Rally the Team: How to Create a Cool Office Culture
So, you’re a young and an ambitious team leader who is focused on getting positive feedback from the seniors in your company.
You are probably well aware that the performance and efficiency of your team are among the most important things in achieving the goals of your company.
However, it’s not up to you as you may very well know by now.
Most of it depends on the productivity of your team, and the overall productivity comes from the overall motivation and the satisfaction of your colleagues.
Boosting morale, and knowing how to motivate your employees is essential to any true team leader.
This may sound a little bit shabby or insignificant, but having a manager that can create a positive office culture, and turn a boring office ambient into a vibrant, cheerful and dynamic place is truly priceless for both the team and the company.
Office culture is something of great importance.
While a lot of you are maybe thinking that high salary, all sorts of annual benefits and respect from your superiors are the most important factors when it comes to the happiness of an employee, the culture is the main reason why certain collective or individual is feeling satisfied it their daily routine.
Fortunately, there are some tips which can boost your team spirit sky high and lay down the foundation of awesome office culture.
Those tips are the core values of some of the most notable worldwide corporations such as Google.
According to Fortune magazine, it has been the best company to work for six years in a row.
Now, let’s get to business, here are the long-awaited team building commandments that every young and upcoming team leader is searching for:
BE PROFESSIONAL, BUT ALSO BE A HUMAN BEING WHEN COMMUNICATING WITH YOUR EMPLOYEES
Every company has its own set of goals, a hierarchy and maybe a strict policy in achieving those goals.
However, no one will blame you if you bend those rules a little bit so that your team may provide great results. That’s something you should always be aware of.
A strictly formal relationship between you and your team is probably not the most recommendable way of communication.
Expressing your emotions and revealing your personal goals or company’s goals is a way of bonding with your team and building a mutual aspiration towards the same goal.
Whether you take your team to lunch, dinner, or maybe just for a drink at their favorite bar, the idea is the same, talk to them honestly, openly, ask the right questions, and don’t be afraid to sometimes venture beyond the lines of a strict professional correspondence.
We’re not talking anything too drastic here, but it won’t kill anyone to have a casual Friday every now and then.
We’re not just talking clothes and loosening up with the whole tie, tuxedo and the boring and surpassed attire.
We’re talking getting casual in terms of communication.
That doesn’t mean that you won’t maintain responsibility and precision when you’re working, but it means that you’ll come to grasp the more subjective side of each and every one of your employees.
When you, as a manager, show an inclination towards perceiving your colleagues as a team or maybe even as friends, they will connect with each other in a similar manner as well.
Concept of not mixing business and friendship has its basis in common sense, but it’s not sensible to stick to it like an unbreakable rule or something.
It’s more of a guideline or an elementary suggestion, but you should abide by it only until you’ve mastered discipline and some professional skills. Then you’re free to bend the rule.
It’s an outdated way of perceiving employees and managers as mere cogs in the machinery.
We are all human and pretending to be anything less or more than that may very well become detrimental for yourself as an individual, but also for the whole team and consequently for the whole company.
Without communication, we wouldn’t be able to survive this long as species.
The ability to communicate is one of the main things that separate us from animals.
Having said that, one should note that communication always goes both ways and the listener and the speaker should change roles every now and then.
In relation to that, try to understand your co-workers and see if you can relate to their aspirations. Keep in mind though that it won’t be easy to satisfy everyone, so don’t even try.
However, what you should try is to to find a fundamental value that connects all of you and implement it so that value becomes what the whole collective enhances through your daily routine.
That something that you all share may very well become your common ground and the glue that holds the team together, no matter how silly it can be.
Perhaps you all like to watch football or sing karaoke, it doesn’t mind.
Listen to everyone, be patient, and let everyone share their own opinions on what they think is the best way to succeed and obtain your goals.
Then, when you hear all of them, make your own suggestion on what you think is the best way to handle the assignment.
Eventually, both you and your team will come to mutual recognition and conclusion of what should be your essential values.
After that conclusion, be humorous and spontaneous because nobody likes stiff and inflexible bosses.
The whole point about this way of developing a relationship with your employees is gaining trust among each other, setting essential principals, and creating synergy.
Even if some unforeseen event occurs from time to time, your team will provide support because they know that you, as a manager, will always tend to cover for them as well. You will know that you can have someone to lean on and overcome all those problems and they will know it and cherish it too.
If you treat members of your team as one of your own, one thing is inevitable. Your bond as a team will flourish so much, that it will almost become your family.
When you get to this point, that your team has a family-like structure, know for sure that you are on the path of enormous progression and improvement. Remember the good old saying. „Family comes first.“
There are examples of companies that have a strong family-like office culture and bond between employees all over.
