Collaboration leads to a positive work culture and heightened innovation. But what if your staff doesn’t work together as much as it should? Use the following tips to encourage collaboration.
Remodel the Office
The space you work in can play a big role in whether your employees put their heads together and feed off of each other’s creative energy. If they are blocked off in their own little cubicles, your team members might tend to isolate themselves.
The next time you remodel or redecorate, embrace the open office concept. A large room where everyone’s desks face each other makes employees more aware of each other and can encourage them to foster friendships. If you do this, however, be sure that there is still a room or two where a team can have privacy while the members work on a project.
If remodeling isn’t an option, repurpose a room or two in your office to create a collaboration space where employees can work with each other in a comfortable environment. Make sure you make it a warm and fun environment, perhaps by adding some bright peel and stick wallpaper to make the room seem more inviting.
Adopt Collaboration Tools
Technology can play a huge role in making collaboration easier, especially if you have some team members who work at home, or who go on frequent business trips. Some top tools you might adopt include:
- Office 365. This suite of programs from Microsoft stores data in the cloud, making it easier for numerous people to work on the same presentations, documents, and spreadsheets.
- Gmail. This free service integrates with other Google apps, including Google Docs and Google Calendar. Its robust features can be beneficial for any project.
- Skype. This video conferencing service lets up to 10 people connect with each other at once. It also integrates with Office 365, making collaboration easier than ever.
You may already use some of these collaboration tools around your office, but you can further explore their features and take advantage of the aspects that make them so great for encouraging teamwork.
Lead by Example
Image via Flickr by ChrisL_AK
Increasing collaboration often starts with team leaders. To set the example, always be sure to take advantage of collaborative technology. For instance, instead of sending out a mass email on a subject, spread the message via your company’s internal social media account.
Make yourself available to communicate. Instead of shutting yourself in your office, keep the door open and take the time to talk to your employees. Don’t just talk, though; be sure you listen carefully to any ideas that are offered. You can even organize opportunities for everyone to socialize with each other. A monthly potluck or an after-hours get-together at a favorite local bar can do wonders for relationships within your team.
It might take some time to find your business’s best pathway to collaboration. Some tools might not serve you as well as others, or perhaps redecorating the office isn’t an option. If you try one thing and it doesn’t work, move to another technique that will heighten the level of teamwork within your organization.
A team that works together is a team that has unlimited potential. Use the above suggestions to encourage collaboration.