The most effective businesses operate like complex machines. Each department has a function and within that department are many components and cogs that work together, each interlocking and complimenting each other in perfect unison to ensure smooth operation.

Achieving this unison doesn’t come easily. The workplace is often a melting pot of personalities, backgrounds and aspirations. Getting these people to work together effectively and enhance collaboration takes exception management skills and occasionally, innovative ideas.

These are the best ways to make your small business team more collaborative and enhance cooperation and teamwork.

Create a Sense of Togetherness

Inspiring a sense of “togetherness” in your employees will help motivate them to collaborate and work together more cohesively. One way of doing this is by encouraging quarterly team innovation sessions. In these sessions, each team must submit a new and innovative idea for how to improve the product or service, a new product or service, or an update to operating practices. The best idea from the session will be implemented and the team that came up with it should be rewarded in some way.

By encouraging some healthy competition between the teams, as well as a sense of purpose and shared goal, you can increase cooperation and teamwork and strengthen the ties between coworkers. These skills will translate to other areas of the business and help provide each team with strategies for working together to overcome challenges while working within strict budgetary and resource parameters.

Streamline Processes

Regularly consulting employees on how best to streamline processes is a good way of increasing collaboration between management and the rest of the company. Encouraging staff to reach out with suggestions on everything from new coworking software, to CRM, to improving safety protocols is a great way to make employees feel valued and have their voices heard.

Encourage brainstorming within departments to collect employee feedback and suggestions as well as boosting cooperation and team working skills.

Using a collaboration portal and coworking software is also highly encouraged. These tools facilitate information sharing including, videos, documents, conference calls and video-conferences. They can also boost interdepartmental cooperation by offering a single place for all product and client information accessible to every department.

Create Meeting Spaces in the Office

The geographical layout of your office space could hamper your workers’ team working opportunities. Offices without ample meeting spaces tend to be less communicative and innovative. This is because team members spend all day working at their desks and have little opportunity for interaction.

Even a designated seating area where a handful of people can grab a coffee and make small talk could lead to the next big product idea. Ensure there is at minimum a kitchen and seating area. Better yet, have a number of relaxing and enticing spaces where team members can work, sit or chit chat in their lunch breaks.

Align Employee Interests

Showing employees how their work contributes to the company’s wider goal and vision is another good way of increasing teamwork and collaboration. If every department is working in isolation with a limited understanding of how their work compliments another department or enhances the company’s goals, they are unlikely to work well with other departments.

Provide regular opportunities for teams to visit other departments and see what other teams are working on. These sessions will give employees the opportunity to see the bigger picture and their place in it, boosting opportunities for cooperation over shared interests and goals.

Using a collaboration portal and shared inbox software is also highly encouraged.