Collaborating well means cooperating with the least amount of friction. The advantage of collaboration not only produces high-quality results but maintains an optimal (pleasant, fun, compassionate) environment during each point of communication and creativity along the way.
Good collaboration doesn’t mean there’s never any conflict, but well-managed team-building can reduce unnecessary stressors, and, like any leadership initiative, truly must come from the top of the organization for it to grow deep roots. Here are five tools you can consider.
Weekly Team-Building Video Meetings
Even with all the advantages of remote work - feeling more in control of your day, working in a pleasant, familiar environment, hours saved without commuting - the isolation and feelings of disconnectedness are very real.
The person running a weekly meeting might ask the group a question, like, “What was your favorite book as a child and why?” then give each person the floor.
Time the responses if you have a large team and a few exuberant chatterboxes who like to take the floor. Why this works: allowing people to know each other and be known through a more personal lens humanizes the workforce, and creates empathy and connection and this is especially important for remote staff.
Create a Group Volunteer Day
If an office does have some in-person staff, consider joining a group volunteer effort that creates a real, immediate impact on other people.
Successful companies may persuade employees to donate money to a worthy cause, like World Central Kitchen, and then match each donation.
Even more powerfully, some companies join with non-profits like Habitat for Humanity and set aside a day for employees to go build a house for a family in need. It creates an incredible sense of accomplishment and bonds people together by doing something selfless.
Encourage Anonymous Feedback
Creating surveys and asking people for anonymous feedback about important initiatives, new products or directions reminds people their voice matters. It gives the company invaluable feedback too.
If a business receives a negative reaction to a particular policy or direction but, despite opposition, stays with its original plan for ethical or business reasons, this provides an amazing opportunity to communicate its reasoning with staff.
If that results in some turnover, their transparency has created a means for workers who are most aligned with them to stay put, allowing those who don’t resonate with the company’s values to naturally drop away.
Foster an Environment of Trust
Create an office culture built on trust, the number one building block for powerful office collaboration.
Trust needs to be built into the DNA of a company, its leadership, values, and staff and is not something that can be reverse-engineered into existence.
However, a company that keeps its word quickly acknowledges and rewards teams doing great work and willingly re-evaluates itself on a regular basis models trust in its employees. This naturally fosters seamless collaboration and vibrant office culture.
Gamify Problem Solving
Gamify collaborative problem-solving. Companies may or may not choose to work with a third-party vendor for these games, but whether you originate them or hire someone to help, playing games to solve problems as a team is a fun, energetic way to sharpen skills, bring humor into the room and condition people to expect surprise, creating an openness to unexpected solutions.
Building something delicate together under a deadline, or solving a mystery in a corporate escape room increases skills, helps people get to know each other better, and also creates a jovial environment that allows people to “fail” without any real-world repercussions usually a lot of laughter.
It works just as well with introverts as it does with extroverts, and as long as everyone can respect each other’s uniqueness, it provides a sense of cohesion that becomes important when solving problems.