A season to work together? Not in UK businesses as bad behaviour and poor tech cause collaboration clashes this Christmas

Collaboration has been the business buzzword for years, but according to research from Sharp, it’s an ambition rather than a reality for UK offices as a survey of 1,000 UK office workers exposed a lack of teamwork and selfish habits blighting business.

With more people working from home or mobile working, collaborative relationships are becoming more difficult thanks to these selfish habits, with almost half of workers (46%) stating that their colleagues forget to share important information or documents with them, meaning wasted time, missed opportunities and potentially lost revenue. The same number (46%) also state that their colleagues talk over others in meetings, making for a disruptive working environment.  

But it’s selfish behaviours surrounding the printer that is most common in UK offices, with 59% of individuals calling out not refilling the printer with paper when it runs out, and leaving printed pages in the paper tray, as the worst office habits. 

Workplace strategist and change manager, Dr Nigel Oseland commented: “Collaboration is crucial to running a successful business. It’s key to how efficiently and effectively teams can work, in essence their productivity. But with more people working remotely, it becomes both increasingly important and more difficult to foster a collaborative culture in the work environment.  

Dr Oseland continued: “There are usually three key factors which contribute to how well collaboration can happen within a business – people, space and technology. For people to better collaborate together it comes down to how well they understand and appreciate each other’s personalities and different ways of working, as a more diverse mix of people typically will be a more successful team. They also need to understand each other’s motivators, gain trust and share mutual respect. However, even the best team in the world can’t work together productively if they don’t have the right tools in place. It’s important that organisations bear this in mind and make sure they provide their staff with the appropriate technology and complementary spaces which will encourage them to be collaborative across a range of working environments.” 

Worryingly, businesses could be bringing this collaboration deficit on themselves as 45% of workers think that the technology in their office actually makes it more difficult to share information. Considering half of workers (50%) also ignore problems with the communal office technology, businesses will need to act fast to ensure that teams can still use technology to work together.  

Despite noticing these selfish traits in their colleagues, over a quarter of UK workers (26%) prefer to do nothing about the problem, 21% like to leave a note in a communal area and 20% email their colleagues to complain. But watch out if you work in I.T. – one in five said they secretly email colleagues’ bosses to point out their failings. 

Stuart Sykes, managing director, Sharp UK said: “Most of us will recognise these behaviours as a part of office life, which appear easier to live with rather than try to change. However, there’s a serious issue behind these findings too. If your business isn’t set-up to promote teamwork and the sharing of information, you will be losing opportunities to grow. How much of the information that workers are forgetting to share could have led to new business, saved costs or inspired a new idea? After all collaboration is essential for a happier, creative and more productive workforce, and businesses can encourage this through the technology that they introduce. We know that the right technology has the potential to transform ways of working, such as printers which will scan information straight to the cloud, making sure everyone has access to information they need.” 

To learn more about the research, and how you can unlock a collaborative workplace with expert tips from Dr Nigel Oseland visit