When team building is effective in the workplace it can result in performance improvements for both individuals and teams; happier, healthier and more engaged employees; an improved sense of collaboration and trust amongst employees; improved communications within and across departments and ultimately an overall upturn in company performance.
Whilst there are many ways that you can improve team building, one major factor to consider is the physical working environment. We share 10 tips on how you can enhance the office environment to improve team building in the workplace.
1. Collaboration spaces
Team building is based on understanding and working closely with colleagues, with good communication and trust being key features of a successful team. Providing plenty of varied collaboration spaces throughout the workplace creates more opportunities for teams to communicate and collaborate, and will facilitate stronger team building within your organisation.
2. Project areas
We are seeing increasing numbers of project teams being formed that consist of individuals representing a cross section of teams from across a business. These project teams are formed for the duration of the project and are disbanded once the project is completed. As these teams are often made up of people who may not have worked together before and from different areas of the business, they need to be able to get to know each other and build trust and relationships quickly. One way of facilitating this within the physical office environment is to provide dedicated project areas, where these teams can work together for the duration of the project.
3. Huddle points
Daily team huddles are highly effective at improving team performance and communication. These types of meetings are proven to be highly effective at sharing information, getting results and boosting energy. The best form of team huddle is a stand-up meeting which lasts for about 15 minutes. It’s an opportunity for everyone to share an update on their focus for the day and cite any help or support they may need. The nature of the meeting means that providing dedicating team huddle meeting spaces specifically designed for short, sharp, stand-up meetings is effective.
4. Quiet zones
Although effective team building within the workplace should encourage employees to collaborate, there is also a need for employees to be able to work alone at times. Therefore, ensuring that your office is well equipped with dedicated quiet zones or small areas and rooms where people can lock themselves away to crack on with a specific piece of work, alone, is as important as providing a range of collaborative areas throughout your office.
5. Town squares
For some companies with larger teams, such as call centres, it’s important to bring the entire team together and address them as a whole. This means that your physical office space should also cater for larger team meetings or addresses. Rather than dedicating space to a large boardroom (which often isn’t big enough anyway) or an auditorium (which is not used often enough, therefore, making t an ineffective use of valuable floor space), this can be cleverly achieved through creating a multi-functional office floor, which can be used to address larger groups. Designing collaboration zones within your main office floor that can be used for smaller groups but also converted to be used for larger group town square addresses means that you are always making best and most effective use of your real estate.
6. Tear down the walls
Physical walls can also result in virtual barriers when it comes to team building. Breaking down these barriers by physically removing walls and offices and encouraging leaders and managers to sit with their teams rather than in ivory tower offices will have a significant impact on team building within your business. You won’t end up with a completely open plan office, as the range of carefully planned and positioned collaboration spaces, project areas, quiet zones and huddle points will effectively break the office up without imposing dividing walls.
Whether your team is completely office-based, a combination of office-based, home-based and mobile workers, or has fully adopted smart or agile working practices, you will need to ensure that your office is making good and effective use of the right technology to improve communications, collaboration, and team building. Audio and video conferencing, mobile technology, and cloud communications are just some of the technologies available that can vastly improve team building within the workplace. The fundamental requirement here is ensuring that your office is fitted with the right technology and that all employees are trained to use it effectively.
8. Work, rest and play
Whilst ensuring that your office provides adequate space that is dedicated to working and collaboration, it is also just as important to provide plenty of space dedicated to relaxation, recuperation, and fun. Encouraging your employees to take regular breaks by providing areas specifically for eating, well-being, and having fun is essential to balance out the working zones within your office.
9. Air quality and natural light
Employees working in offices with good air quality are likely to be more productive. This is because good air quality improves performance, attention and overall well-being. Ensuring that the air filtration system within your office is performing well and that there is a good natural light are important factors in improving team well-being and performance. Bringing the outside in through incorporating biophilia and elements of nature into the design of your workspace is also proven to improve individual and team performance.
Looking after your employees’ overall sense of well-being will positively impact on team building and performance. Issues within a team, if not addressed, can lead to stress, anxiety, and reduced performance, so allocating space dedicated to employee well-being is important. Such spaces can take the shape of a well-being centre but if budgets or space do not allow for this, then doubling up space and providing company-wide well-being programmes is a good way to continually invest in improving overall employee well-being and performance.
Having effective and productive teams within your organisation will undoubtedly improve overall company performance and bottom line figures, so it’s well worth taking a good look at the many ways in which you can enhance and improve the team building efforts within your organisation. The physical office is a fundamental consideration here and can have a profound impact on how your employees collaborate and work effectively as a team.
If you’re looking to improve your team building within your workplace, we welcome you to contact us to discuss how your office design can positively impact your team building results.
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