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10 Collaboration Tips for a More Efficient Work Environment

A team that collaborates efficiently gets a lot more accomplished than one that doesn’t take advantage of the tools and best practices to help them work together as a group. Team building can work, but there are many finer details to focus on daily that will allow your work environment to be more conducive to collaboration.

Three out of every four employees state teamwork and collaboration are an essential part of a workplace environment. Creating a situation that is conducive to this type of shared, positive interaction can help you attract and retain the best candidates, which will benefit your business.

There are many reasons to work on the collaboration of your work environment. Here are 10 tips to help you work more efficiently as a team.

1.     Upgrade Your Technology

If your technology is lacking, it’s difficult to collaborate with others. There are times when you need to shoot a quick internal message to someone on your team or utilize a conference call to connect with someone in another location.

Not only should your technology be as upgraded as possible, but the connections should be fast enough to support communication. About 83 percent of employees working in a professional environment state they depend on technology for their collaboration needs.

2.     Encourage Appreciation

One problem with collaboration can be that employees don’t feel appreciated or recognized. It is aggravating to work hard on a project and feel as though someone else is getting the credit for your hard work. Encourage your team members to praise their coworkers and recognize them for the value they bring to a project.

3.     Utilize Offsite Storage

There are many times when a team must collaborate with someone off-site, whether it’s a client or a co-worker in another location. More and more companies are hiring remote workers, as well, so the entire team may not be in one office.

Storing project files in the cloud gives everyone access to the project at any time from any location. However, there are some drawbacks to offsite storage, so be aware of the pros and cons and choose the storage options that are best for your company.

4.     Stand-Up Meetings

It’s essential that everyone starts each day on the same page and feels like they’re part of the team. Short meetings first thing in the morning are conducive to keeping everyone apprised of significant changes or goals they must meet. A stand-up meeting is typically 15 minutes or less and either consists of the project leader giving an update or everyone giving an update. Questions are reserved for more in-depth sessions, but quick concerns can be easily addressed before the work day starts.

5.     Offer Incentives

One study found that if employees don’t have a compelling reason to do so, then they don’t collaborate. The incentive might be something simple, such as a party at the end of a big project, but there needs to be some reward for the extra effort it takes to work with a team. Incentives encourage employees to work together more efficiently.

6.     Movable Furniture

Adding furniture that can be easily moved around the office is a smart way to encourage collaboration. Imagine two co-workers taking on a project. This way, they can easily roll their desks together to work facing one another for a few hours, then move their desks back in place for a bit of privacy.

7.     Private Meeting Space

If possible, provide a private meeting space for your team. In many offices today, there is an open environment without walls. While this is great for encouraging people to engage and collaborate, it isn’t so great if employees are discussing sensitive information or even talking loudly. It can also be distracting to other workers who aren’t on that particular project.

8.     Add Natural Light

Dark, dim spaces are depressing for anyone. If you want your teams to work more efficiently, provide plenty of natural light. Natural light promotes better health and productivity — it can even put workers in a better mood so they have a more positive outlook on a project.

9.     Trust Your Team

Allow your team members to come together and do what they do best. Are you in the habit of micro-managing teams working on big projects? This takes time away from their work and could be demoralizing. A better option might be to have a team leader give you updates weekly or to hold a team meeting once a week. Otherwise, trust that you’ve hired the best of the best and let your team run with the task at hand.

10.  Use a Single Platform

In the lifecycle of a company, it is typical to try several types of project platforms. However, this can create a lot of confusion when collaborating with different employees.

Choose a single platform for a given project and stick to it until it is complete. Ideally, the platform will be a place where team members can access project files, read messages, add notes and check off tasks. The more the platform does, the better.

Create an Efficient Environment for Better Collaboration

The more efficient you can make your team’s work environment, the better collaborations will go. Different personality types come together in group settings — some people grow aggravated over inefficiency, while others become aggravated over people who are easily aggravated. The key is to smooth out these bumps before they occur, so the team can focus on the project at hand.