Anyone who’s ever worked in an office setting knows how overwhelming it can sometimes be; there’s office politics, difficult personalities, and deadlines, among other stressful elements. Teamwork is considered a pillar of corporate culture, but sometimes working together efficiently at the office can feel like an assignment of its own.

Have you seen The Office?…Who hasn’t! Whether you watch the British or American version of the show doesn’t matter; the dysfunction remains the same in both series. So what is the likelihood of encountering difficult personalities in the office much of the way it occurs in those TV programs? It’s probably not that far-fetched in most cases. Can you imagine having a boss as inappropriate and inept as David Brent (Michael Scott) or a co-worker as irritating and bizarre as Gareth Keenan (Dwight Schrute)? It seems as if being efficient and productive are the last things on their mind.

The Office makes for good television, but the chances of a company branch like that surviving in the real world are slim to none. Even if your office currently runs smoothly, something can always be done to increase productivity; that’s why these tips will be useful to everyone. So now, without further ado, here are four tips for working together more efficient at the office:

1. Web Conferencing
Utilizing web conferencing in your office has countless benefits, but the most important is its ability to help people work together more efficiently at the office. Thanks to new technology, web conferencing goes well beyond the conference calls of years past. Now, offices can setup meetings with employees or clients quickly and easily, share desktops, and create online presentations that can be sent to one or many. Essentially, web conferencing allows employees to collaborate on a project without actually having to physically be in a room with one another and in a busy world where some colleagues are on a business trip, some telecommute, and others are at a meeting, web conferencing can prove to be invaluable to an office in need of efficiency.

Huddle actually offers free web conferencing now, along with a multitude of other communication collaboration and project management tools sure to get your colleagues working together more efficiently at the office. Huddle’s web conferencing is even fully integrated into Huddle meetings, which now allows you to set up meetings, schedule events, and share your desktop with your colleagues. Conferencing minutes are included in a monthly package or can be upgraded to unlimited conferencing and multiple concurrent rooms for the lowest price available anywhere. This is tip number one because frankly, if web conferencing doesn’t get your office on track to working efficiently nothing will.

2. Emphasize Group Recognition
If you want the office working together more efficiently, one of the best ways to do that is by emphasizing group recognition. After all, everyone contributes to the office in their own important way and by including them, you’re illustrating to everyone that you understand the importance of each individual and how each and every employee contributes not only to their specific “team” or department, but to the entire office’s progress and efficiency.

The best way to emphasize group recognition is by giving the various segments of the office a task they must complete efficiently and if done well, they’ll receive some kind of reward. For example, break the sales department into teams of three or four and depending on which team gets the highest sales figures for the month, they’ll be rewarded with an extra 30 minutes at lunch, gift cards, or a catered lunch. The reward doesn’t have to be expensive or elaborate; it simply has to get the office motivated to work together to be more efficient. Keep in mind that switching up the teams regularly is a crucial element to this tips success.
This will help illustrate to the employees that each of their co-workers is a teammate. It will also ensure that no one grows resentful for being lumped in with a team not performing well at the task at hand.

3. Alleviate Any Tension
One of the biggest hindrances to the Scranton branch working efficiently on the American version of The Office is that Michael Scott, the boss, tries to be everyone’s best friend as opposed to their boss. This, of course, is problematic because when tension or conflict arises in the office, it’s his job to alleviate it and remain impartial to both sides. He’s unable to do this because he’s afraid of being an authority figure or having anyone dislike him. Hopefully, no major problems exist in your office that would hinder efficiency to this degree, but it’s been known to happen sometimes.

So what do you do if workers aren’t getting along? Definitely don’t ignore the problem; this could make it worse. As a supervisor or authority figure in the office, you–or someone of similar ranking–should help mediate any issues impartially and help to resolve the issue. In the rare instance that the conflict has something to do with happenings outside of work, ask both employees if they’re willing and capable of putting aside their issues for the sake of professionalism and more importantly their job. You don’t want to force people to be friends because obviously, not everyone is meant to become best friends. So never mind everlasting friendship, your goal as a supervisor is helping them establish a functioning work relationship because if even two people in the workplace are at odds, it can greatly hinder the chances of everyone working together more efficiently at the office.

4. Create a Formal Performance Appraisal Process
This last tip may not be helpful for some offices because many already have a formal appraisal process in place. For those offices that don’t have performance expectations “written in stone”, this could be the key missing to getting employees to work together more efficiently at the office. This process allows you to clearly communicate your expectations to employees in terms of how productive, efficient, successful (etc.) you need them to be. If your expectations for office efficiency aren’t met, you can then make them aware of how a poor performance may eventually affect their salary or opportunities for advancement.

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