Whether employees are working in an office, a co-working space, or remotely from home or abroad, ensuring there is strong communication between teams is indispensable.
Here, we discuss several ways in which businesses of any size can improve collaboration within their workforce.
Methods of communication
For the majority of UK workers, email tends to be the preferred method of correspondence, with the average office employee checking their inbox a whopping 36 times per hour! Despite its evident ease of use, making email the primary source of communication in the workplace can create roadblocks, as well as wasting a significant amount of time, particularly in the case of simple messages which may be better relayed via a quick phone call or an instant messaging platform.
With that being said, it might be beneficial to consider changing the way employees communicate with each other, by suggesting people are less reliant on emails going forward. Instead, face-to-face interactions should be encouraged. As such, providing communication training sessions and holding regular team meetings or morning scrums are a good starting point in a businesses’ shift towards a more cooperative workforce.
Moreover, many business owners have started investing in modern collaborative working software, which allows teams to work together on projects via a singular cloud-based platform. This makes carrying out day-to-day tasks like document sharing, calendar planning and meetings easier and more agile. Teams, therefore, become more efficient, as well as not being constrained by physical boundaries. Moreover, many platforms also feature a stakeholder engagement tool, improving communication between key business decision-makers and keeping them in-the-loop throughout all phases of a project.
These virtual workspaces are built with collaboration firmly in mind, allowing employees, partners and clients to communicate from anywhere in the world, and at any time.
The environment in which we work plays a significant role in our ability to carry out our jobs, which is why smart business owners ordinarily choose an office design that allows cross-functional teams to communicate effectively.
Open-plan offices are best for collaboration, since they promote the easy sharing of knowledge between employees, without creating information silos, which a traditional, closed-off or partitioned office might normally do.
Privacy is, of course, necessary from time-to-time, especially in important client meetings or individual training sessions. As such, creating separate rooms or break-out areas, built specifically for these purposes, is worthwhile. These can also double-up as chill-out zones for employees when needing a coffee break or a quick meeting with a colleague.
Likewise, for companies or individuals that make use of a co-working space instead of a traditional office, it is vital to choose one that can contribute to effective collaboration. Ideally, this would be a modern, flexible space that caters to teams of all sizes, boosts creativity, and allows people to network and learn from others.
On average, workers spend more time in the presence of their colleagues than their friends and family, which is why it is extremely beneficial to attempt to build and maintain good workplace relationships.
Business owners and managers can encourage healthy employee interactions by holding regular team-building events, such as staff breakfasts, pub socials and fun day-outs, all of which allow people to get to know their colleagues outside of the formal work setting, boosting morale and contributing to better collaboration.
Additionally, communication training sessions can be provided for all employees, which not only improves collaboration between members of staff but also enhances the way people interact with clients or customers.
As teamwork is one of the fundamental skills that most employers look for when hiring or retaining members of staff, it would be valuable to include collaboration efforts in an employees’ ongoing learning and performance objectives.
When employees are aware that their managers place significant value on teamwork, and that they are being assessed on their ability to contribute to it positively, they may be more inclined to continue improving and making efforts to collaborate with colleagues effectively.