Beware of Excessive Workplace Collaboration

Some of the most worrisome dangers are those sneaky things that seem like they’re good for you, but actually do more harm than good. Like when I found out my granola had more sugar than a Snickers bar.

There’s a workplace threat among us, even with so many people working from home: collaboration. Excessive collaboration, that is. It was already surging before the pandemic and has crescendoed into a tremendous surplus of Zoom meetings and cc’ing.

Bloomberg Business Week spoke with Rob Cross, author of Beyond Collaboration Overload about the phenomenon. He says it’s not that collaboration itself is bad, but the sheer amount of it. He says the pandemic has added hours to the time spent working together and that collaborative activities via email, Slack and organizations’ own apps, force employees to be on earlier in the morning and later into the night than ever before.

“Both the volume and the demands are just too much,” he says. “The likelihood of an individual disengaging or leaving the organization goes up greatly as the volume of collaboration accelerates past certain thresholds.”

Emerging research from the Connected Commons shows that collaboration consumes 85% or more of most peoples’ work week. And when collaboration becomes dysfunctional, it invisibly undermines performance and has become a primary source of burnout and poor decision-making as well.

According to Inc., there are efficient ways to collaborate to avoid such pitfalls and burnout. They give a few tips but the takeaway is that in our hyper-connected world, it’s more important than ever to be more intentional in how you cultivate and engage your networks.

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