Here are 10 real examples of friction in collaboration at work

If you’ve ever tried to work with other people in a team, you’ll find this an interesting and entertaining read. It’s only funny because it’s true as they say. We have compiled below 10 examples of friction in collaboration and how things can go from great to well not so great at work. As you read through them, you may recall other people who have had similar situations to these - if you do, send them to us at and may feature them (with thanks and credits) in future articles. Now here they go, 10 things that would have never happened if these people knew about and used Thanexa:

Ten examples of friction in collaboration at work


Seven weeks ago the client made a decision to change the scope of the project but nobody remembers exactly what was going to be left out, and they are all now looking through emails in outlook to try and find out.


While you were on leave last week, a bunch of things happened in your projects, and now that you're back, you have to try and catch up with everyone to see what they've done and if what you were meant to do is still relevant and needed.


Your boss said he wanted to talk to you about something to do with the big project you're working on, but then you didn't get to catch up since and you're worrying that there is some big change coming down the line but you don't know what it is.


A key client just called you asking for an update on the new graphics. You know the designer was working on them yesterday but you're not sure if they're done or not, or if they are pending for approval internally, so you're not sure what to tell the client.


You have conference call in 10 minutes with your stakeholders for the new projects you are kicking off next week. To line up the agenda for the meeting, you are looking for the draft agenda document your assistant had emailed you but you cannot find where the email was filed.


You are at home sick with the flu, and you remember that one of your key clients is waiting for the pitch deck you promised for today. You cannot get onto the VPN from home for some reason, so you called your friend at the office, and he's looking through the common drive to find the file you need so he can email in to your Gmail account and so you can open it up and review it, add a couple of things to it and send it to the client. Ah, the things you do for keeping your word!


You have finally landed the new marketing work for a large account that will propel your business forward in a big way. Just finished your meeting with them, they agreed in principal and want to get the revised proposal for sign-off. You need to tell four people back in the office what the key changes are, what they need to adjust and have them produce the proposal update this afternoon so you can send it as soon as you're back in the office from your return flight. You have 15 minutes in the Uber on the way to the airport now and you wish you could go into one place, type out some actions for people, and be done, but you cannot. Instead you are writing emails to four different people, wishing and hoping they are actually in today, and they'll see the email on time. So for good measure, you also texted two of them to tell them to check their inbox for the email you will be sending through.


Your client's billboard graphics are ready to go but as you flick through them, you noticed a typo! You would send an email to the person in your team to fix the typo, but you're not sure they'll see the email on time. You try to message them in your work chat system, but then again that's chaos, who knows if they'll see that on time. So you picked up the phone to ring them, but they are not at their desk, you left a voicemail and called another person. They told you the graphic designer is working from home today. You called their mobile, they didn't answer, so you texted them to ring you back so you can explain what they need to change. Twenty minutes later, they called you, they have been working on something else and didn't look at their phone until now. You explained they need to fix the typo, they get straight onto it, and 20 minutes later, you checked in again with them by phone, they said they did it 15 minutes ago and it's still uploading the latest version on the network drive, but the VPN is a bit slow today. As you keep hitting refresh to see when the file will update, you ask them to text you as soon as it's uploaded, and oh wait, the client is calling about an update.


Two of your teammates met with the prospective client yesterday, they said it went well too! Now the prospective client is calling in the office, and they were put through to you. They are asking if you can resend the 2 PDFs your teammates said they were going to send to her but she's not received them yet. She explains that she has a meeting with her boss in 30 minutes and would like to show those to her for approval. You have zero idea about any of that. Your teammates wrote all the notes in their own todo and notes apps on their laptops. You suspect you know what the PDF she's talking about, but you're not 100% sure either. You ring your teammates up to try and find out what's happening. One doesn't answer, the other does but he's on the bus on the way in, he tells you the PDF should be the standard one from the network drive but 15 minutes later you cannot find it. You finally found it and email it, then the client calls back to tell you she received your file but also another PDF is needed from your team member who didn't pick up but got your voicemail. She now has two different versions and she's not sure which is right. She won't bring it up with her boss then until this is clarified later in the week. What a mess.


You finished a meeting with a large client, and have collected 12 things they need you to adjust for them. You have a video call with two of your team members and run through the required changes so they can implement them. Your team team members are writing down what they need to do on their own notes/todo lists on their computers. A week later, you realised that two of the tasks have not been done, and when you chase the person assigned to them, they say "I'm sorry, didn't notice them in my notepad document to transfer them to my todo lists. I'll prioritise them for this week."

Working with a team of people can be hard, there are many demands on our time, and the time of others each and every day. What years ago used to be a luxury, a common system for communications and project management, is now an absolute necessity.If you know of anyone that faces challenges like the above, have them share their story and it could be featured (de-identified of course!) in future articles. Just email at with a subject line of “Collaboration Friction Story”. And if you're not currently using Thanexa, you can request a VIP invite here, so you can see for yourself what kind of positive transformation this system can have for you, your projects and your team.

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