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Bad manners and poor tech impair collaboration

Lack of teamwork and bad manners are blighting business and impairing effective collaboration warns Sharp.

In a survey of 1,000 UK office workers* by the document solutions provider, almost half (46%) stated that colleagues forget to share important information or documents with them, resulting in wasted time, missed opportunities and potentially lost revenue.

The same number (46%) complained that co-workers talk over each other in meetings, creating a disruptive working environment. More than one in three (38%) highlighted the problem of people typing and working on other things during conference calls.

Workplace strategist and change manager Dr Nigel Oseland says good meeting etiquette and consideration for colleagues are particularly important at a time of increased mobile and home working, which can make it harder to establish collaborative relationships.

“Collaboration is crucial to running a successful business. It’s key to how efficiently and effectively teams can work, in essence their productivity. But with more people working remotely, it becomes both increasingly important and more difficult to foster a collaborative culture in the work environment,” he said.

“There are usually three key factors that contribute to how well collaboration can happen within a business – people, space and technology. For people to collaborate better comes down to how well they understand and appreciate each other’s personalities and different ways of working, as a more diverse mix of people typically will be a more successful team. They also need to understand each other’s motivators, gain trust and share mutual respect.

“However, even the best team in the world can’t work together productively if they don’t have the right tools in place. It’s important that organisations bear this in mind and make sure they provide their staff with the appropriate technology and complementary spaces which will encourage them to be collaborative across a range of working environments.”

Sharp’s survey supports Oselund’s observation that it is not only bad habits that jeopardise successful collaboration, but also bad technology, with 45% of respondents claiming that the technology in their office makes it more difficult to share information.

Taking action

Although employees are frustrated by the perceived failings of their collaboration tools, 50% do nothing about it, putting the onus on employers to be proactive in monitoring and tackling technology problems.

However, they are much more likely to complain about co-workers. One in five admitted to secretly emailing their bosses to point out colleagues’ failings; 21% like to leave a note in a communal area; and 20% email the person concerned to complain about their behaviour.

Stuart Sykes, Managing Director of Sharp UK, said: “Most of us will recognise these behaviours as a part of office life. However, there’s a serious issue behind these findings. If your business isn’t set-up to promote teamwork and the sharing of information, you will be losing opportunities to grow. How much of the information workers are forgetting to share could have led to new business, saved costs or inspired a new idea? After all, collaboration is essential for a happier, creative and more productive workforce.”

Find out more about how to unlock a collaborative workplace, by downloading Sharp’s new whitepaper and expert tips from Dr Nigel Oseland at

Key findings

45% think technology in their office makes it difficult to share information
46% complain that colleagues forget to send them information
44% say colleagues move documents or create new folder structures making it hard to fnd documents
17% of delayed remote meetings are due to people not having the information they need
46% complain that their colleagues talk over others in meetings
38% say their colleagues type or continue working during conference calls

* Research was conducted with 6,045 office workers in nine EU countries (France, Germany, UK, Italy, Sweden, Poland, Netherlands, Czech Republic and Hungary), including 1,006 office workers in the UK

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