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Four barriers that hinder team productivity – and how to overcome them

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Four barriers that hinder team productivity – and how to overcome them

Achieving alignment and synchronization across the organization so that all teams are working towards the same goals and pulling together is no trivial task. Yes, today it is more difficult than ever. The number of applications, the volume of information, and the complexity we encounter every day are constantly increasing, creating barriers to team productivity.

Distributed Collaboration

In the post-pandemic world, work is different than before Corona. Some companies have returned to the traditional models with mandatory presence in the office; in many others, however, hybrid models have prevailed, in which teams continue to work remotely and distributed. But whichever path a specific organization follows, the work has changed. It’s no longer happening in one place, creating unique challenges for leaders and teams alike in managing priorities across locations, time zones, and cultural idiosyncrasies.

Many distributed teams face these issues:

  • Lack of Visibility: Important context is not easy to find and teams do not readily know who is working on what and where the right information is.
  • Obstacles in communication and coordination: Coordinating with colleagues who are in three different time zones, getting a reply from a team member who is not online at the moment, making sense of comments that lack context – these and other hurdles can hamper collaboration.
  • Processes to improve: In many cases there are duplicate processes; there is a lack of standardization with regard to collective knowledge or joint documentation; Goals and decisions are based on misjudgments.

To overcome these hurdles, teams are well advised to strengthen asynchronous communication and leverage tools that allow them to provide contextual feedback and collaborate centrally.

tool proliferation

There are countless technologies and applications on the market that have what it takes to boost team productivity. Employees and teams adapt these tools and combine them into toolsets that help them do their jobs faster and better. But more uses doesn’t necessarily mean the best results will come out of it.

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In fact, there is a (floating) threshold above which the number of apps slows down the work of employees and teams more than it promotes it. Whenever a user switches from one application to the next in completing their tasks, they experience a context switch. And such context changes are one of the main causes of productivity losses in the modern working world.

In a Study of Quatalog 45 percent of employees surveyed said context switching was affecting their productivity. They are aware that they spend too much of their working day jumping back and forth between online applications.

Unchecked proliferation of apps can lead to uncontrolled increases in costs, tool redundancies, more complexity and a higher administrative burden. In order to keep costs under control and balance productivity, organizations should approach tool decisions with intention and care and optimize the software landscape with the needs of the teams in mind.


Larger companies are typically divided into functional units. Each team has a specific purpose or function – and often the different teams use their own processes and tools to best accomplish their tasks.

This is often a practical and productive approach for the individual team, but it can have devastating consequences if ripple effects form: teams then act in silos and have little or only rudimentary insight into the work of the other teams. Access to knowledge and data is correspondingly complicated, and this results in misjudgments, inefficiencies and duplication of work throughout the company.

Fighting the chaos of organizing and executing work across different departments, teams, and tools has resulted in many organizations struggling to standardize on a particular toolset. The approach of providing a single toolset as an all-in-one solution may be tempting from a management perspective, but that in turn creates new problems.

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For example, teams are forced to work with unsuitable (because inflexible) workflows or to do without features that they actually need and want. That stifles creativity – and ultimately the teams find their own ways of bypassing the standardized toolset. This then leads to new problems and new inefficiencies.

Teams need a modern approach. Work and progress must be made transparent in real time. Digital collaboration needs central, but at the same time flexible tools with customizable workflows. Information should be visible and available at all times across departmental boundaries. It must be possible to share knowledge and important information quickly and easily. More shared knowledge and less friction between teams means fewer silos. And that increases overall productivity.

employee engagement

Engaged, engaged, empowered employees who identify with the company are worth gold to the organization. But in every company there are employees who are just the opposite. They are dissatisfied, have no ties to the organization and feel little loyalty. And this is often due to the fact that their needs are not or not sufficiently taken into account at work. The solution sounds simple: organizations just need to find more first-tier people to boost productivity, right?

Things aren’t that simple. A high or low level of employee engagement is not a characteristic or trait of an individual. Rather, commitment is based on experiences in working together and dealing with companies, managers and team members. Therefore, corporate culture plays an important role in building and strengthening employee loyalty.

Investing in an open, collaborative, respectful organization over the years is a check against the future. And that investment must also include software tools that meet the demands of modern teamwork. But it’s worth the effort: engagement goes directly with productivity, and companies with higher employee engagement achieve 23 percent higher profitsas Gallup found out.

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A package designed to maximize productivity

To remove barriers and create better conditions for productive work, companies need solutions that allow employees to work the way they want and in the way that makes most sense for their tasks and projects. At the same time, these tools should strengthen overall alignment, visibility and flexibility.

That’s why Atlassian has put together a suite called Atlassian Together, which aims to give organizations the best productivity solutions in one bundle:

  • Trello is used in distributed teams to manage and organize tasks, meetings, brainstorming, etc.
  • Jira Work Management is aimed at larger teams with structured workflows that need to systematically manage their projects, tasks and processes.
  • Atlas is the new teamwork portal for promoting alignment by visualizing and communicating teams, work and goals across the organization.
  • Confluence is the wiki and social collaboration system for cross-team collaboration on content and for central mapping of company knowledge.
  • Access forms the security gateway to Atlassian’s cloud solutions and is used as a user and access management tool.

With Atlassian Together, organizations have a complete toolset that provides teams with mature and proven collaboration solutions while supporting alignment. Do you have questions about the products bundled in Atlassian Together? Do you want more about the Atlassian Cloud and know their potential for the teams in your company? Or does your organization need support in switching from the old server solutions to the cloud? Our Atlassian experts are happy to talk to you: get it contact with us!

Further information

How modern cloud software turns hybrid working models into an opportunity
Atlassian Cloud and the productivity of your employees
Atlassian Cloud with a new data storage option: data residency explicitly in Germany

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