By: Dana Manciagli
When it comes to effective office environments, following a strict chain of command doesn’t always lead to a more efficient staff. Typically, each employee in the chain of command is responsible for a particular area of the business and efficiency reigns.
However, problems most often arise when there is a lack of communication and understanding between employees and chaos ensues.
The secret behind a successful working environment, according to Jack Lowinger, CEO of Cartonomy, is communication, collaboration and time management. Here is how you can excel at each and defeat “broken office syndrome:”
1. Show equal respect and appreciation for all staff members
“It’s important to foster a sense of purpose amongst employees, ensuring that every individual at every level feels like an integral piece of the puzzle,” Lowinger said. “At the same time, it’s just as important for each employee to have a firm understanding of their role in the company, as well as the roles of others they work with.”
He notes that his firm recently conducted research that revealed how office managers, an essential yet overlooked cog in the wheel of corporate culture, frequently feel under-appreciated. Unnecessary demands and requests made by co-workers were a major contributor to this feeling, showing how many employees tend to take advantage of office decision makers.
2. Pursue smarter collaboration in the office
Companies with an esteemed workplace culture are those that put teamwork first. Google thrives on this approach. Their office environment is much less about establishing structure based on power and authority and more about the ways in which teamwork and collaborative thinking is enforced.
Lowinger shares, “For most companies, designating and delegating tasks appropriately while planning routine meetings with your teams are just a few easy ways to encourage smarter collaboration. From the C-suite to entry-level employees, it should be a company-wide goal to always understand and anticipate what your co-workers, bosses and clients need — from weekly reports to office supply orders. Collaboration ultimately drives efficiency, as it avoids issues with miscommunication, allowing for better quality of work.”
3. Improve time management
“Efficiency and collaboration revolve around having a good grasp of time management,” said Lowinger. “Making lists of your daily priorities and setting internal deadlines for all tasks should be a primary focus. Failing to prioritize and meet deadlines not only reflects poorly on an employee’s work ethic, it often hurts those around them and leads to larger issues — a domino effect, of sorts. To avoid this, consider tools that help teams set up, monitor and remind each other of tasks that need to be completed.”
Overall, the best office environments are collaborative, efficient and have a heavy focus on an open culture and winning mentality. How is your office environment performing for you?
Dana Manciagli is a career expert, speaker and consultant. She has spent more than 30 years as a Fortune 500 sales and marketing executive and is now retired after more than a decade at Microsoft. Dana is the author of the book, “Cut the Crap, Get a Job!” and a prolific blogger. She sits on the worldwide board of Junior Achievement and has her MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management.