According to the interview between Knowledge@Wharton, from the the Wharton University of Pennsylvania and Bob Chapman, CEO of Barry-Wehmiller Companies, a global supplier of manufacturing technology and services, whose annual revenue is about $2.4 billion „Family is the one place you ought to feel safe and valued.“
By this, he basically means that you should treat your employees as one of your own.
Because, just as one family has its own goals and constantly deals with everyday obstacles and struggles, if that family is strong and firm, it can endure anything.
The same goes for the company.
So don’t be afraid of bonding with your team.
Bonding can only strengthen your relationship with the team and lead it to mutual prosperity.
THE OFFICE CAN BE A PLACE OF YOUR OWN REFLECTION; EMPLOY ART AND GAMING
Usually, when somebody mentions office, probably the first thing that struck your mind is some grey and pale space with only desks and computers, papers scattered all over the place, and some bossy manager that gets on everybody’s nerve. Well, maybe you are right.
But you shouldn’t think that’s always the case.
Your working place can also be a place of your own reflection.
Whether you have some artistic tendencies or not, you should at least decorate your office the way you like it.
And, as a manager, you should let your employees do the same thing.
Considering that probably most of the day people spend their time at work, this matter gets more serious.
Depending on what you do, working in the office can sometimes get pretty exhausting and downright dull. So, you need some type of distraction and amusement from time to time.
When that time comes, rally the team, and just have some fun for a change.
There is a variety of stuff you can do or suggest to your colleagues.
But firstly, you can start by decorating your workplace.
Decorate your workplace with objects or items of your personal choice.
You can even assemble every one from the team and discuss how you should redecorate your office.
By doing so, brainstorming the ideas of how to redo it and getting an agreement is a process that will connect the people who are sharing their space.
Just like when you are renovating home with your family.
Release your inner creativity and let it flow when it comes to this matter.
Be able to hear your employees opinions and doing so, convey the message that they’re not just passive subordinates.
They matter. Transform the boring office into a place where all of you hard-working people are going to feel comfortable and important as well.
Also, you can come up with some games, or some form of competition.
Buy a dartboard and create a tournament. The one who end’s up the last on the leaderboard buys everyone a lunch that day. Indulge yourself, and take a break from a long hard day once in a while.
This type of liberty will surely improve your office culture and make your employees much more pleased.
It can also help you to motivate your team and enable the individuals to convey their character and feelings. It is as simple as that, the more the employees are happy, the productivity is greater.
Probably the perfect example of this type of company’s policy is Goggle once again. Their behavior towards their personnel is the archetype of efficiency mixed with a carefree and laid-back attitude.
Basically, it is one of the companies with the most satisfied employees.
For the company that has more than 85 thousand people working under their name worldwide, 86% of them says they are absolutely pleased with their jobs.
Well, ain’t that a good ratio?
You can learn a lot from their examples.
They have provided their employees with all sorts of free time activities and benefits.
From a variety of sport’s activities to free lunch and snacks, guitar lessons, free massage, cooking lessons, places where you can play video games.
Well, basically everything that can come to your mind. And also ambient in the offices is warm and it makes you feel comfortable and enjoyable.
Well, who wouldn’t enjoy that?
But unfortunately, not every company has the means and funds to provide this kind of pleasure.
Even so, that doesn’t mean you can’t make your office a pleasant place.
Remember that people are those who create an entertaining and vibrant atmosphere.
So get ready, release your inner flows of creativity and make your office a place you wouldn’t mind to go to every day.
OUTDOOR RALLYING OF THE TEAM
Well, we all know by now that the daily indoor office activities are important.
Most of the time you are inside the office and you are constantly trying to improve your office culture, and that is reasonable and legit.
But that’s exactly the reason why you should also focus on outdoor activities with your team.
Office culture is created both in the office and the outside of it.
You build your relationships outside and bring them in.
That’s how it works.
Who doesn’t like a breath of fresh air from time to time?
If you truly want your team to work as a whole, and develop a more personal relationship, then you must include group day trips in that, especially when you have so many options for this type of bonding.
This time, it is better to get physically active.
Forget a bit about the often stressful and exhausting working day inside the office, and enjoy your free time with your colleagues.
There can hardly be a better way of reducing pressure and tension that is always accumulating while working.
It is also probably the best way of achieving a friendly relationship with one another.
And a team of friends can manage everything.
Now you as a captain of a team, don’t need to rush anything or be the one who decides where this outing is going to happen.
Perhaps the best solution is to get some of your members to decide where are all of you going to go, once a month at least.
