Five Steps for Creating a Collaborative Workspace
A team should work together in a collaborative workspace, or else the members cannot be considered parts of a real team. Being able to trust other people in your group is critical. When there is trust, there is more willingness to share thoughts and ideas while accepting other members’ contributions.
A collaborative workspace allows for better growth in the group setting. People are more willing to boost themselves and other group members. After all, this level of cooperation is ideally imagined when people of specific skills and personality traits are hired.
Here are five important steps that you must take in creating a collaborative workspace:
1. Get to know your team’s strengths and weaknesses
From the get-go, employers seek to find out each applicant’s strengths and weaknesses. Interviewees typically anticipate questions associated with them. So, they more likely have gone through a period of self-examination. If employees can list their strengths and weaknesses, they have some degree of self-awareness, which is necessary for effectively communicating with other people.
You cannot rely on these voiced qualities, however. Written recommendations from past employers and professors can paint a clearer picture of each team member. Current participation and performance at work can also reveal more about whether the same strengths and weaknesses remain.
See how each member’s qualities can interact with their teammates' characteristics.
● Who will complement each other?
● Who will clash?
● What can be done to make the most of the members' skill sets?
2. Conduct expectation settings
Some employees enter the workplace not knowing what else is expected beyond their actual job assignments. You can begin giving them an idea by making the office culture clear from the job interview and the office tour.
Then, you can arrange for an expectation meeting with the individual. Later on, you can include the newly hired employee with the rest of the team. Clarifying and reaffirming the expectations in a group setting will let each member know that everyone is expected to be active participants and collaborators in the workplace.
3. Incorporate collaboration tools
It is the 21st century. So, you should take advantage of the tools that this century has made available to us. Your company does not have to incorporate all that is available in the market today. Instead, it has to find some specific tools that will answer the company’s needs as a whole and the members as a collaborative team.
Some of the usual collaborative tools used include videoconferencing and group messaging applications. Simpler ones include applications that allow people to add information to a document. Such an example is Google Docs. However, more intricate tools have sprouted up left and right in recent years.
The newer tools allow chat, sharing of documents, ticking off to-do lists, role assignment, time limits, and more. With so many of them out there, your team must be able to choose tools that have the following characteristics:
● The tool must be multi-featured. Even though several collaborative tools are attractive and inexpensive, you don’t want your team to have to toggle their tabs all the time just to find what they must be doing.
● It must be easy to use. This way, you can get all the team members on active duty right away without going through lengthy training sessions.
● There should be privacy settings. In some workplaces, not all team members should be able to access more sensitive data and exchanges. Therefore, there should be levels of privacy that separate whole-group sharing and chat from one-on-one discussions.
● The tool should allow the transfer of the types of files your company works with. While most companies deal with the usual document software, some have heavier graphics files.
● It should allow your team to back up all files to the cloud.
4. Bond inside and outside the workplace
The first time a team gets formed in an office, the members usually go through some team building activities. These activities test the trust level each one has for the others. They also allow for introductions that will help each member gauge how they should work with their teammates. Some companies even use recreational activities or even a social lunch in the office common area as a way for each employee to get to know the rest. Activities may also be taken outside but remain company-based.
However, the team members can opt to take bonding to a different level. They may decide to visit each others’ homes or take that after-work drink. When team members are more comfortable with each other, they can be more honest with their feedback and more likely to enjoy their work. When people are having fun, there is a better chance of boosting productivity.
While the outside relationships may occur without any encouragement from the company, it should be clear that it is considered a good idea.
5. Promote the use of innovation
Some team members will always be more creative than the rest. You may even have a creative department. They are in charge of the innovations and creative moves in the company. However, these roles should not be limited to their department.
Some people may think that sticking to the rules of the company is critical to their success. Therefore, the administration should be clear about its stand. It must emphasize that it salutes innovative solutions by rewarding them.
Innovative solutions should be celebrated along with other company successes. However, the team must also not ignore the importance of being there for their teammates when a failure occurs. If the loss is unintentional, the person in charge should be given constructive advice instead of being put in the corner. Their role as a team member has not been revoked. Instead, the rest of the team should show some support while also encouraging him or her to do better.
Creating a collaborative workspace starts with the administration. The team leaders should set a good example. They must make the expectations clear from the very start and work towards forming a strong collaborative team. There should be a team that oversees the other various departments if there are any. Activities should be geared towards using individual strengths to benefit the group. While personal achievements are recognized, there should be a strong emphasis on cooperation.