One of the most important things for a small business is teamwork. When you run your own business, you bring together people with different personality types, and while you don’t expect everyone to get along all the time, people need to learn to work together to make the business a success. A big part of making your business run smoothly and successfully will lie in your ability to create a collaborative workspace.
People from all backgrounds will thrive in environments that allow them the freedom to communicate. You may well have been in office environments before that had you, and your coworkers sat in cubicles, unable to see each other, encouraged into silence and privacy rather than conversation and a buzzy atmosphere. We spend a great deal of time in an office every day, and it’s this time that we rely on to contribute to our success. As a social species, we don’t do too well in isolation, and it’s for this reason collaborative working should be the top priority for you. A working environment that encourages collaboration is a more successful one.
You can motivate your staff by merely seeing each other as you talk and work. You can increase productivity among your team, and you also increase the chance of better camaraderie in the office – and everyone loves that! People need to feel a part of something to want to continue to come back to work every day. While individual successes are fun and uplifting, there’s nothing that puts the fun into an office in the same way that a shared win does. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons that you should be encouraging a collaborative working environment:
You Will Encourage Communication
When people work in a team, they see each other in a way they can’t when they’re just shifting emails. According to the article “Open Office Floor Plan: 6 Pros And 6 Cons to Consider“, the open office environment will drop the barriers between team members and change the way that they communicate. Collaborative working challenges people’s thinking, the way they articulate their ideas and being able to bounce their ideas around can help people to see their strengths as well as their weaknesses.
You Encourage Problem Solving
Two heads are better than one. Five heads are better than two. A whole team of people working together with pooled knowledge and skills is the best way to solve a problem – because it’s not just the problem of one person anymore. Collaborative working encourages people to work together and figure out the solution to an issue.
You Encourage People To Open Their Eyes
Sometimes, individuals working alone can only see their own thinking and nothing else comes into it. When you put a group of people together from different backgrounds, you encourage everyone to look at the bigger picture and help them to figure out how they can complement each other’s knowledge.
You Encourage Education
When teams collaborate, they learn more. They learn about each other, the project, how to go beyond their working comfort zone. Collaboration encourages an environment of continuous learning and change, which is excellent for your business.
So, with all of that in mind, how can you encourage a work environment that is successful and collaborative?
Give Your Staff Their “Why”
Before you can hope to create any kind of collaborative environment between teams in the workplace, you need to give them a good reason as to why they should want to work collaboratively in the first place. If you get them excited and ready to work, you’re going to inspire them to be a part of your company and work together to see what can be accomplished. When people have a cause, they have a clear vision with what they want to achieve.
It’s Got To Be The Minimum
Not every person in a team will get along, but you need to communicate collaboration as the very minimum that you expect. Give everyone a defined purpose in your business so that they understand their role and their responsibility within the team. Clear instructions lead to effective working, and if you expect your team members to share the responsibility for the project ahead, you’ll have a success story on your hands.
Put Together Goals
Driving success requires your team to have something to work towards. If you set goals for your team members as a group as well as individually, you’re going to gain some achievable wins. Winning breaks down the barriers between each member of the team, and it means that you drum up some positive momentum. With team goals, you gain transparency, and you dispel confusion and disintegration.
Support Their Strengths
Empowerment is key to collaborative working, and if you want to see the best shine from your staff, you need to focus on their strengths and allow the team as a whole to support each other’s weaknesses. Where one individual is weak in a particular area, others will be strong to complement and so forth. You can use ice-breakers and fun days to get your team bonded together. This is important for them to work together and learn what motivates their colleagues. The whole idea of collaborative working is to move seamlessly as a team rather than celebrate individual successes. When groups connect together like this, they are then set up for complete success.
Think about how you are made to feel when you are included in big decisions about a project. Do you feel boosted? Do you feel like your knowledge mattered in the moment and in the process of the project? This is how your team will feel when working side by side. When your team feels included in this way, they are more productive, and they perform better. Encouraging inclusion by having the team talk to each other in a meeting each morning, planning out their goals and aims for the day can help to keep them all focused. Sessions like this enable everyone to be on the same page with the work due to be completed that day, and all members of the team are equal to each other, working hard to get where they need to be.
Teams grow and develop when they work properly together. To do this, encouraging innovation with brainstorming and encouraging them to question how things work is essential. To do it in an environment of togetherness and without judgement doesn’t just foster success, it helps and almost pushes innovation. All of your team has to be led to believe that they can overcome all challenges. The “can-do” attitude is what can motivate your staff members, and when people feel wanted and secure in their job, they can also feel confident enough to share their ideas and innovative thinking. Collaborative working, sitting together in an open plan office where they can all see and hear each other, this can encourage that innovative thinking you are looking for.
Show You Care
It’s one thing to make your whole office open plan, but it’s entirely another to prove that you want people working collaboratively. You need to start listening to your team and keep your promises when they ask for something from you. Teamwork isn’t something that happens overnight, and neither is trust. You want your team to trust each other, but above all, they need to trust you. Your team has to be able to lean on you, to count on you to listen to everything that they have to say. They need to know that you care just as much as they do about the work and about the way that they support each other. When the relationship between you all grows, the business becomes prosperous and strong.
It’s not all about work. That open plan office that you’ve been putting together is already breaking down barriers between staff members, but when people only see each other in a working capacity, there’s still more barriers to break. Encouraging your team to socialize outside of the working environment is essential. Doing so can change opinions that they hold for each other, and it can help them to learn that there are common interests that they may not discover at work. When we see the people we work with are more human and having fun, we tend to get along better and have better working relationships because of it.
Celebration & Reward
Having an office that celebrates teamwork is one that remains united in all their efforts. When wins happen as a group, it becomes the stuff of office legend. Stories are shared, drinks are had, and the walls of individualism are broken right down, and camaraderie happens. As the leader, you can celebrate the efforts and reward them for performance and effort put in.
If you can establish a business environment that celebrates collaboration you are going to have a business that remains successful and expands the way that it is predicted to. You must be as consistent as possible with your approach, and you need to encourage your team every step of the way. From the open plan layout to the social evenings to learning strengths and weaknesses, there is much to be achieved when working together as a solid unit.