Whether you're trying to build morale among your employees or generate fresh, new ideas, getting co-workers across different departments together from time to time is the way to do it. Unfortunately, bringing everyone together is easier said than done. Too often co-workers get into the habit of only meeting with the people on their team or those who directly affect their output. To remedy this situation, employees at NBF recently implemented a new program called Study Hall Fridays.
What are Study Hall Fridays?
Study Hall Fridays take place in the NBF lunchroom every Friday morning until noon. The idea behind it is to allow employees from different departments to work in one open concept space and collaborate on the fly while they work from their laptops. Our company has been doing this for a few weeks now and has seen an increase in collaboration between departments who may otherwise not see each other at all. Employees have also commented that the togetherness of the setup has created a team dynamic that feels more like a home than an office, thus fostering a greater sense of approachability among co-workers.
Who Benefits from a Temporary Open Concept Workspace?
The Study Hall Fridays concept is ideal for businesses who have considered making the switch from cubicles to open concept workstations but aren't quite ready to move forward with it. Outfitting an office with entirely new furniture isn't without financial commitment, so adopting a practice like this by utilizing your existing office space is a great way to try it before you buy it. Holding the study hall during specific hours each week will allow employees to try out the concept on an optional basis, thus allowing them to decide for themselves whether the atmosphere works for their working style or not. The best part? Even if you decide not to go all out by adding open concept workstations to your entire office, you can still keep your weekly study halls to allow those who wish to get together to do so.
How Do You Get Employees to Participate?
Forcing employees to participate in weekly study halls won't do anything to improve overall morale, but some may need a little push to see the value in the practice. Try making only the first study hall mandatory, then allow employees to choose whether or not to go based on their experience. Word of mouth can also do a world of good. Have employees who take part in the study halls regularly provide a testimonial to share with the company that will make other employees willing to participate next time. At the end of the day the goal should be to make this a casual experience, not a rigid or structured one. Make it fun and they will come.
Whether you're thinking of adding benching to your office or just looking to get employees to collaborate more, incorporating a weekly study hall in your business's breakroom, auditorium or any large open space available is a great way to get started.