While individual employees can accomplish many great things on their own, true innovation usually comes from a collaborative effort. Even if much of your employees’ workloads are based on individual work, there are many ways that you can encourage your staff to work together, creating a more connected and upbeat office environment. The more satisfied your employees are (and the more comfortable they are with each other), the greater your company’s productivity will be. When people work together, new ideas are often born out of teamwork and brainstorming. Try encouraging your staff to develop deeper relationships with each other by allowing team-building activities like diamond painting day and creating opportunities for them to work together in the office.
- Encourage Personal Relationships
As adults, it’s more challenging to meet new people as you’ve already been through school and most of your social interactions take place with friends that you already have or people that you work with. Getting to know people in the office can open the door to new friendships, which is good for the office. When co-workers feel as though they can trust each other, they are much more likely to collaborate on projects, complete tasks quicker and more efficiently, and feel happy in their positions. As a manager or supervisor, you should encourage these types of relationships by making time for work get-togethers–whether it be a company party, an after-work apps and happy hour trip or an in-office yoga class or meditation time.
- Plan Team-Building Activities
As a company, you should regularly engage your employees in team-building activities. It’s the perfect way to help people get to know others in the office, particularly between departments, and it will sharpen their critical thinking skills. Try implementing a monthly team-building meeting that doesn’t have to take more than 20 minutes and plan a new game or try a craft like diamond painting. Arts and crafts for adults have been proven to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety, two afflictions that many people feel during the workday. Providing your employees with these stress-relieving outlets will help boost their motivation and make them feel more comfortable in their workspace.
- Offer Community Work Spaces
To further encourage collaboration, you should set the office up so employees have shared spaces in which they can work. Many people find it beneficial to be able to switch up their surroundings during the day by moving from their stationary desk to a standing or treadmill desk and then to a couch or call room to finish up the day. Community spaces should have long tables with comfortable chairs or a couch area. This allows people to work in a different environment for a few hours and gives them space to plan collaborative projects or get to know others in the office that they may not work with regularly. When employees create their own relationships, they can also help inspire motivation in other co-workers, creating an overall more productive environment for everyone.
- Assign Team Projects
This is an enjoyable way to encourage collaboration and offer your employees the opportunity to make their own improvements on the company itself or the office culture. Pick one day of each year to be Innovation Day. Then, allow your employees a few weeks to get together in teams and come up with an idea that will somehow improve the office. This solution can help employees, company culture, client services, etc. Participation shouldn’t be required, but you can offer some type of incentive for teams who choose to participate (maybe a pizza party post-Innovation Day presentations).
- Encourage Inter-Office Communication
With today’s technology, it’s easier than ever to keep your staff in communication with each other. Slack is a top-rated office communication app on your computer and phone that allows employees to create channels designated for specific work tasks or teams such as channel #marketingteam or more fun topics like #marchmadnessbrackets. Within these channels, your employees are able to quickly speak to each other about important work information and hobbies or interests that will help bring them closer together and create new work friendships.
- Utilize Multi-Departmental Training
Many companies try to implement multi-departmental training when a new employee is first hired. The idea behind this type of training is to have each employee gain insight and understanding into another department to make the employee more versatile and have a greater understanding of how the company works as a whole. If each employee has an understanding of how every department is supposed to work, they will have a greater appreciation of their co-workers and may feel more comfortable reaching out about collaborative efforts.
- Implement a Yearly Innovation Day
This is a really fun way to encourage collaboration and offer your employees the opportunity to make their own improvements on the company itself or the office culture. Pick one day of each year to be Innovation Day. Then, allow your employees a few weeks to get together in teams and come up with an idea that will somehow improve the office. This solution can help employees, company culture, client services, etc. Participation shouldn’t be required, but you can offer some type of incentive for teams who choose to participate (maybe a pizza party post-Innovation Day presentations).
Empower Your Employees
Keep your employees happy and motivated when you make time for team-building and collaboration. Try implementing some easy ideas like monthly team-building activities, assigning team projects and even starting your very own Innovation Day. Maintaining a strong company culture that encourages employees to get to know each other and work together is essential to your success and your staff’s success.