It’s a known fact that we human beings are social creatures. As a general rule, we do much better in work and in life when we feel connected to others. Office life can pose unique challenges when it comes to creating teamwork and collaboration among many individuals, each with specialized roles. Below are a few ideas on how to create a healthier, more collaborative, and ultimately, more successful organization. Try these tips for workplace collaboration.

1. Host Power Outages

Pat Lencioni, founder of The Table Group, a consulting firm that helps companies with leadership, teamwork and organizational health, wrote a fascinating post on “The Blessing of a Power Outage.” Basically, he states that by experiencing moments when we are not “plugged in” to our devices, we are forced to actually speak face-to-face with our coworkers and team leaders. This brings us out of our solitary mode of work and allows us to open ourselves up to the collaboration and creativity that come about when we share ideas with others.

Try implementing a mock power outage at your office and see what new ideas spring forth. Lencioni recommends hosting one every day for an hour or two, but even having one on a certain day every week will likely yield benefits you may never have foreseen.

2. Host Healthy Meetings

While office meetings can get a bad rap for being unproductive, time-consuming, and well…boring, they really are an important part of keeping your organization healthy and keeping your team working together in a collaborative way. Lencioni says that company meetings should have “clarity, focus and intense interaction.” He calls them the “linchpin” of your company’s health, and recommends that they be
powerful examples of “teamwork, clarity and communication” in your organization.

If team meetings haven’t been a high priority in your organization, work to host them more often. If you already have meetings, but they aren’t yielding the results you desire, work to make them more engaging so that each member of your team feels they have a voice at the table.

3. Encourage Office Chatter

Although this sounds counter-productive, encouraging your team members to chat it up over the water cooler, coffee station, over lunch, or just throughout the day, can actually boost their job performance. A Q&A by Gallup sheds light on just why that may be the case. Dr. Alex Pentland, Ph.D., Toshiba Professor of Media, Arts, and Sciences at MIT, says, “What you’re learning implicitly and tacitly from chatting is how to manage your life in job situations. Part of that is about actual job issues, but a lot of it is about your attitude toward the job and your attitude toward other people.” Chatting, as it turns out, whether it’s about work or our lives outside of work, yields a plethora of benefits. It builds relationships with coworkers. It helps us feel more connected and satisfied with our jobs. It helps us figure out and navigate the terrain of office life, which can sometimes be a tricky thing to do. It can help boost creativity and solve problems, because brainstorming can happen at any time, even in the middle of a conversation about something unrelated. So instead of thinking that your team is wasting time by chatting, encourage some lively interaction.

4. Embrace Social Media

It’s a fact of today’s business climate that social media can play a big role in how your team members communicate with each other. From connecting with remote workers, contractors, offices around the country, and around the world, sometimes it just isn’t possible for face-to-face interaction to occur on a frequent basis. In these cases, having a social media platform where your employees can communicate and
collaborate can be a huge benefit to your organization. For example, Terryberry’s Give a WOW peer-to-peer recognition platform helps foster great collaboration among your team members. It allows them to recognize each other for great work, and helps create a sense of community and teamwork.

5. Act Like a Coach

Sports analogies are great when it comes to teamwork and collaboration. The great football coach Vince Lombardi has said, “Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” If you can bring all of the individual members of your team together and get them thinking like they’re all working towards winning a prized goal, what you’ll
have is a winning team, and a winning company. Like a magnificent, intricate machine with many individual components, your team will have the power to achieve far more than they could ever have achieved alone. In order to do this, you have to communicate your company’s goals clearly enough so that everyone understands them and gets on board.  Terryberry’s Organizational Communication tool is a great resource to help with this.  You also have to foster a sense of teamwork by following some of the examples listed above, and by being willing to be the coach who brings everyone together and leads them towards your shared goals.

Encouraging more collaboration and teamwork among your employees can be an exciting venture to undertake, and it can have the power to yield amazing benefits in your organization.