Intelligence doesn’t just occur in one person’s brain. It also happens when a group of people are working or brainstorming together. While this phenomenon has been talked about more often lately in terms of ramping up productivity and creativity in workplaces, it has actually been around for eons. Collective intelligence occurs when families, nations, coworkers, students in a classroom, and soldiers come together. You can enhance the collective IQ of your workplace by paying attention to a few factors.
There are certain office layouts that are more conducive to group intelligence than others. While there’s not a one-size-fits-all formula for arranging your work environment, it would be wise to play around with different setups. You might want to try:
- Ditching the cubicles
- Having an open floor plan
- Setting up offices around a main open work space
- Arranging quiet spaces amidst the group-think areas
When people feel safe, they can loosen up and think more freely. To create a psychologically safe work environment:
- Make respect a number one priority for all concerned.
- Listen to your employees.
- Offer flexibility in terms of work hours/commute times.
- Have open communication to keep all workers in the loop of changes within the company.
- Provide training in stress management; offer stretch breaks, meditation and breath-work workshops, and life coaching sessions.
Create a work environment that empowers individuals, because growing each person strengthens the group. You can help your employees grow by:
- Offering continuing education
- Providing training and workshops that further them on their career path
- Recognizing workers for jobs well done
- Allowing everyone a chance to speak their mind
- Cross-training workers so they can enhance and expand their job skills
- Giving them time off to explore and discover
One of the traits that intelligent groups share is the ability to read each other’s social cues. Your team will work together more intelligently if they get to know each other on a variety of levels. Promote bonding within your company by:
- Giving all your employees a coffee break at the same time so they can get to know each other informally
- Providing a comfortable space for breaks that includes tea, coffee, and healthy snacks
- Holding informal company events like picnics and potlucks
- Have on-site exercise classes and yoga-stretch sessions to enhance community, eliminate stress, and create a healthier team of employees.
Groups that enjoy each other, socialize outside of formal work meetings, have optimum room arrangements, feel psychologically safe, and are encouraged to grow will be smarter collectively. Don’t just work on raising your key employees’ brain power; focus on the IQ of the entire group.