Collaborative Work Management Guide

What Is Collaborative Work?

What Is Collaboration in Organizations?

At school, group work often amounts to one member assuming the responsibility for the whole group and single-handedly carrying the project through to completion. At work, collaborative teamwork conjures images of close-knit teams striving to complete a project using their collective knowledge and expertise. 

But where exactly does company-wide, cross-functional collaboration fit in between these two stereotypes, and what is collaboration in the workplace?

For a company to excel in the remote work environment which threatens to overhaul the typical 9-5 model, team members must share a collective burden and work as a cohesive unit. 

To complete the collaborative work definition, you must also factor in senior management roles. There are few examples of collaboration in the workplace that exclude higher-ups in the organization, as their inclusion is essential to ensure streamlined project management.

The pillars of productivity

For a company to succeed in the modern world, it needs to uphold several pillars of productivity, which promote collaboration from the top down. The collaborative work meaning includes productivity metrics, which indicate optimal performance. Each of these productivity pillars bears the weight of expectations within the company and can help you scale from a solid foundation.

While these pillars can be established without a focus on collaboration, it’s the shared vision and work of a collective unit that helps keep them in place. If you make your business an island, you cut yourself off from valuable support networks that can help you stay afloat and survive tough times.

The three pillars of productivity are:

  • Shared Vision 
  • Communication 
  • Project Management

Shared vision

If you want to make sure everyone in your company pulls in the same direction, you need to give them something to aim for. Even the slightest alteration to a plane’s direction can knock it miles off course and lead to a different destination. As such, you don’t want to leave room for misunderstandings that could cost your business.

Establish a vision and values from day one, and it’ll be much easier to maintain a collective workforce that moves towards a shared goal. When you have a clear objective, such as making the world a better place through enhancing communication, employees at every level can get onboard and share an enthusiasm to keep this sense of purpose alive in their work.

For real-life examples of collaboration principles in the workplace, we can look at outdoor clothing company Patagonia, whose mission statement is clear and meaningful: 

Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.

Research shows that employees are 30% more likely to be high performers when working towards a shared vision. As such, a company built on collaboration is one that creates a purpose-driven workplace in which each individual can excel on their own but also form part of a well-oiled machine.


Collaboration isn’t possible without effective communication, as clear internal messaging breeds collaborative work. For an excellent example of collaborative work, all you have to do is look at one of the thousands of companies that adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic-imposed changes, maintaining high levels of productivity even with hybrid work models.

Collaborative work is often about passing projects down the virtual assembly line so that each employee can add their input or make changes to the work. That’s what makes communication a pillar of productivity: it streamlines the process and facilitates cross-department coordination.

These days, communication is critical, as many teams have been separated from each other and management. When the shared office space is no longer accessible, communicating through digital means becomes a necessity. Zoom calls became so prevalent in the months following the initial outbreak in 2020 that the brand name became a verb and generated dozens of viral memes.

An SHRM report clearly highlights the need for communication in a post-COVID world, with 59% of Americans surveyed attributing communication as a key factor in improving workplace culture in the face of the pandemic.

Project management

Finally, no workplace can survive the remote work environment without implementing project management systems. Even before the pandemic, it was hard to underestimate the importance of effective project management for collaborative work

In fact, the cost of failing to see the value in project management can be catastrophic. Organizations that undervalue project management tend to see 67% more projects fail, which of course, can spell disaster for productivity levels.

When you think of collaborative work, we’re willing to wager you’re met with a digital Kanban board — a visual representation of task and project cards sliding from left to right to indicate their progression from one stage to the next. This is the reality of the post-COVID world since it’s imperative to uphold productivity levels from afar. One of the best ways to do so is to implement comprehensive project management software.

Wrike can help you instill the value of shared goals in your workforce, invigorating productivity levels and boosting cross-team collaboration. From project managers to marketing teams, Wrike has solutions for every department in your company. 

Sign up for a free two-week trial to see how the software can help you hit your business goals through collaborative work.

Further reading

What Are Collaboration Goals and Objectives?


What Are Collaboration Methods and Techniques?


What Are Team Collaboration Best Practices?


What Are the Disadvantages of Collaboration?