Earlier this month, I polled my LinkedIn network connections on “What are the reasons you are giving/have been given to physically return to the office?”
Here are the results:
A majority of respondents (72%) voted “Better team collaboration” as the reason for recalling or being recalled to the office.
If collaboration is the reason behind the return to the office, then let’s be sincere about it as a business and foster a truly collaborative work environment.
Here are some tips on how to promote collaboration in the office:
- Create a positive work environment – It’s extremely important that you, as a leader, reinforce employees who encourage others and quickly eliminate any negative or destructive behaviors within your organization. The more positive your work environment becomes, the better your employees will understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses and be willing to provide each other with proper support.
- Set expectations – Just like in team sports, teammates in a work environment need to know their roles — and how valuable they are to you and the group’s overall success. Setting expectations also gives employees a sense of purpose and clear direction.
- Encourage your employees to socialize outside of work – Throw team building activities, icebreakers, work happy hours, or office parties. Any way you choose to go, the key here is that your employees have the chance to see each other purely as humans.
- Use collaboration software – Collaboration software and employee engagement programs help you send and receive messages, share documents, get feedback, and discover new information at cyber speeds. There is much software to choose from and some of my favourites for collaboration are Google Drive, Dropbox, Slack, Notion, and Calendly.
- Encourage brainstorming – The main benefit of brainstorming is the collective IQ that stems from sharing challenges and developing solutions. As long as your group remains open, positive, and emotionally safe for team members to share their ideas, your team will be a winner!
- Change the physical layout – If possible, remove physical barriers and promote discussions and interactions by using single table seating, open concept layouts, couch or lounge chairs for team meetings, multiple whiteboards, and group seating in lunch/break rooms are just some of the changes you can take advantage of.
Fostering collaboration in the workplace has been proven to:
- Better problem-solving amongst your team
- Increased productivity
- Boosts employee engagement
- Improves morale
- A huge recruitment factor especially for Millenials and Gen Z candidates
If you need help improving collaboration, reach out to me at darryl@HR4U.work
Darryl Dioso is a Partner at HR4U with over 20 years of HR recruitment, consulting, and management training experience.