Understanding how to promote collaboration in today’s workplace continues to be of the utmost importance when creating an effective and efficient team. As the modern office is constantly changing, business owners must adapt to managing staff during the COVID-19 spread and other unique variables. Learning the importance of promoting collaboration and unique ways to foster teamwork in your business can transform how your team members achieve their goals.
Importance of Promoting Teamwork and Collaboration in the Office
Collaboration and communication are essential to a successful team. Opening the lines of communication and discussing ways for team members to collaborate can boost productivity and help improve the company’s ability to function competently. Promoting collaboration during the COVID-19 pandemic and improved teamwork can provide various benefits related to:
- Problem-solving: Implementing ways to improve workplace collaboration can increase your team’s ability to problem-solve. A team that communicates well is much more prepared to process an issue, determine the best course of action and identify team members who are best equipped to correct the complication.
- Adaptability: Team building and collaboration go hand-in-hand, as a team that collaborates is a much closer-knit team than those without proper communication. A team that communicates and collaborates is more flexible and adaptable when a project changes direction.
- Communication: Communication is one of the most important aspects of any working relationship. One of the best ways to improve workplace teamwork is to encourage open and direct communication among all team members. An open line of communication allows everyone to feel like their opinion is important, helping team members build on one another’s ideas for the best project possible.
- Productivity: Improving individual and business-wide productivity can help make your brand more efficient. Research finds collaboration drives workplace performance and can encourage a higher success rate.
- Skill-sharing: Besides exchanging knowledge with open communication and collaboration, your team members can also exchange skills with one another. Skill-sharing helps individual team members learn new skills while honing existing skills.
- Goals: As a team collaborates and communicates, team members work together to discuss and reach a common goal by combining individual and team-driven efforts. When a team combines their skills and abilities, they can more effectively work towards a common goal.
- Engagement: Employee engagement is a crucial aspect of a productive office. Improving teamwork during the COVID-19 pandemic can help increase employee engagement and build camaraderie among staff members. Research shows disengaged employees can cost companies up to $550 billion a year.
Challenges of Promoting Teamwork and Collaboration in 2021
During COVID-19, many offices had to adapt to remote work and other unprecedented circumstances quickly. While collaboration during the pandemic was critical, many offices continue to think about team building and collaboration post-COVID-19. Remote work has been a helpful way of safely operating a business during the pandemic, but many companies are now considering the short-term and long-term challenges of promoting teamwork and collaboration in 2021, including:
1. Indirect Communication
Promoting collaboration during COVID-19 continues to be an important aspect many business owners and office managers are trying to implement. With remote work being vital to conduct business safely during COVID-19, many businesses — perhaps for the first time — are adapting to indirect communication. Communicating through virtual meetings or email may be challenging for an office accustomed to only in-person communication and work.
2. Remote Work Relationships
While many office managers can build a relationship with employees who have worked with a business before COVID-19, the onboarding process for new employees may be a different experience. For example, an employee hired directly into a remote role may not have the same opportunities to build a trusting in-person relationship as other employees have been able to. As a result, a manager may need to work a little harder to build a trusting relationship with a new employee.
3. Managing Productivity Levels
Many of the challenges of teamwork in the time of COVID-19 are similar to those that have always existed. Managing overall productivity levels is an ongoing aspect of running a business and office space. Without in-person interaction, managers must adapt to new ways of ensuring employees have the right amount of work each day. Striking a balanced workload is key to optimizing efficiency without having an employee feel burnt out or overworked.
Setting common goals for managers and team members is essential to achieving positive benchmarks for a business. With virtual communication, it is incredibly important to ensure everyone shares the same clearly outlined and aligned goals. These common objectives help each team succeed independently and in unison.
Ten Tips to Improve Office Teamwork in 2021
To improve teamwork and communication, business leaders should foster a positive working environment where teams and employees can work collaboratively and independently. Open communication can increase employee morale and productivity while also encouraging employees to share knowledge and skills with one another while working toward a common goal.
1. Avoid Over-Communication
While communication is key to a properly functioning office, too much of a good thing can have a negative effect. A business should actively communicate without overloading a team or employee with meetings and emails. Experts have argued too many emails are reducing employee productivity. With an overload in communication, team members may spend more time sorting through emails and meeting invites than performing focused work on an important project.
An inbox that is inundated with emails can demotivate an employee and overwhelm them with information. It is best to provide the level of communication needed for a team member to complete their task or project. To achieve a healthy balance, employers must build a certain level of trust with their employees and offer team members undisturbed time to complete their work.
2. Balance Workloads
Appropriately distributing projects and balancing workloads for individuals and teams can allow work to be performed more efficiently. While an employee or team may be exceptionally talented at a specific task or project, business managers still need to spread the workload evenly to avoid fatigue or burnout.
A balanced workload can help increase employee productivity as well as contribute to a higher rate of employee satisfaction. When employees are given a fair workload, they can take pride in their completed work and do not have to rush through a project to move on to another project quickly. In addition, balancing an employee’s workload can increase morale and lead to a healthier mental outlook.
3. Encourage Skill-Sharing
One of the main benefits of team collaboration is that everyone can learn new tips, tricks and skills. When employees work in isolation, they have to complete projects with only their knowledge, skills and information. While working independently is certainly important in any position, collaboration can provide a unique experience.
As employees collaborate on a project, they have a chance to see how other team members approach a project. Along the way, employees may pick up useful information or tips for ways to approach a specific task or client. Sharing knowledge and skills across departments and teams can contribute to positive growth and improved productivity.
