In the latest Harvard Business Review, there is an article entitled Collaboration Overload which discusses the increase of collaboration and teamwork within organisations but highlights the cons of this practice which I must agree with. How much time do you spend in meetings these days, in the office and on phone calls and emails, I am sure this has increased dramatically, are you being productive? I am guessing your answer would be no, do you finish your day asking the question, what value did I add today and come away dissatisfied! You then end up taking a lot of work home which contributes to stress, burnout and unhappy relationships with your family due to you “always working”.
It appears that from research done 20% to 35% of collaborative work comes from only 3% to 5% of employees which is extremely low, what then are the other 95% of employees doing, I wonder. The employees who are doing the majority of the work end up becoming increasingly overstretched and more disenchanted with their organisation resulting in them either leaving because of career dissatisfaction or passing on their frustrations onto fellow colleagues resulting in bad work relationships.
It is extremely important for organisations to understand exactly where the problems are and to fix them as a matter of urgency. There are numerous tools available which could help in collating the data and obtaining the relevant information which could be used to encourage behavioural changes like setting boundaries allowing for a better balance between work and personal time which in turn could alleviate stress and other unhealthy practices.
Ultimately leaders need to realise the importance of sharing the work and not relying on a few employees to do all the work. I am not saying collaboration is not the way to go, I just think it should be looked at more closely and analysis done on what the work output is, time taken to complete tasks and the amount of time spent in unproductive and meaningless meetings in order to get a true reflection of where the problems are and then fix them.