Collaboration: Why “We” is Better Than “Me”
The importance of teamwork and collaboration in the workplace is not a new idea. Those words have been used so often in employee handbooks and on company websites that they have come to seem almost meaningless to many people. Not only that, but many organizations who claim to value and promote collaboration fail to actually practice what they preach. But the fact is, working together effectively on projects actually DOES make for a better end result (there’s scientific proof!) and it helps bolster employee morale, as well.
So, what does it really mean to have a collaborative workplace? At Liquid Creative we believe it means encouraging group discussion and creating an environment where every team member knows their ideas are valued. We hold regular team “brainstorming” meetings where we’re all invited to explore different ideas and flesh them out in an unstructured atmosphere. Too often there is a misconception that creative people work better on their own. (Maybe this is because of all the stereotypes shown in pop culture about tortured artist types that always portray creative geniuses as constantly struggling and being difficult to work with.) Luckily, in real life you don’t have to be a genius to execute an awesomely creative idea! All you really need is a group of similarly creative and motivated people working alongside you. It’s amazing how quickly an idea that would take a person working solo weeks to develop can be brought to fruition by a group of creative people working together.
Here’s a few tips on how to encourage increased collaboration in the workplace from the “Teamwork Experts” here at Liquid.
- Inspire from the Top Down: It’s really encouraging to see your bosses and supervisors promoting a collaborative atmosphere and being just as willing as other team members to listen to new ideas and embrace new ideas
- Consider an Open Floor Plan: Employees who aren’t stuck in cubicles or separate offices are more likely to communicate and bounce ideas off one another. Clusters of cushy chairs, large group tables and laptops are all excellent tools to encourage collaboration.
- Foster Friendship: Encouraging employees to consider each other more than just coworkers is an important part of helping them to reach the needed comfort level to openly share ideas and provide productive feedback. You can promote friendship between team members by holding occasional employee lunches, happy hours and interactive team building activities.
- Don’t Forget the Deadline! When you have a comfortable, open and collaborative workplace where employees are friends with each other and are encouraged to talk openly and frequently about ideas, it is important not to forget to also focus on project due dates! Otherwise, it’s easy to get caught up in brainstorming and miss deadlines.
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