Few things weigh on a leader’s mind as heavily as ensuring the cohesion of his or her team. On a daily basis, executives and managers must confront hard questions about their staff: Is communication flowing well to every individual? Are office politics and vested interests marginalizing talent? Does bureaucracy or imbalanced department size make equitable collaboration impossible? What dynamics will maximize the value of every employee?
Each year, businesses spend billions of dollars trying to motivate their team. Through company outings, incentive programs, office competitions and the like, businesses large and small do almost everything imaginable to build an all-star team. What many of these companies miss, however, is that their physical office environment is working against their best efforts.
Below are just a few ways that your office might be sabotaging your team and some surefire solutions to each of these problems:
Make room for communication
Some offices face the challenge of being too fragmented or isolated. People who need to communicate regularly are physically far apart. Rather than bringing people together to collaborate on a task, the office is designed in such a way as to actually prevent a team from relaying important information in a timely manner.
To combat this, think about which members of the team need to work together. Put them in an open or shared environment where individuals can quickly turn to each other for ideas, feedback or assistance.
Add features like sit-stand desks to make the area adaptable and versatile. Make sure there are screens to share information to numerous individuals. Create a concrete path for your team to take shape. Make sure everyone is on the same page.
Allow for private space as well
On the other side of the spectrum, some companies have the opposite problem of having no privacy. Perhaps the entire team is squeezed into one small space. Or maybe just a couple of departments are forced one area, creating needless distractions or making employees reserved about voicing certain important information. It also could be that the office is so quiet that people don’t want to speak up for fear that everyone else will hear them.
While collaboration is a necessary tool, it’s not a cure-all. It is also necessary to create private areas, especially for different departments.
While this might not always be possible in smaller environments, adding doors or even some light background music will give cover for folks to relay information. Creating soundproof conference rooms or adaptable café areas will also provide space purposed for sharing important information or preparing for an important launch.
Don’t stifle creativity
Even when offices strike the perfect balance of shared and private space, they still do nothing to inspire the imagination. For folks who spend more than eight hours in one confined area, they need some invigorating stimuli to keep motivated. Don’t let your creative staff drown in mundane monotony!
Beyond the aforementioned music, there are many other ways that you can make your office more creative. Bright colors, unique furniture, uplifting artwork and interesting plants can all be sources of inspiration for your team.
Also provide tools to share and visualize concepts, like whiteboards or dry-erase glass. Use lighting to give your office a cool look. Make sure that everything in your office facilitates rather than stifles creativity.
It is true that office design by itself is not the solitary reason teams are either well-oiled machines or dysfunctional disasters. Certainly there should be time for getting feedback from different departments, company picnics and games around the office. But, at the same time, no structure is solid without a good foundation. Lay the foundation for your team by creating an environment that will get the most out of every member of your team.
For more information, contact Infinity Group via 860-726-9384 or firstname.lastname@example.org