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How to Create a More Collaborative Work Environment

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shutterstock_103176140Collaboration not only reduces internal friction in a business, but it can also make that business more profitable through higher productivity and improved staff morale.

The following are some ways to make your business a more collaborative place for everyone.

Encourage a collaborative culture

A collaborative culture requires transparency and trust on the part of both management and staff. If decisions are made without any transparency, they are more likely to be questioned by employees. If on the other hand the staff know who made the decision and why they made it, they are more likely to respond favourably towards it, or at least give it the benefit of the doubt.

If people don’t trust each other, they will find it difficult to collaborate together. Managers need to show employees that they trust their judgement by allowing them to make decisions specific to their areas of expertise. Shared decision making increases a team’s sense of project ownership and trust.

Create a collaborative environment

As well as encouraging collaboration through openness and trust, a business can help bring its employees together more by changing the environment they work in. Ditching the cubicles which encourage isolation and low productivity and replacing them with open plan shared work areas is one way to do this. Providing configurable furniture also encourages more temporary collaboration as the need arises.

Another good idea for bringing staff together is to have a separate kitchen/break room where everyone can congregate and mix in their down time.

Introduce collaborative tools

There are a range of great tools to facilitate online collaboration between team members. These include:

  • Google Docs – This allows multiple people to work on the same document at once.
  • Yammer – This is a good company social network with chat rooms, articles and idea generation tools.
  • Join me – This is a collaborative app that allows users to instantly share their screens with others through the use of simple codes.
  • Springnote – this is an online notebook that allows you to create, edit and share pages with colleagues from any Internet-enabled device.

The old sayings two heads are better than one and many hands make light work make perfect sense in a corporate environment. No manager can make good decisions based purely on their own understanding and beliefs. Input from others makes for more well balanced and often far more innovative decisions than would otherwise be the case, and every business owes it to their bottom line to cultivate a more collaborative work environment.

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