Working in teams has been a part of our culture since the beginning of civilisation. However, the dynamics have changed dramatically over time.
Technology can be blamed for periodically disrupting the way we collaborate at work. Telegrams, telephones, pagers, e-mails and mobiles—every new invention has had the potential to empower collaboration. However, in the last five years, technology has grown rapidly and so has its impact on business growth.
The increasing influence of technology in business is providing a cutting edge to teamwork through multiple social tools available in the ecosystem.
Also, a new breed of employees— Generation Z (Gen Z)— is entering the workforce. They are culturally very different from their predecessors, because they have grown up with technology and they use text and chat more than any other generation existing today.
Moreover, a new culture is developing at the workplace, which is more collaborative — frequent meetings, more calls, endless mails, events and so on. Notably, all heads of organisations have a vision to make their business grow. They develop leaders and create leadership pipelines so that teams can be fostered to exchange ideas and share responsibilities. In short, leaders spend their energy to nurture high-performing teams for success.
In early 2019, Microsoft set out to understand the forces shaping teamwork today. The purpose was to learn how factors, such as gender and generation, shape collaboration preferences and habits. Moreover, the Company wished to study the impact remote working had on team culture. They surveyed over 14,000 people from seven countries in various stages of their career—from those who had been in the workforce a while, to those who were preparing to enter it.
A mine of information was derived from the research that provides direction to the future of teamwork in a new corporate culture.
While the Baby Boomers prefer in-person meetings to e-mails, Gen X’s most preferred mode of communication is e-mail, followed by in-person meetings —same as the Millennials However, Gen Z’s first choice is chat, second preference is in-person meetings and third comes e-mail.
Regardless of generations, the research states that 61 per cent of respondents prefer short and sweet over long and detailed modes of communication.
According to the McKinsey Global Institute, 72 per cent of companies are adopting social tools to achieve greater innovation and efficiency through highly-collaborative teams.
Plenty of social tools are available to improve collaboration amongst employees and develop future teams. However, the Microsoft research exemplifies that each generation perceives technology differently.
62 per cent respondents feel that the technology used at their workplace is outdated. 79 per cent said that using new technology made them feel more satisfied at work.
Which generation is more open to using new communication tools and which one is more stressed?
Surprisingly, 38 per cent of Baby Boomers are apprehensive of new technology and tools whereas 50 per cent of Gen Z find new collaboration instruments stressful. Here, there is not much difference between Gen X and the Millennials— the numbers are 40 and 43 per cent respectively.
Apparently, everyone desires new technology but the youngest generation is most apprehensive. They seem to have a complicated perception of technology at work.
Do men and women perceive collaboration at work differently?
Interestingly, men and women have the same preferences. The only point of difference was 10 per cent more men prefer a competitive work environment, than women. In other aspects of teamwork, such as comfortably voicing opinions, creativity, diversity, new technologies, strong leadership, working alone and working in groups, they shared the same preferences.
Last but not the least, the research showed that remote workers value collaborative technology twice more than non-remote workers. While 41 per cent of remote workers favour video conferencing, only 23 per cent of non-remote workers appreciate the same.