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As a business, improving your working environment can help you increase employee productivity and staff retention. Everyone likes to work in a space that feels collaborative and welcoming. Here are seven steps to follow if you’re a business owner looking to get the most from your staff and a run a business in the spirit of collaboration, not delegation.

Step One: Decide What having a more collaborative business could do for you

In the decision to encourage a more tight-knit working environment, you will need to be clear on your desired outcomes and establish how these goals will be measured and tracked. For instance, are you hoping your efforts will bring;

● Increased sales?
● New ideas for products/services your business could develop?
● A productive working environment for your team?

In identifying your reasons and ‘checkpoints’ for success, you will be able to test effective leadership styles and methods for putting your plans into action.

Step Two: Create a Positive Atmosphere Amongst your Team Members

Co-working spaces become inspiring and ultra-productive ‘hubs’ when they create a unique atmosphere within the space and amongst team members. If you want your team to feel motivated, make efforts to actively listen to their suggestions for improvements. Following through on the best ideas will help your team to feel appreciated, as they know that should further improvements need to be made in the future, they have someone to go to who will, at the very least, hear them out.

Step Three: Be Transparent In Everything You Do

Transparency builds trust amongst employees and customers alike. No one likes to be ‘kept in the dark’ on certain pieces of information, just because the boss has decided that the intel should be shared on a strictly ‘need to know’ basis. In some instances this attitude may be appropriate, however, in your day-to-day business runnings, making everyone clear on every individual’s role within the company can ensure that everyone is playing to their strengths at all times.

Step Four: Automate Wherever Possible

Conducting repetitive daily tasks, like record-keeping, can be time-consuming and demotivating for team members, who would rather be concentrating on their core career competencies. Eliminating certain tasks with automated programs like ReceiptBank can reduce hundreds of hours of wasted time and prevent the occurrence of ‘human errors,’ that can start to negatively affect your profitability and team stress levels.

Step Five: Allow For Flexibility

Working spaces that foster the best atmosphere for collaboration are more often than not open-plan spaces, where employees have the opportunity to bump into each other and share ideas and best practices with other members of the team. By renting an office space that is open and filled with light, rather than cordoned off into little cubicles, you can encourage more positive interactions. (And yes, lighting does impact productivity). Open spaces mean your employees will be better able to act on their human instinct to come together and work as a ‘pack’ (cohesive team).

Step Six: Create a Collaborative Online Environment With Smart Tools

Whether you’re considering how to start an online store and manage customer orders, or trying to coordinate social media strategy with your outsourced workers, creating a centralised online communications hub will be a reliable means for internal communications, rather than relying on email or instant messaging. With services which offer features like collaborative online working environments, your entire team will know exactly what needs to be done (re their duties), as well as providing everyone with an overview of the entire supply or service processes.

Step Seven: Test and Analyse Feedback Data To Make Further Improvements
Once you have begun making efforts to make your business more collaborative, you should test to see if your plans have generated success in the right areas. Set up your data analytics to start testing your new collaborative environment from Day One. Compare things like the time it takes for your team to complete tasks, before and after, or track how many actionable ideas your team has come up with since you set out to create a better atmosphere within your operations.

Creating a positive working environment starts with encouraging collaboration. The more your team comes together to work as a whole, the easier it will be for your business to adapt and expand to new circumstances.

victoria greenVictoria Greene is a branding and ecommerce expert who loves to help businesses grow and build positive working environments. She’s also a freelance writer and runs her own blog at victoriaecommerce.