If anyone recognizes the importance of a connected team, it’s Michael Scott. Much like his team acts year-round, your team is undoubtedly more scattered right now than usual. Nobody wants to come back to work, and the freshness of the new year wears off as soon as everyone realizes it’s Monday. But disjointedness, while totally normal, isn’t entirely out of your control. We bring you this Office-inspired list to use as a launching point to creating a more connected team in the New Year.

 

“Conflict Resolution”

Even the best teams can get weighed down over unresolved conflict. Problems that weren’t resolved last year can create dysfunction and fracture your team this year. To prevent this from affecting your performance, address problem areas as soon as possible. If it’s a problem with one or two individuals, carve out some time to talk one-on-one. If it’s an issue across the board, get with your entire team. Just be sure you’re working with current issues and not an old file of grievances that would be better left in a file drawer somewhere…

 

“Stress Relief”

As Michael Scott would tell you, the secret to stress relief is “honesty, laughter, and comedy.” In short, successful teams make time for stress relief at the office. Unwinding together can reduce stress, renew everyone’s focus, and make your team more productive. Besides a friendly “boss roast,” some other highly effective ways to connect everyone are:

 

  • Implementing a couple of mandatory breaks where everyone in the office stops work at the same time to grab coffee, take a walk, or chat
  • Having a cubicle decorating competition or a surprise lunch out (paid for by the boss, of course) to kick off the new year
  • Having a professional masseuse come give massages at the office during lunch break to promote positivity and boost everyone’s mood.

Stressbusters can help your team connect with one another and collaborate better. Remember to double-check that you aren’t somehow causing extra stress by, you know, being the jerk in charge.

 

“The Alliance”

 

“Studies have shown that more information gets passed through watercooler gossip than through official memos — which puts me at a disadvantage because…I bring my own water to work.” —Dwight Schrute

If your employees don’t communicate well, they aren’t going to be well-connected as a team. Have you created an environment that encourages healthy communication in the workplace? Here are a couple of quick ways to check:

 

  • Is there background music constantly going or do you have quiet times where your team can block out distractions and focus?
  • How is your office set up? Is it open with lots of light or is it dark and claustrophobic?
  • Do you let gossip go or do you shut it down?
  • What is your team’s primary way of communicating: meetings? text? collaboration platforms? email?

Teaching your team to listen well, read body language, and be honest with each other are all ways to improve your team’s communication. How you communicate as a team has a direct impact on how connected you become. So if you see that your team is communicating poorly, change the environment or teach your team how to communicate better, like Michael Scott.

 

“People will never be replaced by machines. In the end, life and business are about human connections. And computers are about trying to murder you in a lake. And to me the choice is easy.”  -Michael Scott

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