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Collaborative work teams are successful work teams. The Cambridge Dictionary describes collaboration as, “The situation of two or more people working together to create or achieve the same thing”.

However, from experience, we all know that this concept is often lacking in busy, chaotic work environments. How regularly do you find that individuals and departments operate in silos – disconnected from each other and a shared mission?

Collaborative work is powerful. It can create a platform of trust and comradery that facilitates innovation and productivity. Here are a few of our top tips to help you build a more collaborative work environment today.

  1. Establish team goals and a compelling cause

    Encourage daily huddles and schedule regular company-wide meetings to keep everyone up-to-date with how you’re tracking, as a team, towards the company’s goals. People work harder and more collaboratively when there’s team spirit behind a collective cause that means something. Set SMART goals that are reviewed each quarter. Importantly, help people feel like they’re regularly getting small wins – it’s highly motivating.

  2. Make information available to everyone

    Employees can spend (read: waste) hours searching for information that would be much better placed on a collaborative board or shared information archive. As the old saying goes, “knowledge is power”! As much as possible, have company news and initiatives become an open book that everyone is welcome to comment and build on. This tip is all about reducing pain points and making things easy, so operations run more smoothly.

  3. Encourage innovation

    Create an environment where everyone feels comfortable and safe to share ideas without criticism or ridicule. Often, the most left-of-centre ideas are the ones that have the most impact! Schedule brainstorms and encourage people to be curious – always asking questions and wondering how things can be optimised. Company values such as “continued improvement” and “can-do attitude” should be instilled in day-to-day operations.

  4. Promote team-building and socialising

    Individuals are much more likely to engage as cross-functional teams when they attend events or do activities together outside of the workplace. This can mean anything from going to your local happy hour, on hikes in nature or taking team day trips – anything which will boost relationships, morale, and team bonds. All of this helps your team to see each other as humans – not robots! It facilitates empathy and understanding.

  5. Lead with integrity

    Actively support the behaviour that you’re trying to foster. Lead by example, make good on your promises, and build a level of trust that allows employees to feel safe and supported. You already go out of your way to earn your customers’ trust and it’s important to do the same for your employees.

  6. Celebrate collaborative behaviour

    Don’t forget how much it means to recognise, reward, and celebrate people! When employees exhibit collaborative behaviour, you could send out a team email, give them a round of applause during team meetings, or even order in a box of cake (healthy ones, of course…). Everyone likes to be praised for good work – and it motivates them to work harder.

  7. Create a shared space

    This is a passion point for us, here at Direct Ergonomics. We love to promote flexible, collaborative workspaces that encourage open communication and teamwork. They’re a great way to create an inspiring, comfortable, and community-like atmosphere. You can check out our range of collaborative seating products here.

At the end of the day, building collaborative behaviour is based on the core principles of any strong relationship or even family unit. Educate, appreciate, and inspire people. Bring them together with a shared mission. You’ll be amazed at the results.