When your office synergy just isn’t cutting it and productivity is down because no one wants to talk to one another, you know it’s time for a change. Some employees need encouragement to work as a team instead of as an individual, and you can start by fostering an environment that allows for employees to talk to one another without fear. Here are some tips on how you can motivate your employees, boost morale, and bring them closer together as a team.

Change the Way You Say Things

People don’t work for you; they work with you. You are not their overlord or their supervisor; you are their fearless leader. Changing simple terminology can bring a completely different feel to your office. The way something is phrased can either encourage or banish a team-oriented atmosphere. Even if your employees feel like it’s a little corny to use different words, push for the use of them anyway. Eventually it will become natural and they might even enjoy calling one another “friend” or “teammate” instead of “coworker”.

Trust Those You Work With

Worry less about individual employees, and let them do what they need to do on a daily basis. Stop watching over their shoulders to make sure they’re on task. Encourage them to talk to one another about important decisions, and include them in decisions that may change your company. Not every decision that’s made should be put to a vote, but all feedback should be recorded and heard before anything is changed. A single opinion can change your decisions.

Rip Down the Boundaries

The first step to taking down mental and emotional barriers is to remove the physical walls around people. Cubicles are a thing of the past. Form teams of four desks in a circle formation and make your employees face one another. If everyone is used to cubicles, this may be a little awkward as first; however, over time, it will encourage your employees to look at one another and talk about themselves.