Collaboration is all around us. We see it on a daily basis in both our personal and professional lives. At work we cooperate with colleagues, managers, suppliers, customers and almost everyone we come in contact with at the office. It’s become so important that if businesses have employees who don’t mesh, their chances of success are almost non-existent.
Here are seven tips on how to improve collaboration within the office environment.
- Open communication. One of the keys to successful teams is the adoption and encouragement of an open communication culture. With this, teams are better able to grasp what’s going on within the company, and be more efficient contributors and team players.
- Use the right technology. It seems like there are a million different software and technology options out there. Some of the tools available offer some fantastic features and it’s easy to get sucked in by a flashy component. It’s important that when choosing a tool you pick one that meets your company’s needs and is easy to use.
- Collaboration tools must play well with others. It’s beneficial to select systems that can be seamlessly integrated with other tools and software used by your employees. If your solutions don’t work together, all parties won’t be able to work together.
- Employee learning is key. When you find the perfect tool to use, be careful to take time and learn how to effectively use it. Training for the users of the tool is equally important.
- Work hard, play harder. Teams and departments should step away from their computers and actually have face-to-face meetings at least once a week. These meetings should be a mixture of formal and informal, and offer employees a chance to come together as a team, unwind and share ideas. A team that can interact well will always work together with greater efficiency.
- Mobilize. The smartphone is here to stay and with each passing year the number of users grows exponentially. It’s beneficial to encourage the use of these devices, and look for mobile solutions that allow users to be a part of the group while out of the office. If you do allow mobile devices, be sure to establish a clear usage policy so employees know how and when they should be using their phones.
- Don’t just focus on internal collaboration. One of the most common mistakes companies make is that they focus on group participation within the business, but don’t provide adequate support for external interactions. Be sure you integrate tools that provide stakeholders with a way to connect and work with teams within the company.