4 Ways to Increase Employee Collaboration and Teamwork

collaborate tablet meeting communicate

There’s no question that an office environment can have a huge impact on how employees perform and feel about work. In fact, a study from Salesforce found that about 86% of employees and executives think that workplace failures are due to a lack of collaboration or ineffective communication.

As a Facility Manager, you can help create the best work environment possible. Even simple, subtle changes to your workplace can have a positive impact on how employees perform as well as their overall attitude regarding work.

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Let’s take a look at a few ways facility managers can create room—literally—for more collaboration and teamwork among employees.

1. Create designated collaboration spaces

office workers collaborating in the workplace

Open-office floor plans are a trend that has become increasingly popular among companies of all sizes over the last few years. Although this trend has received mixed feedback—some claiming that this type of office floor plan results in too much noise or employee socializing—the sentiment of this design can be translated into other parts of an office. However, the first step toward creating an office that inspires collaboration is by creating the appropriate spaces to do so.

Designated collaboration spaces not only allow employees to maximize their meeting time but can serve as boundaries between independent work time and collaboration. These spaces should be structured for meetings and include the necessary tools for productivity and collaboration such as whiteboards, comfortable seating, proper lighting, and the appropriate technology.

Adding neighborhoods to an office floor plan takes these designated spaces to the next level. Neighborhoods typically have different themes and can be designed for one specific kind of task.

Whether your marketing team needs a “war room” to hash out details of their next campaign, or your accounting team needs a quiet space to crank out work during tax season, neighborhoods serve as the ultimate workspace for whatever your employees need. Neighborhoods are a great way to encourage community, team building, and collaboration due to their tailored nature.

It’s important that these spaces be open, but not too open that they cause distraction and impact other employees. Also, making it easy to book these areas will encourage use. If your employees are unfamiliar with open-office spaces, sending a company-wide email that explains how to make the most of these spaces, how employees can book them, etc. may also increase their usage.

Building designated collaboration spaces for employees to create, collaborate and do their best work can mean the difference between a productive work environment and a counterproductive one.

2. Leverage the right communication tools

Woman connecting cellphone and laptop computer

These days, smartphones have a significant presence in the workplace and are typically seen as a distraction for employees. After all, endless scrolling, texting, and notifications aren’t the best way to tackle a to-do list.  

A study from Alfresco found that about 83% of those surveyed depend on technology to do their job and collaborate. What’s more, 82% of participants said that they would feel impacted if collaboration technology was removed from their day-to-day.

Communication is an integral part of every employee’s workday and that having the right tools is crucial. So how can facilities managers help create balance?

There are countless communication and collaboration tools on the market today, which can often result in counter-productivity. You can take these tools one step further by connecting them to your Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS).

For example, OfficeSpace integrates with Slack, which makes finding people, rooms, and utilities on each floor easier than ever. Employees can also create facility tickets any time they want to report a maintenance issue. Integrating this streamlined process with tools employees already use ensures clearer communication and efficiency.

Pro Tip: make it part of the employee onboarding process to learn and understand how to effectively use each tool so any confusion can be addressed at the start.

Also, working alongside your IT department to integrate this type of technology into your office can go a long way. It’s no secret that a ton of technology is required to power offices these days, so working with the IT department—and building a positive rapport—can be beneficial for the long-term.

3. Consider investing in mobile furniture

flexible lounge area for workplace collaboration

Office floor plans are becoming increasingly unique, but the reality is, a particular floor plan might not be best for all employees’ work style. At the end of the day, your employees still need to be able to produce their best work at work.

Movable furniture can be the answer to many issues relating to productivity and collaboration around the office. Being able to move desks, cabinets, and chairs easily so employees can hold meetings—whether they are long presentations or quick touch bases—can encourage collaboration. With that being said, giving employees the opportunity to close themselves off when they need to buckle down and tackle their to-do list is equally important.

Instead of feeling constricted by any particular floor plan, employees can improvise and create the space that is best for them. Fluidity and flexibility within the workplace are essential to building an environment fit for collaboration and teamwork.

However, with all that moving, how do you make sure all furniture is accounted for, reflected accurately in the floorplan, and that employees know where to access these spaces?

Using an IWMS that allows for simple floor plan updates takes the headache out of moving walls or changing office layouts. OfficeSpace can help make moving furniture and walls a cinch thanks to our unlimited floor plan updates.

4. Encourage employee bonding

employee bonding and collaborative workspaces

A great way to boost collaboration and teamwork among employees is to encourage them to spend time together at company functions as well as outside of work. Whether it’s a company-wide happy hour, dinner, or volunteer event, giving employees a chance to socialize and leave the “shop talk” at their desks can result in more collaboration.

A Gallup poll reported that employees that have friendships at work saw increases in their productivity and their desire to perform well. What’s more, Gusto found that 54% of employees say a strong sense of community—awesome coworkers, milestone celebrations, and a joint mission—kept them at a company longer than they intended.

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Work with your company’s HR team to coordinate events that promote team bonding and utilize different areas of the office. Co-launching initiatives like this is a great way to not only bring the whole company together, but it can help strengthen the relationship between the facilities management team and the HR team. Together you can come up with ideas that align with both the HR team’s goals and the facilities management team’s goals, which is a recipe for a great experience paired with efficiency and collaboration.

Examples of company events that can help boost collaboration and teamwork include:

  • Volunteer events

  • Casual company-wide social events

  • Celebrations at the office

  • Team-building activities or retreats

 

Of course, it can be challenging for some to get together outside of work due to schedules and family matters, but having work friends can do wonders for employee productivity and overall company morale.  Every company is different, but scheduling these types of events can increase company spirit and make the office a more enjoyable place for everyone.

Also, if you have a big company, events like these can serve as an excellent opportunity for employees to mingle—and in some cases, meet in real life. Having something on the calendar every month or quarter will give employees something work-related to look forward to.

Create room for collaboration and teamwork

Employees need spaces and places to meet, work together, and bounce ideas off one another. Providing employees with the right areas and tools will foster an environment of collaboration and connectivity across all departments.

Growing a stronger, more connected team starts in the office, and facility managers are in the perfect position to help make that a reality.

Need help creating the ultimate office plan for your company? We can help.

Photo Credits: rawpixel, Shutterstock, Shutterstock, PexelsTrang Doan