I KILLED A LOT of meaningless staff email a few years ago by educating my filters to squelch bulk mail. I took that step because too much drivel in the form of "all-staff" communications interfered with more important one-to-one messaging from students.
"Too much teamwork exhausts employees and saps productivity," warn Rob Cross, Reb Rebele and Adam Grant in the cover story of the current Harvard Business Review. 
According to data shown in the HBR report, the time spent by managers and employees in collaborative activities during the past two decades has ballooned by 50% or more. A lot of these collaborative activities masquerade as meetings, conference calls and long email threads. "At many companies the proportion hovers around 80%, leaving employees little time for all the critical work they must compete on their own," says the HBR report.
I know from experience that the distribution of collaborative work is often extremely lopsided. "In most cases, 20% to 35% of value-added collaborations come from only 3% to 5% of employees," says the HBR report.
What I've seen on the heels of a recent consolidation initiative is the volume and diversity of work done by key players goes unnoticed because the requests for collaboration come from varied offices and external agencies. The added workloads can lead to burnout.
To help minimise the threat of burnout in my case, I found it helpful to categorise potential time sinks by labeling collaborative resources in one of three ways: informational, social and personal.
It is relatively simple to pass along the name and contact details of a collaborator. All I normally do is ensure there is no compromise of personal details. Those names and details comprise informational collaboration.
It is often frictionless to introduce people inside existing social networks. Social resources involve one's awareness, access and position in a network. Because most social networks have established simple sharing mechanisms, the biggest hurdle is often getting people into the same networking space. However, when people ring-fence their work outside of company collaborative zones, it often reveals their recalcitrance and forces dependency on limited personal resources.
Those personal collaborative resources include one's own time and energy. When I have to set aside time to answer a personal question, it means prioritising the request. Some of those requests arise because the requestor simply does not use the social networks or electronic collaborative functions already wired into the organisation.
During the next three months, I will join a few people working at the Limerick Institute of Technology as they begin to use well-established tools of collaboration. I can already see how several years of my work, including volumes of practical exercises, could benefit lecturers who do not realise we are actually in the same thought space. The interesting thing for me is to see if they take the cue and explore the collaborative spaces opening up inside shared zones powered by Office365. Mountains of research I have accomplished while in the employment of the State will lay open for other lecturers to pick and choose what works best for them. Naysayers may find fault with my method, suggesting I am collaborating myself out of a full-time teaching position. But I don't see the world through the lens of suspicion, mainly because I started my professional career sharing stories, learning from experienced masters and returning the favour by sharing and sharing alike.
[Bernie Goldbach is a senior drone pilot and creative multimedia lecturer at the Limerick Institute of Technology.]
1. Rob Cross, Reb Rebele, and Adam Grant -- "Collaborative Overload" in HBR, January 2016.