Like this, everyone will be treated equally, and there are no excuses if someone doesn’t like the activity that the team is engaging.
Their turn for choosing will come soon enough, so they can get their sweet revenge next time. A strong sense of mutual understanding is also a virtue that can arouse by doing so.
By having a good time, you can also see some other traits that your collective possesses. Acknowledging that, you will get to know your team better.
Therefore you will know how to solidify your relationship with each member of the team, and they will certainly acknowledge you.
You’ll all come to know each other’s weaknesses and strengths which is priceless in terms of you working together.
We can go on and on about the advantages and benefits of this way of connecting with your colleagues. There are just so many.
Maybe you are getting a hard time now, and brainstorming the ideas of the ideal outdoor activity with your team.
But, luckily there are tons of team building activities that the other companies are already practicing.
With a little bit of guidance, surely you will make your outing a delightful experience for your team. So hop on, and make off day a trip to remember.
SPORTS AND GAMING
You don’t need to be an adrenaline junkie to be practicing these kinds of sports. Surely, some of your workers would even be against this way of recreation.
Maybe some of them would be afraid. But really, they shouldn’t be.
Who doesn’t like a little bit of action from time to time? Let the adrenaline rush through your veins and embrace it. There is nothing bad about it.
The only thing you are going to lose is maybe some weight.
Rafting, for instance, is a phenomenal extreme team sport. Not only it is good for your health and activates almost every muscle in your body.
It is a rough sport, where your group must operate as a team in order to avoid obstacles that Mother Nature is making your face.
You endure all of these hardships and overcome your fears by sheer determination to succeed together.
Probably you wouldn’t even notice at first, but overexcitement coming from struggle and eventual success of taming the power of nature will form an unbreakable bond between you and your team.
Paintball can be an incredible game will help you develop both as a team and individually on so many levels.
This strategic, combative, and most of all entertaining shooting sport game is going to rock your socks off. And the best part about it is that is pretty safe (if you keep your equipment on at all times).
At first, probably because of adrenaline, you will go on the rampage mode and get shot very easily. But you will soon find out that you must work as a team in order to win and survive.
Sweating, running, shooting, watching each other’s back, making up tactics in order to win against your common enemy, that was only yesterday your mate at work.
Well, it can’t be more stress revealing, interesting and enjoyable than that. Basically, like a child’s game for grown-ups.
“Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress, working together is a success,” said Henry Ford.
While team-management improved a lot since his time, it still upholds this saying which is still the essence of solving games collectively.
Of course, you want your employees to stay sharp-minded and have a creative approach to solving problems.
The escape room is a place where you should go and have fun. Let’s put your intellectual abilities to the test right now.
This is a live-action game in which your team must work cooperatively.
Your job is to find specific clues, solve various tasks and fulfill them in order to complete the final goal in a certain amount of time.
Sounds complicated, well it is, but that’s what it should be, or there would be no point in playing it.
You will be surprised by how much you will get to know your coworkers.
By doing something meaningful as this, and improving your relationship with each other as a collective, there is no way that you won’t bring some of those good vibrations to the office to.
We’ve provided a short questionnaire so that you could check if you need to give some thought to rallying your team, or if it’s as rallied as it gets:
- Did the majority of your employees/coworkers show any signs of anxiety in the past few months?
- Did your co-workers get into a quarrel in the past few months more than usual?
- Is the atmosphere in the office getting dull?
- Make an anonymous survey. Is the rate of job-satisfaction in your office lower than 80%?
- Are your colleagues more prone to individual work than teamwork?
If 3 or more of your answers are positive than you should consider rallying that team and enhancing office culture ASAP.
Creating a pleasant and cool office culture is not something that is easily achievable.
Just as any form of culture, to make some contribution to it, one person is not enough to make it possible.
But nothing is impossible, so do not despair if you can’t relate to this article, just try to learn something from it.
Use some of the advice brought up here.
You don’t necessarily need to follow those instructions literally but look to them as some form of directions.
As a manager, not only you have to satisfy the company’s needs.
Every member of the firm, including your own team members, are the most valuable asset’s that your company possesses.
Try to treat your employees like your superiors.
Make them feel special and irreplaceable.
Share your ideas with them, and also enable them to express their own. Evolve and grow with each other. Isn’t that the most important thing?
Form a tradition among each other. Provide with whatever you think will make your team members feel joyful.
Whether it is ordering Chinese food on Thursdays, playing basketball on Sundays, or going to a local bar on Friday nights, try to cherish every moment that you spend with your fellow teammates.
Culture is only obtainable through collective engagement, will to bond with one another and mutual aspirations for the better cause of everyone.