Using whiteboards to increase collaboration in your office
Collaboration is a powerful tool, so it's one that should be common in your office. Everyone's mind works differently, and each person is going to have unique ideas and problem-solving strategies.As such, you should try to improve collaboration in the workplace so you get the highest level of innovation you can. If your office doesn't engage in collaborative efforts often, improve frequency and effectiveness with these collaboration tips:
Collaboration doesn't just happen - you have to help it along. The physical environment of your office can impact how easily people meet one another and whether employees will talk to others to solve a problem. As you can imagine, an office space that's divided by cubicles and offices with doors doesn't inspire collaboration. It's for this reason that many modern offices are designed with an open concept. Rather than separate employees, designers create spaces that promote conversation.
"You must actively create opportunities for collaboration."
This might mean removing cubicles and having desk pods or placing common rooms in high-traffic areas. Then, when people head to the kitchen or the break room, they're more likely to encounter others. When you know the people you work with, you'll be inclined to go to them for help.
Additionally, decor may help improve collaboration. You can hang whiteboards in your conference rooms or near desk pods. That way, when co-workers are having a strategy meeting they can write down their thoughts.
Don't just use dry erase boards for working areas, also hang them in fun zones. How about painting a wall in the office with clear dry-erase paint? If you do, employees can write messages to one another on the wall or jot down important office-wide info.
Upcoming party? The date can go on the board. Have new employees joining the staff? Tell others by writing on the wall.
The projects your company assigns could interfere with collaboration. Does your work need to be done alone? If so, how can you change that? Can you build teams to work with your clients? Brainstorm ways you can transform job descriptions to encourage teamwork. You can even ask your employees to call out times when collaboration would benefit their assignments. Many times, individuals working closely on a project know whether what they're doing will benefit from having more people involved.
Bring departments together You may not think various departments in your company have much to offer one another, but that could be untrue. In fact, you can boost collaboration by thinking outside of the box and getting people from different teams to come together. Maybe marketing and sales can work on a project, for instance.
Praise effective teamwork
Whenever a group completes a project successfully or makes a good impression on clients, let others know. You can send an email highlighting the effort, or write a big thank-you note on your office's stick-on whiteboard. As more people do a good job while working in teams, managers may seek more opportunities for their staff to collaborate.