The Australian collaboration economy is worth AU$46 billion but AU$5.4 billion is wasted on overlong meetings, distractions and failed projects, according to a new Deloitte report.
The Collaborative Economy report found that AU$46 billion is the value of time employees and managers spend collaborating each year. It is based on a survey of 1,000 Australian employees and managers conducted in June 2014 by Stancombe Research and Planning. The figure of AU$46 billion is a calculation based on the amount of time spent collaborating multiplied by wage levels.
According to Deloitte, AU$22.6 billion is spent on productivity/time saving and AU$29.2 billion on quality improvement — a total of AU$51.8 billion. However, AU$5.4 billion is lost due to time wasting and distractions, leaving a total of AU$46 billion.
Deloitte digital leader Frank Farrall told CIO Australia that the loss was "the cost of doing business".
"An innovative process is not a linear line and it goes up and down. You have good days and bad days, as you're working through it. There is always going to be some projects where you say, 'Hey, that didn't generate what we hoped it would.'"
He advised executives to look at past projects that have worked.
Deloitte access economics director John O'Mahony gave two examples of how collaboration could be more effective.
"One of the biggest drivers of that wastage figure is people being distracted by other people collaborating or having pointless collaborations themselves. If you go into the new Commonwealth Bank of Australia [CBA] building down in Darling Harbour in Sydney, people don't have assigned desks, instead they have different workplace environments. Starting at the centre of the atrium, they have large workspaces where people can work together in teams," he said.
However, if people move closer to CBA's atrium, they will see smaller workspaces where people can work by themselves.
"On any given day, [CBA] people can move around and sit in the collaborative space or against the window if they want to. That is the sort of flexible solution that helps people, rather than everyone getting in the sandpit together."
Turning to the second collaboration example, O'Mahony talked about investment firm SEI Global's approach.
"All of its work desks have wheels on them. So, when people want to collaborate they just move the desks together and talk. When they don't want to talk to anyone anymore, they can wheel their desk away," he said.
The report also found that 35 per cent of respondents said collaboration helps them work faster, while 18 per cent said their work would be impossible without collaboration.
In addition, 30 per cent of respondents said they wanted to collaborate more. However, only 24 per cent said they had a collaboration strategy that was important for their business.
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