Top companies are continuously looking for ways to streamline interoffice communications and improve collaboration in order to promote increased productivity. Collaboration allows a single entity (your business) to aggregate the best skills and offerings from each member of the team.

If you’re looking for ways to improve collaboration within your company, consider the following tools and habits that will inspire cooperation and streamline business interactions.

It takes time and money to improve collaborative efforts, especially on a global scale. However, if your collaborative efforts are successful, you’ll find your company poised to produce better products, offer innovative services, and improve profitability.

Consider Your Office Layout

Consider the design and layout of your current office. Is it conducive to teamwork, while still allowing privacy that individual projects might require? For a decade or so, companies took part in a massive shift towards open-concept offices, but this isn’t necessarily applicable for every industry.

It’s important to offer a balance between collaborative spaces and private work spaces. Too much collaboration can be counterproductive, so making the most of your employees’ time spent together is paramount.

It’s also important to provide private spaces for smaller groups working on singular projects that don’t involve other employees. Allowing this privacy can be conducive to powerful creativity and thought-provoking conversation, without the distraction of other tasks.

Video Conferencing

Video conferencing has become more popular as time has gone on, and this can serve as an excellent collaborative tool for companies that have employees across the globe.

As trends have led to more employees working remotely, the screen-sharing capabilities and instant connection provided by video-conferencing software can be invaluable to business practices. This allows for improved real-time collaboration, regardless of where you are in the world.

Project Tracking

If you’re doing any sort of software development, you simply can’t forgo ALM software. Companies in all industries have been increasing their annual spend on collaborative software tools, and for good reason. This technology can help you supervise any application from infancy until the day it’s shelved (depending on your business plans).

The right system can track the work of outsourced developers, offer tools for automated testing, and help better monitor progression of any given project. Updates can be viewed in real time, and bugs and issues are fixed as quickly as they’re noticed, cutting down on project time and expenses.

Practice Transparency

Promoting open communication between managers and employees is integral to improved collaboration. Start slowly with an open door policy; you may have employees with innovative ideas, but how will you ever hear them if they’re uncomfortable coming to you?

Encourage anyone in the company to come in and discuss business thoughts when your door is open. This will help you stay attuned to the inner workings of the company, and encourage your employees to continuously innovate and consider the ways your business might improve.

Transparency is also about sharing business successes—and failures. Let employees in on the numbers. Open up conversation when the company is excelling, and discuss with employees when the company is underperforming. This will encourage employee involvement in company goals and help individuals feel more included in the whole, which can motivate and inspire.

Enterprise Social Networks

We’re in the age of social media, and while you likely have a profile on LinkedIn and Facebook, have you ever considered enterprise social networking?

An organization’s use of social media for internal and external purposes can help connect various departments within your company, provide streamlined access to company resources, and improve instant communication. Check out an enterprise social media platform like Yammer and share files, work together in groups, and converse with anyone in the company at any time.

Improving collaboration within your business can result in a variety of benefits. Implement these tools and strategies and consider the advantages you’re afforded—and the increased level of productivity and output you’ll enjoy.

Article by Kate Anderson: I’m Kate, an organization expert, and I would love to help you live your best, and most organized life. When I first became interested in organization I never could have imagined  all the ways it would improve my life, and I want you to have that experience, too. I started my website, Kate’s Organized Life, and began writing to share my tips on decluttering, organizing, and planning to help other people tackle the task of organizing their lives and setting themselves up for success.

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