employees together virtually around your  goals.  Ensure that not only workers but also managers and executives understand how to use the remote technology, and are comfortable engaging with the crew. Use your video calls for 1:1 weekly meetings to check in, and build chat channels where your whole team can hang out. Allow teams to build their own chat channels around shared interests (Trivia, Fantasy Football, great restaurants, etc.) to cultivate a connected culture and engage employees during downtime. These connections remind us that our colleagues are more than their work projects, they are people too. Humanizing remote teammates helps to foster empathy, which in turn smooths out whatever rough patches you'll hit during collaboration.  5. Build Relationships via Tough Conversations Whether collaboration takes place in the office or remotely, in real time or asynchronously, in a conference room or in the middle of an open office, it’s important to build communication policies that promote openness and honesty. Conflict and criticism are inevitable, but collaboration doesn’t have to suffer: the whole team can communicate with emotional intelligence.  By planning for the inevitable, you can ensure that tough conversations happen with sensitivity—building relationships among team members, instead of eroding them.  Designate mediators for teams, plan regular communication skills workshops (quarterly, not just once a year), and discuss different communication styles.  Collaboration is More Than Seating Arrangements  Improved team collaboration takes more than sticking everyone in a room and hoping individual genius will compound in a group setting. Real business-oriented collaboration requires careful planning, investment in technology, and breaking down outdated ideas of what teamwork and productivity look like.  About the Author: Tamara Scott is an analyst at TechnologyAdvice, a research company that connects buyers and sellers of business technology. She writes about project management, marketing, sales, CRM, and many other technology verticals.

How to Convince Your Boss You Need Better Collaboration Tools
Collaboration 5 min read

How to Convince Your Boss You Need Better Collaboration Tools

You're reached that point where email and spreadsheets just don’t cut it anymore — that point when the lost attachments and noisy communication of email, as well as the need for constant manual updates on spreadsheets, have moved from being useful to being inefficient. You’re convinced that your team would benefit from proper collaboration tools, but how do you convince your boss? You need more than a list of cool features that you can’t live without. You need justification for serious investment, with points that can be presented to higher management and maybe even  executives. You need to prepare a case for how your current tools are stealing resources (think: time and money) from your organization’s bottom line, and keeping it from achieving high level business objectives at a faster pace. Here are three benefits to point out to management when you need to convince them that your team needs more efficient collaboration tools: Prove: Email/Spreadsheets aren't Efficient Collaboration Tools If you’re not using a project management software or collaboration tool, then you’re probably coordinating projects via emails, spreadsheets, phone calls, and face-to-face meetings. While each of these are useful, none of them are robust enough to efficiently manage deadlines, complex to-do lists, collaborative feedback, and team member workloads. Action:Craft an argument around how formal collaboration tools can reduce the inefficiency of your current system. You can reference studies on how time is wasted when searching through emails, or when there are too many meetings (see Salary.com's 2014 Wasting Time at Work Survey). Look for stats about how much time workers spend interacting with email (28% of their work week, according to McKinsey Global Institute). Delve into your current struggles with emails that don't provide proper context (which project is this about?), and miscommunications stemming from email threads where multiple people weigh in at the same time, often with conflicting instructions. Cite specific instances when one of your projects broke down due to an email or spreadsheet error. Demonstrate: How Collaboration Tools Make Past Successes Repeatable You’ve run successful campaigns and projects before, sure. But do you still have the data connected to those victories? Do you have baseline information on how long production took for the last product release so you can improve the process this time around? With all your project info in project management software, its ability to record time spent and lessons learned will give your group the ability to document, examine, and duplicate successful programs. Action: Look at the programs your team needs to repeat or find a specific project that was managed using your current system. Research that project's info (e.g. how long production took, how many people worked on it, etc.), and track the amount of time it takes you to generate a report that you can show your boss. Then try to do the same using a free trial of a collaboration tool like Wrike. Track how long it takes. Present the two reports side by side and contrast ease of use, availability of data, and time spent. Real examples provide real support. Evangelize: Advantages of Better Collaboration Tools Finally, discuss the advantages of a collaboration tool: visible task lists help reduce the number of meetings, it’s much more difficult for tasks to fall through the cracks when projects are organized and visible, reports can be more easily generated when all project data is in one system, team members are more accountable for their work when they see their tasks and deadlines in black and white, etc. Think about what a collaboration tool would mean for you and your teamwork. Action: List the benefits that a collaboration tool like Wrike can give your team. Focus on the advantages the software gives your team. You can also read case studies of current customers within your industry who are using the software you’re considering. If their use cases are the same, give these to your boss as proof of how a collaboration tool can help your team. How will you convince your boss you need a better collaboration tool? Share your wisdom and your past experiences in the comments below! Download our free eBook for tips on finding a more efficient tool:Why Managers Need to Break Up with Email and Spreadsheets Related Reads:Top 9 Project Management Tool Features on the SMB Wishlist8 Lessons in Increased Productivity from Wrike CustomersHow I Use Online Collaboration Tools to Run a Marketing Team

5 Mistakes Marketing Teams Make with Collaboration
Marketing 7 min read

5 Mistakes Marketing Teams Make with Collaboration

Like any other department, marketing has its fair share of collaboration mistakes. Let’s look at five of the most common mistakes that marketers make and how they can be avoided.