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Unproductivity Loves Company: Collaboration for Work and Play

Collaboration, teamwork, shared ideas—these are all hallmarks of a productive day at the office, right? Unless, of course, you’re collaborating on a new meme or sharing ideas about the upcoming office holiday party. This unproductivity might have managers grumbling and “Bah Humbug!”-ing, but trust me: there are benefits to both kinds of collaboration.

The holiday season is a time of togetherness. And whether you’re putting your heads together to polish off a big project or to polish off yet another plate of baked goods in the break room, that togetherness has benefits for both productivity and morale.

Together for Work

Collaboration is how work gets done, and the holiday season is a time of heavy collaboration as year-end projects and goals are finalized, new year strategies are planned out and 2015 calendars are cemented. The options for staying productive and on-task as a team vary widely and can be easily tailored to your team’s unique structure, workstyles and preferences. Regardless of whether you’re collaborating in person, using a synchronous tool to bring your remote team together in real-time or leveraging an asynchronous tool like email or an online team workspace, we all have reason to work together as the year draws to a close.

Learn more about synchronous vs. asynchronous collaboration in our latest eBook.

Even individual contributors can benefit from bouncing ideas off a coworker, or whiteboarding their way through a particularly challenging problem. Often, a coworker, even in an unrelated department, can bring a level of clarity to a problem when you’ve been staring at it for too long, longingly dreaming of holiday time off.

Together for Play

However, everyone knows what happens when it’s all work and no play. As it turns out, we all need a laughter break during the day, or just an opportunity to give our minds a break and chat about the weekend or upcoming holiday plans. Without these “restorative breaks“, all of that extra effort at work can be wasted as burn-out sets in.

As our friends at Central Desktop revealed, there’s even some science behind the productivity benefits of the silly YouTube video you sent to your team earlier today. While these moments shouldn’t dominate your day, don’t ever shy away from these light-hearted opportunities, especially amidst the stressful holiday season; you never know whose day desperately needed the break you provided.

Why Not Both?

Ultimately, both on- and off-task collaboration are how we get our work done and how we get through the day year-round, and especially during the holidays. We’ve shown before that overwork and cramming as much so-called productivity into a week as you can stomach isn’t actually doing anyone any favors. That’s why it’s so importantto perfect being strategically unproductive, using that funny cat picture, online shopping break or coworker chat to your productivity advantage.

If spending 5-10 minutes at the start of your next meeting proudly discussing your tacky sweater gives everyone on your team the energy they need to attack the rest of the meeting, were those minutes really wasted?

About Joshua Erwin

Josh is a content creator and strategist with a passion for all things tech, such as the latest gadgets, apps, games and more. Josh loves listening to and playing music and is a big college football fan, especially for his alma mater Georgia Bulldogs. When not writing for PGi, you’ll find him gaming or drumming on Sundays for the Atlanta Falcons.

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