Office collaboration is fast becoming a measurable metric that many offices assess their success by, as true collaboration can create a productive and supportive work environment for all. Now it’s not as easy as putting a group of professionals all in the same room and expecting miracles, you do have to boost this mentality. If you haven’t tried or had success with previous measures, here are 6 easy ways you can boost collaboration in your office.
1.An Office Coffee Machine
There are only benefits to bringing an office coffee machine into your workplace. Not only will your team see it as a significant perk to working for you, but you will create an environment where they can congregate and connect. It’s like the proverbial water cooler socialising, but they can linger here even longer and even make one another a coffee as they enjoy this casual format of socialising. Teams and departments tend to stick in their cliques, so an office coffee machine might be a great way to bridge inter-department collaboration.
2.The Office Layout
You might be over-thinking your lack of office collaboration and might find the solution is as simple as a shuffle of your office layout. Get creative in where you position each individual, and try to resist seating colleagues who work together right next to one another. Sure, this might make sense from a workflow point of view, but it’s not like putting a few desks between team members is going to stop them working together. If you would rather not agonise over desk formations, choose a hot-desking approach and have your employees put their belongings in a cabinet with wheels so they can wheel their things to a new desk every day. Imagine how quickly you will see a change in who and how your team work together and collaborate.
3.Encourage Social Events
It’s one thing to be friendly around the office, but sometimes real bonds are forged outside the office through social interactions. Having a fortnightly, monthly or even quarterly social event can be a great way to let your team learn more about one another and not be constrained by a lunch hour or a need to be professional and get back to work. This is a great initiative to foster as a leader, because you are going to have a more engaged team if they work together as friends, and it might even solve any retention issues you have.
4.Provide Collaborative Technology
Collaboration no longer happens just face to face, as you can also be connected and working together from entirely different locations and timezones. Invest in quality collaboration technology so that you can foster a great working environment across the board, with instant chat and joint task management breaking down any barriers you might have with your manual processes. Slack is one of the more popular choices, but there are many out there and some are even designed for specific industries.
5.Ask For Feedback
When was the last time you did an engagement survey, or have you never done one with your employees before? These tools can be a great way to gauge what is and is not working with your team, and it often sheds light on what processes can be optimised. Your collaboration issue might be completely different from what you thought it was, so don’t be afraid to get your employees on board with communicating any grievances and opportunities they believe exist.
6.Group Training And Upskilling
The root cause of your lack of collaboration in the office may stem from the fact that each individual has a different skill set and background, and thus struggle to get results when working together. Undergoing group training will allow your team to approach a new concept as a whole and work through it together and become competent as a team. Your chosen training and upskilling do not need to tackle complex subjects, and you might even choose to start with an Excel refresher to gauge the success and attendance first. Putting your team on an equal footing will only strengthen their foundation, so start looking for the right short course to put your team through.
Try these 5 easy ways to boost collaboration and be sure to assess which of these ideas are going to work going forward and which ones do not need to be tried again. Good luck!