Creating a Collaborative Office Environment: Design Strategies for Teamwork
The very nature of business means that teamwork is integral to overall success, but it’s surprising just how many companies underestimate the need to nurture it. Today’s workspaces are migrating steadily away from the stuffy and impersonal work models of the past, but they’re also facing a new set of challenges, such as how to create a proper layout that encourages more collaborative spirit.
The secret to a great collaborative office environment doesn’t rely simply on encouraging employees to work together. The space itself must give off the right vibe and atmosphere to incentivize a collaborative environment in a natural manner.
DETERMINE FOOT TRAFFIC AND FLOW
Designing a collaborative office means more than simply buying the right things and placing them in the most pleasing manner. Companies who really want to optimize a collaborative workflow need to take into account things like foot traffic to execute a proper layout. Make sure to take into account how team members interact and work with one another, especially when it comes to inter-departmental relations.
Even a simple task such as making a few copies can impede the flow of your collaborative space if not set up correctly. When in doubt, try to rely on a center-outwards approach, where many different team members can access a centralized hub all at once. From there, start experimenting with different layout options in order to tweak and refine your collaborative floor model. Don’t forget to listen to employee input and feedback, as well. After all, they’re the ones moving about on the floor every day.
VARIABLE SEATING AS IT RELATES TO WORK
Taking the rigidity out of the workplace is a great way to introduce a collaborative spirit, and today’s offices consider this an absolute must when designing their respective layouts. Variable seating includes nooks, seats and getaway spots that can be used to relax, or perform work tasks. It breaks up the monotony of the work day by allowing employees to migrate from area to area, which reinvigorates and energizes them.
Variable seating can be a team affair, as well. Meetings don’t have to take place in the boardroom or the center sales floor any longer. Instead, they can be done in various spots around the office to create a sense of spontaneity. It’s alright if your particular workspace doesn’t have a lot of square footage to work with. One or two areas that serve a dual purpose is more than enough to introduce some spice and fun into the workplace.
FOCUSED COLLABORATIVE SPACES
Both the open office method and hot desking have become popular in many of today’s workplaces. Combined, they provide a level of flexibility, while reducing the amount of square footage taken up by unnecessary office furniture. They can also be used to create focused collaborative spaces that help individual teams hunker down and work their best, while still creating a sense of energy and camaraderie.
Having a cluster of desks or workstation pods is a step in the right direction, but if your workplace is capable of combining variable seating into the mix, you’re already ahead of the game. Can two teams utilize each other’s work areas to jazz things up and take a bit of monotony out of the work week? If you can make it happen, the results would be exemplary.
A good workplace sticks to the mantra that clutter is the enemy of productivity. Nothing ruins the spirit and sense of efficiency in an office worse than clutter, and reducing it can give off the impression that things are running like a well oiled machine. Therefore, banish clutter wherever it may be found by getting rid of unnecessary items, or adding storage and filing mechanisms into the mix that compliment the space, while allowing for some tidying up.
This can include desks with appropriate drawers, or filing cabinets and lockers. Today’s office furniture is meant to complement each workspace with a wide variety of material and colour options, so there’s no excuse. Implement a decluttering and organizational doctrine into your workplace, and it will make it much easier for team members to collaborate more effectively.
Studies have shown that company branding plays a vital role in helping employees connect better with the business mission. Therefore, it’s important to keep your banding at the center of your collaborative space layout, as much as possible. This doesn’t always necessitate a complete repainting and remodeling of the space, but it does suggest that company colours, a prominent logo, and visual reminders of the company’s brand identity be prominent.
Collaboration depends heavily on enthusiasm, and the more workers believe they’re a part of a larger dynamic, the more incentivized they’ll be to operate at their best. Your company branding is something for employees to be proud of, so show it off as best you can, provided it doesn’t interfere with the operation of your workspace.
Collaborative spaces depend on the little things, as well as big ideas. By properly balancing the two, you’ll be in a much better position to leverage your workspace as a means to rouse your employees to perform at their very best. When in doubt, think “optimized,” and go from there. If you’re still having trouble, that’s where we come in!
Sensyst knows how to create collaborative spaces based on all the above techniques, while balancing the entire layout with our aesthetic design sense. Let us do the hard work for you, and come up with a collaborative workspace that your employees will utilize to its utmost potential. Contact us today to get started!