We all know that working together on a project or problem is a great way get another perspective, share ideas and opinions. Often when we collaborate we can make a decision in a more efficient and effective way and solve problems much faster.
But there are times when collaboration can become unproductive and wasteful—case in point, the dreaded last minute meeting with no agenda, objectives or actions. We’ve all been there.
So how can you create an internal culture, that fosters the right sort of collaboration and encourages people to embrace working together in a positive, productive way?
Related content: Smart, simple ways to improve workplace productivity
1. Make yourself available
Whether you’re an SMB owner or CEO of a large corporate office, visibility is your friend. Even if you’re separated by different floors, senior staff can (and should be) front and centre, seen regularly and approachable.
Leading by example by being actively involved in discussions right across the business, will also help build a positive, inclusive culture people want to be a part of.
2. Embrace collaboration technology
As flexible working becomes more common, you want to be sure that you’re using technology to help (not hinder) this evolution. Collaboration in these environments can still exist, but you need to understand what will work best for your employees. And while email is the go-to, there are far more efficient ways of communicating than watching an email trail go back and forth.
You don’t have to be a large corporate to embrace internal collaboration tools like Trello, Slack, Skype for Business or Webex. While we all love a good face-to-face conversation, businesses are realising that a multi layered approach including text, mobile, and web-video conferencing, allows staff to have multiple ways of collaborating effectively and instantly.
You can even go a step further with modern video-conferencing systems that include file sharing, whiteboarding and more, making the future of collaborating in an agile, modern workspace even more exciting!
3. Promote collaboration with simple office layout
How your office is physically set up can have a huge impact on how people interact with one another, work together and how they focus, with research finding that workspaces designed to encourage collaboration can boost productivity by 15 per cent.
And we’re not suggesting you apply for the latest series of Grand Designs. There are in fact really simple ways you can encourage collaboration in the office without the need to knock out walls!
For example, create an office layout that doesn’t favour hierarchies. Have all employees sitting together in one space regardless of their position.
And while you’re at it, ditch the ‘meeting room’ for informal breakout spaces with bean bags or stand-up desks.
Be creative with the space you have, no matter how big or small. If the conversation isn’t private, hold meetings in different spots that foster creativity, or even better, throw on some trainers and try a walking meeting. You’ll be surprised at what can be achieved with a little fresh air and change of scenery.
4. Create an inclusive culture of family and fun
We’re not asking you to fall backwards off a large pole, blindfolded with the confidence that your teammates will catch you! But a little modern day team-bonding can really improve workplace productivity, team communication, understanding and collaboration.
But rather than a predetermined day out, let your team guide the decision so that they can choose to spend that time on things they care about. It could be volunteering for a local charity, a meal out or quiz night. It doesn’t have to cost the earth, but what you will gain from these experiences are individuals opening up and becoming more assertive, giving them the confidence to speak up with their own solutions or ideas.
A few small changes to your office environment can do wonders for workplace productivity—and your bottom line. Find out more in our free guide: Smart, simply ways to improve workplace productivity.