Collaborative Work Management Guide

Challenges of Collaborative Working

Challenges of Collaborative Working

Collaboration in the workplace can yield great results, provided that companies can promote departmental and team synergy. When everything clicks, you can create a well-oiled machine capable of far more than its individual parts. The machine's output is greatly diminished when you have a cog that refuses to cooperate.

According to the Wellingtone state of project management report 2021, 53% of survey respondents believe that we’ll see more work organized around small teams. If this turns out to be true, you need to establish systems under which teams in your company can thrive.

To avoid succumbing to the challenges of collaborative working, you’ll need to be able to answer the following question: How can you ensure workplace collaboration boosts, rather than inhibits, productivity levels?

In this guide, we’ll discuss the potential challenges of collaborative tools, as well as the most common challenges of team collaboration.

Establishing strong leadership

While the traditional view of teamwork is of many individuals contributing to one shared goal, the reality is that successful collaboration often requires strong leadership. Leaving it up to team members to come together and figure out the minutiae of a project can spell disaster, as details can get forgotten, miscommunicated, or poorly interpreted.

A team leader brings energy, purpose, and drive to the table, though not everyone can step up to the plate and lead a team to success. The 2020 Global Workplace report shows that employees are 14x more likely to be ‘fully engaged’ with their work when they trust their team leader. What this tells us is that strong leadership is essential for effective collaboration.

Relying on shared responsibility for driving projects forward can work, but it detracts from each individual’s ability to give their all to the work itself. Separating these roles and assigning them to a trustworthy leader can make a world of difference.

Process sinking vs. process syncing

The challenge of collaboration extends beyond the single team unit, as it also encompasses inter-departmental efforts. If you can get a series of teams working well on their own, that will undoubtedly boost output. Yet it doesn’t guarantee that they'll be successful when they have to come together to work on a shared project with another department.

As such, you should strive for process syncing. Implementing the right tools and systems can help teams from each department fall in line and work well together on shared projects. For example, if your HR department uses Zoom to stay in touch but your marketing team relies on Slack, there’ll be a company-wide disconnect when it comes to communication.

Adjust your systems to work for all departments and encourage the use of the same collaboration tools for the best results.

Fostering a collaborative work ethos

Workplace collaboration challenges can be created by the company, team leader, or individual team members. Effective collaboration is often hindered by a lack of individual responsibility, which means employees are unengaged with the work, or mismanagement.

If collaboration problems stem from above, that leaves the responsibility to you or your senior managers to make a change. This is most likely the case if you find that you’re met with poor results whenever you introduce collaborative measures.

In the remote work context, 51% of employees reported that their companies helped them communicate with their peers. 34% said their companies don’t, but they would like them to. This alarmingly high figure suggests that a lot of team workers are held back by ineffective collaboration tools and poor company collaboration measures.

So how do you affect company-wide change to boost collaboration? Implementing the right collaboration tools could be the solution to your team working woes. When 94% of employees would say that seeing what their coworkers are working on boosts productivity, it’s worth listening. Project management software can provide company-wide visibility and promote inter-team transparency, so you can see how your coworkers are getting on.

Wrike allows you to achieve company-wide collaboration, giving you and your teams the tools to thrive. You can tailor its features to your company, regardless of size and how you work, so that you can overcome some of the greatest challenges of collaboration.

Sign up for a free two-week trial today to see how Wrike can help encourage workplace collaboration.

Further reading

How to Measure Collaboration


What Are Collaborative Work Groups?


What Are Collaboration Goals and Objectives?


What Are Team Collaboration Best Practices?