21st Aug 2019
Collaboration in the Workplace: 5 Steps to Success
Research has proven that collaboration in the workplace aids productivity, encourages group goal-setting and knowledge-sharing, improves financial performance and breaks down cross-organisational communication barriers. In our opinion, there are a million and one more reasons to collaborate at work too!
Every business should be equipped with the tools their people need to work together effectively on a daily basis, so here we are, sharing 5 top tips for creating an open, collaborative culture in your business.
1. Share your purpose
The Institute for Corporate Productivity found that companies promoting collaborative working were 5 times as likely to be high performing. But what does this have to do with purpose?
Well, you may have guessed this wasn’t the full story… Out of the 1100+ companies involved in the study who claimed to have collaborative cultures, only a relative minority achieved good results. The reason for this, researchers suggested, was that most didn’t have a shared purpose.
So it’s not enough just to say you have a ‘collaborative company culture’. Your people need to buy into the reasons why you’re doing what you do. The most successful companies in this study were the ones that had a clear purpose, shared across the whole organisation.
Do your team know why they come to work every day? If not, think about how you can change this.
2. Brand your space
Branding your space with company colours, logos or icons can reinforce the values that your people live and breathe every day. This brings teams together and reminds everyone that they’re working towards the same shared goals.
But how do you actually go about achieving this? Something as simple as placing your logo around the building, or using brand colours in the décor and furniture can create a real sense of purpose.
Of course, this is only one piece of the puzzle, but considered in conjunction with other factors like company culture and how you use each area of your workplace, clever branding can help to promote inspiring, organic collaboration.
You don’t have to go ‘overboard’ with your branding either – here’s an example of subtle branding at our HQ, WorkLife Central.
3. Utilise technology
Using tech is a readily accessible way to help your people collaborate and communicate more effectively.
As well as installing the AV tech you need to support group work, meetings or video, there are countless numbers of tools that can make collaboration in the modern, agile workplace even easier.
Here are a few of our favourite collaboration tools for you to try:
- StarLeaf is a fantastic video conferencing software that also has chat, screen-sharing and file-sharing functions.
- CleverTouch displays – interactive displays that allow for real-time collaboration and instant feedback. Great for business and education settings. Comes with its own free software, CleverShare.
We use these tools across our team on a daily basis, so we’ve written a whole other blog on utilising technology in the workplace if you’d like to learn more.
4. Use meeting time more wisely
Meetings are great for sharing updates but don’t make that what they’re all about. Coming together with your team is the perfect opportunity to do truly collaborative work, share ideas and get inspired by your colleagues.
If that sounds a long away from what your meetings look like now, you might want to try changing things up a bit. One example of this could be to utilise tech such as the Evoko Room Booking system to take any hassle away from managing meetings.
In meetings themselves, start with the end in mind by establishing what needs to be achieved in your meetings. And if you’re using technology to help you tick those actions off, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying productive, engaging, team meetings.
Once you’ve got your meeting structures down, making sure your collaboration spaces are well-designed and fit for purpose is a sure-fire way to improve outcomes. Our blog on video conference room design gives some practical tips and ideas if you’re looking to learn more.
5. Commit to collaborating!
We hope that by now you’ve got some tangible tips to start working on, but we must say, none of it’s going to work if your organisation and the people within it (and your key partners outside of it) aren’t invested in making a collaborative culture work.
Steelcase recently wrote an article talking about ‘smart collaboration’ and ‘managing silos’. The article claims that silos can be helpful when things ‘need doing’, but that inefficiencies can emerge quickly in businesses who don’t come together to share knowledge. Because if you’re working alone, how do you know what everyone else is up to? How do you know if you can help each other to improve the way you’re doing things? Exactly.
And if our humble opinion isn’t enough, listen to this for a final thought… A Stanford study showed that research participants who were told they were working collaboratively stuck to their task for 64% longer than those told they were working alone. Pretty impressive results!
get your people collaborating
If you’re looking to change up the way your team works, get in touch to organise a free workplace assessment with one of our team.