Improved teamwork in the office

It's said that many hands make light work, but in practice, this is only really true if those hands know how to work together as a team. When they don't, blithely throwing more people at a task may ultimately reduce the efficiency with which that task is completed.

If, as a business owner, you're finding that your staff aren't yet 'clicking' as a team, here are a few quick tips to help you improve this situation:

  • Encourage communication. In the modern office, workers often sit at their desks wearing headphones, effectively shutting out everything and everyone around them. While music often helps people to concentrate on the job at hand, you may find that your employees work more effectively as a team when they take their headphones off and actually speak to one another. Teamwork involves communication - it's rarely just a case of dividing up the work and getting on with it individually.

  • Make sure everyone knows their role. Every member of a team should have a unique role to play in the work that is to be done. Instead of simply setting several people a task and telling them to sort it out between themselves, begin by sitting everyone down and ensuring that everyone understands what they are supposed to be bringing to the table.

  • Maintain an open dialogue and listen to complaints/concerns. It usually takes time for a group of people to gel as a team, so make sure that you're doing whatever you can to help during this process. Check in with your team regularly to ensure that everything is running smoothly, and speak to each individual on a regular basis, listening carefully to any issues they raise. If the team feel that one member isn't pulling his weight, or that another member is trying to micro-manage everybody else's contributions, then you can fix these problems through clear and honest communication.

NPT Management Systems are a team of expert ISO consultants based in the South of England.