Teamwork is an essential part of every well-run office environment. And good teamwork creates synergy, a term often heard in the workplace these days. But what exactly is it? Simply put, synergy is the work produced by a team or group that is greater than the output any one individual would have created alone. (Think, for example, a particularly successful brainstorming session.)
Needless to say, synergy is highly desirable in an office setting. But it doesn’t just happen when two or more employees are asked to work together. In fact, the opposite – a disjointed product that sounds and feels like the work of multiple people who didn’t work well together – often results instead.
So how can managers ensure their staff is working synergistically, and not just on the same project? And what can employees do to maximize their time with one another in order to create synergy and ultimately be more successful during group undertakings?
As the leader in shared, virtual and temporary office space in the Washington, D.C., area, we at Metro Offices have seen firsthand some excellent examples of synergy in our 25-plus years in the business. Here, we share a few tips for creating synergy in your workplace.
Communicate – clearly
This one may seem obvious, but scratch the surface of many disagreements and tense workplace scenarios and very often you will find a miscommunication between two or more people. It’s the job of a manager to, when assigning a specific task to a pairing or group, to clearly, succinctly and as simply as possible set expectations for the task at hand. He or she must explain what is expected and then follow up with both or all members of the team created to make sure everyone understands the project goals the same way. Don't worry that this will be taken as patronizing. Chances are someone misunderstands or two people have different objectives in mind. You’ll be doing everyone a favor by clarifying up-front.
Employees can use this same advice. Put on a team by a manager? Ask the person or people you’ve been paired up with what they think the purpose and goals of the project are. You may be surprised at how different everyone’s responses are. Take the opportunity to clarify with your manager so you don’t waste precious time. Your work will reflect the effort.
Mix it up
As a manager, you may be tempted to put your star performers together on every project that comes your way. But combining multiple type-A personalities may not get you the synergy you were hoping for. Instead, it could create a competitive, tense environment that produces subpar results. Remember that diversity of work style, talent, and other professional strengths can all breed creativity. And often that can lead to synergy.
As an employee who may be paired with someone whose approach or personality differs starkly from your own, try to view the opportunity as a chance to get help with work that may not be your natural strong suit. It may well be theirs.
Get the environment right
No matter how in-sync its members or how diverse its talent, a project group that’s not in a comfortable, pleasant environment isn’t going to work as synergistically as possible. As a manager, be flexible about where your team works. Would they prefer a ‘huddle room’ or is a traditional conference room needed? Let them work in the space that provides the amenities needed in order for the group to feel comfortable and inspired.
Don’t have any of that? We do. Metro Offices has plans and D.C. locations to suit everyone’s business needs. Do your team members need 30 minutes or an hour of alone time? They can work out at one of our location’s state-of-the-art, in-building fitness facilities. Or grab a bite to eat on-site or at one of the many food trucks that visit our sites daily.
And employees who have been assigned to a group project, don't shackle yourselves to your desks. Working that way won’t make you feel like you’re on a team. Once you’ve cleared it with your supervisor, suggest grabbing coffee at a nearby café and heading back to a Metro Offices meeting room to brainstorm. It could be a great way to shake the cobwebs out and make the most of the various strengths in your group.
Looking for great shared, temporary or virtual office space in D.C., Maryland or Northern Virginia? With multiple sought-after, amenity-rich spots in each, Metro Offices is sure to have your needs covered. See our locations here.