Improving Workplace Collaboration Through Design
When you have an office full of very talented, hard-working people, having them collaborate can result in great things for a company. Collaboration helps spark new ideas, improves productivity, and builds stronger relationships between employees. But for many companies, collaboration doesn’t happen as often as it should. One survey showed that about 75% of employers consider teamwork and collaboration to be very important, but 39% of employees feel like there isn’t enough collaboration in the companies they work for.
If you’d like to improve collaboration in your office, redesigning your space can help. When workplaces are designed to support teamwork, collaboration can feel like second nature. Here are a few ways design can be used to bring people together.
A Variety of Spaces
There’s more than one way to collaborate. Over the course of a day, an office might need to support one-on-one discussions, groups of 3-4 people, and meetings of larger teams. Since different groups have different needs, providing a variety of spaces around the office helps give people options that help them be their most productive. As you think of the types of spaces you want to include in your office, consider adding spaces with varying degrees of privacy. Meeting in an open area might be perfect for one group, but another group might benefit from having a private room with a door they can shut so they can really focus.
As you plan a layout for your office, it’s a good idea to group people together based on the type of work they do. People who work on similar tasks or projects often need to talk to each other and collaborate, so keeping them together in the same area will help make it easier for them to do their jobs. But another way to make collaboration even easier is to opt for open workstations instead of closed offices. Without physical barriers separating people as they work, it’s easier for people to communicate with each other and collaboration can happen at a moment’s notice.
Even downtime can be productive. As people get up to enjoy their lunch, grab a cup of coffee, or just move around a little bit, work usually isn’t too far from the top of their mind. As people encounter others around the office, it’s very easy for casual conversations to turn back to work. People often discuss projects they’re working on or problems they’re trying to solve and those conversations can provide some helpful insights.
In one study by the University of Michigan, researchers found that when spaces allowed for unplanned interactions, the performance of their scientists improved measurably. So don’t underestimate the value that informal spaces, such as cafes, lounges, and hallways, can bring to your office! You never know when a conversation will lead to new ideas.
Tools for Collaboration
As people work together, it’s important that they’re able to easily share information and communicate their ideas. If you really want a space that supports collaboration, be sure to provide access to things like whiteboards and monitors that laptops can be connected to. These sorts of tools can be immensely helpful during things like brainstorming sessions or when trying to bring everyone on a team up to speed about a project. If a collaborative area doesn’t have walls to hang a whiteboard on, mobile whiteboards are a great idea to look into.
Is your office design making it hard for your employees to collaborate? We can help. Contact Premier Construction & Design and tell us more about your space. Our team can work with you to design and build out an office that meets your needs.