Fostering Collaboration in the Workplace
Steve, Danny, Kono and Chin Ho get together for a new crime case. They all meet at the scene and talk about what just happened. Steve gives them tasks and each team member does what they do best. After few hours, they meet again at their office and brainstorm over the big tech table, ideas spark and the crime solved. This is collaboration at Hawaii Five O, what makes it work?
Two or more people talking about business is an image we see when we think about collaboration. But it starts someplace else, its starts with trust and relationship. Good interpersonal relationships make collaboration easier. Being able to trust each other makes us more comfortable with this relationship and we are able to facilitate a democratic meeting and allow for ideas to flow freely.
How do we foster collaboration in the workplace?
By providing casual spaces for team meetings and technology that enables us to reach out to our mobile workers and consultants which fosters collaboration. Here are some ideas on how to foster collaboration in the workplace.
A table with chairs can encourage a casual spot to work together. Pull up a round table near a desk for easy access when team meeting is needed.
In open spaces, group casual seating and tables with writable surfaces. Install writable surfaces on walls too like a marker board wall covering, glass, plexi glass or marker boards hung on tracks. Free standing marker boards are also great for space dividers. Glue tackable surface panel materials like linoleum products make pinning drawings and other presentation materials easy. Install it on walls or if space permits glue it on sliding doors to encourage impromptu meetings, and ability to carve out a casual meeting spot when all meeting spaces are occupied.
Lately, I have been seeing open spaces where you can sit on the floor simulating an auditorium style arrangement. Some sit on the floor while others use it as a space to congregate for a presentation. I like the feel of it because it is not too formal like a big boardroom.
Technology has allowed us to reach out even further beyond the walls of our office. It makes co-creation or co-developing even more accessible. Co -developing is when an organization reaches out to diverse groups to come up with innovative solutions and products. But getting them together in one spot might be difficult and expensive. Companies take advantage of video conferencing technologies to make collaboration online more possible and sharing ideas easier.
Collaboration is important because it gives a team an opportunity to use each member’s unique skills and expertise to collectively come up with an innovative idea or solve issues. It is a social activity that stands on trust, comfort and good relationship, just like the team at Five-O.