Encouraging teamwork in your office has plenty of benefits and it is a skill that many successful companies, such as Apple, emphasise. Collaborative initiatives tend to be more efficient and it can bring a business closer to their goals. Not only will it serve your organisation, it is also an opportunity for you to empower your employees. Teamwork highlights individuals’ strengths and it is a chance for the rest of the group to learn from a skilled employee. It also teaches team members to rely on each other’s work therein making a workforce more productive with a higher-quality output. An added bonus is that it strengthens relationships between colleagues and it will improve communication skills in general.
Even though there are many benefits to teamwork, you may be struggling to make it an established part of your culture. We have outlined 4 steps you can take to encourage collaboration.
#1 Setup Dedicated Team Spaces
In your office, do you have an area or room dedicated to teamwork? The first step to encouraging collaboration at work may seem obvious but it can often be overlooked. By creating a dedicated teamwork area, you are showing your colleagues that it is important to your organisation. Creating the correct environment is vital as well. To ensure your colleagues won’t be disrupted in an open plan office, acoustic pods, privacy booths or freestanding screens are a great solution. While teamwork is essential for companies that want to thrive, it needs to be balanced with individual work. In particular for open plan offices, we all need an area where we can focus and be productive. Desk screens are a helpful way to create these private zones. Many screens have acoustic properties as well so they can both visually and acoustically balance a space.
#2 Schedule Brainstorming Sessions
Establish teamwork sessions as part of your company schedule. There is plenty to do in a working day and it can be easy to forget about collaborating with your colleagues. To combat this, make it part of everyone’s routine. Once your employees see the impact it has, whether it improves customer service or a product, everyone will be more likely to get involved. Avoid lecture style sessions and encourage equal engagement. Brainstorming methods such as Round Robins are a helpful way to ideate and improve existing concepts as well as engaging both introverts and extroverts. It is also vital that an inclusive and positive environment is set up. As Steve Jobs, former CEO of Apple, said “The best ideas have to win, otherwise people won’t stay!” Increasingly, the workforce values companies that care about their wellbeing and want to work for ones that express gratitude and give them a sense of purpose. It will reflect well on your company values and ensure your team feels important. To foster a collaborative environment, don’t leave the teamwork for one session, set up a board or wall and cover it in colourful post-it notes, at any time someone can return to add an idea or comment.
#3 Ensure Clear Communication
Clear communication is always essential but it is necessary to give teams a clear purpose or direction. Establish the goals and vision of your organisation, and give the group a focus. Are you improving a service within your company or are you workshopping a potential product? Is this a long or short term goal? During the sessions, encourage employees to look at themselves as a team; what are their individual strengths and weaknesses, how can they contribute to the team? This is an opportunity for people to excel at what they are good at and learn from others. Celebrating successes with rewards and feedback is also vital to the success of teamwork. Part of an organisation’s feedback should include the outcome of their hard work, this will help motivate them to continue.
#4 Engage Remote Workers
We’ve discussed the rise of remote working and how to improve collaboration with a remote team, but as more people return to the office, there will be a balance between the two. To ensure all your colleagues are included, make sure your teamwork area has video-conferencing capabilities. Many acoustic pods can have media appliances installed and come with power banks so no one has to leave to charge a device. Investing in an online collaboration system such as Mural will also help you ideate online. One aspect that the workforce has missed from the office is the social interaction with colleagues, remote workers will appreciate these sessions for this fact alone. Even if your colleagues are fully or partially remote, it is of increasing value that employees feel a part of the business – ensure that any rewards or feedback which come from these sessions is extended to all participants.
Teamwork is an essential component of modern organisations and productive workforces. Not only will it help you achieve your business goals, it will also help your employees grow in confidence and skills.
If you need help designing an office space that fosters a collaborative environment, our experienced team is here to help. Get in touch with us by using our live webchat on our website or call us to discuss your options.