By Aurora McCausland
There are a lot of reasons to want more unity in your office. Whether you’ve experienced issues between members of your team that need to be repaired, or if you just feel like your team would benefit from feeling more connected and getting to know each other better, there’s never a wrong reason for wanting to build better office unity. Here are a few tips to help you achieve better office unity!
Create a team building environment
You could do hundreds of team building exercises and dedicate enormous amounts of time to bring your team together, and it wouldn’t be as effective as it could(or should) be, if you don’t have an environment that cultivates togetherness. To be really effective as a team, you should have an office environment that inspires collaborative attitudes and open dialogue. Depending on the size and type of team you have, as well as the office space you have available to you, this space may vary to cater to your needs. Instead of having cubicles and partitions separating your team members, try an open floor plan with desks side by side. You can still separate your team by departments, and have groupings of desks together. But by eliminating the walls, you’re eliminating hesitation and inviting great relationships to become a part of your team. Read more about office design tips here.
Team building exercises
Now that you have an office space that promotes a great team energy, you’re ready to add some team building exercises to take advantage of that new energy present. A team building exercise doesn’t have to be going on a weekend retreat or taking your team to a ropes course to learn to trust each other(although those sorts of exercises definitely have their place). One of the best ways to bring your team together, is by having them collaborate on projects, and by having fun. Try having a brainstorming session or word activity during your next team meeting, and then take the team out to get shakes afterwards. Try make a part of your meeting a game. Another great idea, is to have a weekly lunch, where the entire team gets together to eat. This can be a catered lunch, or it can be a more casual lunch experience, where everyone brings their own lunches but eat at a community table together. The conversation during these lunches should be lighthearted and not business related, so your team has the opportunity to connect with one another.
Maintain good relationships
To have an effective team, you need not only team members that get along, but you’ll also need to strive to have positive relationships with each member of your team as well as the team as a whole. There is a lot that goes into cultivating good relationships with your team. Something that is important in this aspect, is to have open dialogue with your team on a regular basis. You want to be an approachable coworker, even if you’re their supervisor. This means not only having fun during team building exercises and making sure that there are times during the work day that aren’t strictly dedicated to work, but it also means making sure that you take care of your employees. If they feel unfairly treated, in any manner, you’ll have a hard time maintaining good relationships. Listen to their concerns and try to implement good changes, if possible, when an issue is brought to your attention. And even if you can’t fulfill a request, make sure that they know they’ve been heard and that you appreciate their opinions. Make the most of opportunities to give your employees benefits that they might not be able to manage by themselves, but that you can offer at a great group rate, such as comprehensive insurance that will help them stay healthy and focused. Don’t just do the baseline requirements; give them reason to know that you’re looking out for them, whether that’s through a fitness program, or with insurance that includes things like addiction recovery and alternative health treatments.
Be a leader, not a manager
Being a leader, and being the boss, are two very different roles, and you definitely want to make sure that you are the former of the two. You may be in charge of keeping the office running, but you want your employees to feel equal to you. They will look up to you because you know how to handle problems, and you don’t delegate away all of the hard tasks you don’t want to do. Being a leader means that you are a part of the team, rather than just in charge of it.