Firstly, you need to think about whether or not your office furniture encourages team interaction. This is where most of the conversations between colleagues are likely to take place, so think about creating spaces where colleagues can share their ideas. Meeting rooms don’t need to be formal. Clusters of comfortable office chairs situated around coffee tables can be all you need to stimulate conversation and discussions, which in the long run can promote creativity and interesting ideas.
Another thing to consider is the structure of your meetings. Each department might have a meeting of its own, but how often do you arrange interdepartmental meetings? Introducing everyone to the other departments can be invaluable, as it lets everyone know what each person in the office is doing, which can lead to a more efficient use of time and a greater sense of cohesion in the office.
Office social events can be a fantastic way to get the team mixing and talking to new people. The office Christmas party, for example, is the brilliant time to introduce team members who would never otherwise have any contact in the office. Next time you organise an office social event, do something to mix people up a little. A quiz with randomly allocated teams, for example, can get new groups of people talking and bonding.
While, of course, it isn’t conducive to have everyone up and down and talking to colleagues all day, an office shouldn’t be a stuffy environment where nobody feels that they can hold a polite conversation. Ensure that any social space provided is pleasant, such as a well-equipped kitchen or a staffroom well away from the work space so that people can hold conversations without disturbing the work taking place in the office. This makes sure that all of the team feel comfortable about talking to one another, which can strengthen office friendships and make for a happier team.
Wislaw Deniaud is a creative blogger who writes about improving productivity and spirit in the workplace.