Collaborative workforces have been proven to be more productive than those which focus solely on individual work. If your business has yet to take the leap, how do you know when it’s the right time, or if your employees would perform better when working in teams?
Do your employees wander the office, disengaged from their work and the environment?
Do you overhear the sounds of ringing phones more than you do actual conversation?
If so, and if you want to make a difference not only in the productivity of your floor and the overall morale of your workforce, it might be time to make a switch. Here are five easy tips to follow to get your started:
1. Open Floorplans
While the debate continues to rage on about whether or not open, cubicle-less floorplans are making or breaking the business community, one thing is true: it depends on your employees.
If they crave interaction and an open area for brainstorming, communication, and the overall energy that an open floor plan offers, then by all means, ignore the naysayers and implement it.
For the most part, humans are sociable creatures, and enjoy being near another human when possible. And while this setup might not work for everyone, including those people whose jobs require intense concentration like computers programmers or web coders, should your business have any needs in terms of creativity, invention, engineering, a place where multiple ideas bring more success, then an open floor plan might just be exactly what you’ve been looking for.
2. Encouraging a Workplace Community
Aside from the open floorplans, there are multiple ways to encourage your employees to befriend and get to know each other better, which in the long run will contribute to more comfortable brainstorming sessions and the ability for everyone to work together harmoniously.
Not to mention, a increase in overall empathy between employees will make them more likely to willingly assist and work together with one another in group projects and if a problem should arise.
By supporting a communal environment, you allow for your employees to not only feel more welcome where they work, but also allow them a place to more comfortably share their experiences and ideas that may be exactly what your collaborative team needs to accomplish a goal.
If employees do not know each other well, if they have no opportunities to communicate or interact on a daily basis, odds are you will only be receiving feedback from the same people every day who are normally talkative as it is. But by breaking down the walls, the barriers that might hold back someone who is a little more reserved in speaking up, it opens the doors for more opportunity in new, fresh ideas.
Consider implementing out-of-work activities such as community service nights, family nights, or even rolling out a company-wide communication program that allows for free flowing conversation between coworkers.
3. Cultivating Team Building
There’s a reason group work is implemented so often in the world of education, whether it be grade school or university, and all of those reason can be applied even to the workplace:
- Share diverse perspectives.
- Pool knowledge and skills.
- Develop new approaches to resolving differences.
- Establish a shared identity with other group members.
- Develop their own voice and perspectives in relation to peers.
Even if your workers aren’t necessarily over the moon about an open-floor plan based on their area of work/expertise, encouraging constant opportunities for team building is just as important. Whether that be through team-based activities, competitions, goal-setting, etc. Anything to get them working together toward a common objective.
4. Offering More Opportunities For Group Work
While setting your employees loose on a specific goal or objective is certainly the best method for cultivating a friendly rapport between coworkers, don’t think that you must set them out on an company-based endeavor alone.
Group goals shouldn’t focus on simply achieving success in terms of their jobs, as that might alienate them from having relationships outside of work, particularly if they only ever associate one another with their 9-5 day job.
Instigate different ideas and activities that can be accomplished outside of the office, whether it be during or after office hours. Things like weight loss/health competitions, food drives, and other service and well-being oriented goals. After all, nothing increases workplace camaraderie than a little competition.
5. Keep an Open-Door Management Policy
An open door management policy can be taken literally as a manager’s office door is literally left open to allow for a more approachable atmosphere, but the same applies metaphorically, too.
If your employees are comfortable enough to approach you with ideas, complaints, and other things on their minds, they will also likely show the same initiative when with their peers in a brainstorming or idea-building type of setting.
On top of their increased productivity, an employee who is happy and comfortable in their environment as well as with their managers and peers, are less likely to become depressed or suffer from anxiety, which can qualify for worker’s comp. Happy workers are healthy workers, and healthy workers are productive ones.
While it’s still important that your employees understand you remain their manager and deserve a certain amount of respect because of it, when creating a friendly atmosphere through positive managerial habits, you will surely soon encompass the entire workplace floor with the same attitude.