Having looked earlier at the overall benefits to business that can be achieved through collaborative working, let us now consider one particular area where collaboration can deliver real improvements in performance and productivity, namely knowledge sharing.
Using a variety of online platforms and technologies, tailored so as to be appropriate to the business and the individual workers involved, the sharing of knowledge, data and work tasks is a very effective way of working. Among the benefits to the business itself are improved and often faster decision-making based on more comprehensive information and data sets. This can help to achieve a quicker response to changes in the marketplace or improve a product development’s “time-to-market”. Access to shared and/or subscription services that offer skills/people registers can help the business to find and engage the most skilled and knowledgeable people for a specific task. In time these benefits can help to improve a business’ sustainability and growth.
For the individual “e-worker” the benefits include a greater sense of belonging and being “part of the team”. Levels of individual engagement with the business are seen to increase coupled with a commitment to deliver high quality work to prescribed deadlines. Gig economy workers have reported that they feel having a real sense of purpose and that they are part of a greater whole. Being able to share knowledge with others can deliver a certain sense of satisfaction as well as being able to learn from others. This can help to achieve self-development and personal growth as well as feeling more supported in the work that they do.
From personal experience knowledge sharing has been found to enable more innovation and a more effective approach to problem-solving. In many cases it has helped a business to achieve the first steps towards digital transformation, moving away from older legacy departmental silos towards a more integrated, organisation-wide, information and knowledge base.
The Wisework Network of Partners and associates have put into effect a knowledge sharing platform using a secure shared online service. This integrates a variety of third-party services and technologies. A shared central knowledge library has been established. This is complimented by regular online and face-to-face contact between the Company and the network members. Members are able to benefit from the coaching given by other members. In some cases, mentoring and guidance have also been available. Even when members are not physically together in one place, there is a feeling that there is now always a friend on the end of a line and that answers to a problem can be found from within the network or from the library.