4. Ensure Workplace Safety
One of the best ways to improve team collaboration in 2021 is to ensure a safe and comfortable space that prioritizes workplace illness prevention. With COVID-19, many offices moved to remote work to ensure the safety of their employees. As many team members begin working in-office again, they may be concerned for the overall safety of the workplace. Proper spacing of desks and working spaces can help reduce such anxiety.
Implementing regular cleaning and sanitation measures can also help improve office safety for all employees. However, improperly planning safety measures may lead to workplace anxiety or decreased staff productivity. On average, 87% of employees would like to see their current employer offer healthier workplace benefits, including wellness rooms and ergonomic seating.
5. Connect With Employees at All Levels
Connecting with employees on a team and individual level can provide business managers a more in-depth understanding of how a team operates and what their day-to-day activities include. Connecting with employees can boost productivity and is also a great way to understand what tools or software they may need to perform their duties more economically.
Direct contact with employees of all levels can provide managers unfiltered information on how a team functions. While many employers may connect with project managers or those in a higher position, it is important to contact employees of all positions within a company. Connecting with new or lower-level employees can foster positive relationships and be quite insightful.
6. Consider Staff’s Preferred Working Styles
While employees may share common goals and work together to complete a project, how each team or individual employees work may be different. Similar to how all employees learn differently, each employee has a unique working style that suits their abilities. Fostering the way a team or individual learns may help improve productivity.
Acknowledging and supporting unique working styles in your office can also increase morale. Employees often appreciate that their opinions are heard and their unique approaches to their tasks are endorsed. Understanding an employee’s preferred working style can also provide insight on how they may deal with strict deadlines or a time-consuming project.
7. Reinforce Collaborative Leaders and Teams
Positive reinforcement is an excellent way to highlight the strengths of a competent team. While many managers may highlight a specific employee or department for reaching important goals, such as meeting a sales quota, it can be beneficial to highlight collaborative leaders and teams. For example, while celebrating an employee who reached a sales quota can be a nice way to compliment a team member, it only highlights an individual’s actions.
When a manager compliments and reinforces collaborative leaders and teams, they foster a positive environment that encourages collaboration and teamwork to achieve business goals. Even when acknowledging individual effort, it can increase team morale to recognize the employee’s success was thanks to their continued collaboration with team members and dedication to their work.
8. Introduce Collaborative Tools
Adopting and implementing new collaborative tools and software can help employees, both in-person and remote, work and problem-solve effectively. Of course, the tools you need may vary depending on your industry and the size of your company. Still, collaborative tools are crucial for any business looking to foster a sense of teamwork and camaraderie.
When determining how to promote team collaboration, consider your goals as a business. Some of the most popular collaborative tools include instant messaging software and time-tracking tools. Many companies also implement software relating to project management and video conferencing, especially if some employees or teams work remotely.
9. Manage Client and Employee Expectations
One of the best ways to improve collaboration in the workplace is to manage client and employee expectations properly. While you always want to provide deliverables to clients promptly, it is also best to help clients understand how long a certain project may take. Quality is critical for any project, so taking an extra couple of days can be helpful, especially if it will improve the overall outcome of a project.
In addition to managing client expectations, you also want to be clear with what you expect from employees and a team as a whole. Clearly outlining realistic project goals can help team members prioritize projects and tasks. While a business may pride itself on completing tasks for clients promptly, you will also want to provide adequate time for employees to work without feeling overwhelmed or continually rushed.
10. Create Healthier Workspaces
Creating a healthier workplace is an important step when considering how to improve teamwork in the office. Supporting a healthier workspace can prevent the spread of germs and illnesses. When designing or upgrading office spaces, a business may consider premium cubicles or panels to section individual workplaces. Floor-to-ceiling offices and full offices are also popular options to consider.
Office Design Considerations in Promoting Collaboration
Designing an office should blend functionality with comfort to provide the best experience for business managers, team members and any clients that may frequent the office. Office employees will spend almost all their working hours in these spaces, so your office design is critical. Design elements you should take into consideration when creating a collaborative space include:
- Proximity: The proximity of workspaces and shared tools and technology is an important design aspect to consider when creating a collaborative workspace. The spacing of workstations should be comfortable and help prevent the spread of germs while still maximizing the overall efficiency of the office space.
- Privacy: While it may seem counterproductive, prioritizing areas for privacy can also help create a shared space that is more productive. Privacy can help develop a sense of ease and comfort while also offering the ability to perform focused work without distraction. The work done in a private setting can then be shared with other team members and applied towards a larger goal.
- Social interaction: Alongside reserving private workspaces, you will also want to design and implement shared spaces for communal interaction. You can create spaces where different departments and team members can work productively while still being accessible to other team members.
- Mobility: When designing a space that promotes collaboration, providing a range of postures and mobility is generally recommended. Offering seated, lounging and standing desks can contribute to physical comfort and help employees work in a posture that supports their focus.
- Tone: The design and style of an office provide the space with its own personality, which can often directly impact the mood of employees. Intuitive office design can increase efficiency, and experts suggest that productivity increases when offices are designed around a company’s values.
- Tools and software: Providing your teams with everything they need to work in a collaborative setting can help maximize the opportunities for team-building experiences. You can offer brainstorming tools that allow workers to build ideas together.
Find Premium Office Furniture and Workstations With Arnold’s
Arnold’s Office Furniture is an expert in the furniture industry that provides new, revolutionary office furniture. Some of the most popular items we offer include premium cubicles, lounge furniture and conference tables. We also provide office desks and office chairs for a comfortable, stylish and practical workspace. At Arnold’s Office Furniture, our goal is to challenge the notion that cubicle design is dull and strive to offer fresh, functional and affordable office furniture.
To start designing a collaborative workspace, request a free quote online today or call us at 610-272-2050.