The work environment and the way people collaborate inside it is changing and becoming one of the most relevant factors for a business success. So assuring a collaborative workspace nowadays is decisive. With increasing competition, efficient collaboration it’s primordial to raise the motivation levels and improve productivity within any business.
A collaborative modern workspace is a place where healthy employee relationships born in order to improve productivity, work and team efficiency, decision-making and worker retention.
That is what makes it a priority for successful business leaders. They know how organizations can be successful when employees work together for common strategies, goals and results.
Encourage Creativity, Productivity and Work Efficiency
A collaborative workspace provides and creates a family-like environment, where employees feel encouraged to become a champion of talent and to go beyond the expectations of his or hers job and role. A place of wellbeing where collaboration provides to every employee the equal opportunity to participate, to show their skills, to share ideas, communicate thoughts and different perspectives. Where finding solutions is also about listening, understanding and helping fellow workers solve problems.
Workplaces like these attract and keep the best professionals in work teams. These are mainly companies with a truly collaborative culture that inspire team members to see value in working together for a certain common goal. Generally in these cases there are really mutual benefits for the company and for its teams. Sharing experiences, knowledge, providing value!
The benefits of policies that encourage collaboration, efficient and healthy employee interaction, team spirit and shared knowledge and efforts are numerous. But for us, the most obvious and valuable benefits of a collaborative workplace are:
- Encouraging creativity and innovation.
- Attracting and retaining work talent.
- Enhancing engagement and increasing productivity.
- Facilitating the exchange of knowledge.
- Improving interaction between colleagues and teams.
We recently came across an interview with Catherine Courage, VP of Product Design at Citrix, a company where they had just completed creating a design collaboration space, a large open area where multiple disciplines can come together to innovate.
About that innovation within the office, she highlighted how awesome it was “to see these teams use the space and its tools. It’s even more awesome to see their desire to emulate the design “culture” of uninhibited brainstorming, quick stand-up meetings, and collaboration. (…) Design team members say their favourite moments are when people look at notes and sketches left on the whiteboard, then go to others to discuss them. It creates a real transparency in the work, sparking conversations and cross-pollination — exactly the results we wanted.”
How to Create the Perfect Collaborative Workspace?
Most corporate buildings don’t do a good job supporting collaboration and innovative work methods. They tend to be dominated by cubicles or offices which are suited for individual work, or by hard-to-book conference rooms that teams can use but only for short periods of time. What’s needed is a more flexible space that better supports teams and inspires more open thinking. Although it is not widely practiced by companies, creating that perfect collaborative workspace is not that hard. Just make sure to insure:
Flexibility and Variety of tools and solutions
As we have stated before, good collaboration does not occur without efficient communication. For that to occur, workspaces must be flexible and must have a great variety of tools and spaces that motivate different types of interactions. Layout, furniture, and equipment should be comfortable and conducive to the type of collaboration expected. Brainstorming areas for instances are often filled with sofas, comfortable chairs, plenty of whiteboards or dry erase writable surfaces. WiFi, big screen monitors, speaker systems, power strips and other technological accessories should be everywhere, simplifying and supporting brainstorming, production, and presentation. Virtual teammates should also be able to join in and work can occur anywhere.
Open, Well-Lit, Positive and Comfortable
Clean, wide open spaces with plenty of natural light, details of comfort and flexible layouts usually do the trick. People respond best to working in well-lit rooms – and the more natural the light, the better. Cheerful and energizing Colour schemes balanced with other areas that are calmer and more serene are the best choice.
Writing, Sharing and Brainstorming Spaces
Even though it is common for people to do it through the use of words, we also already know that images speak louder than words, and the best way to prevent misunderstandings is to support the information you share with visual data. Encouraging the use of visual communication tools, can be the best way to educate teams to always assure communication efficiency. This type of space is the ultimate tool in driving behaviour change. Even the most analytical team members can’t help but sketch their thoughts and ideas on the table whiteboards while they sit and chat.
Create a no fixed seating policy
The casualness of the space puts people in the right frame of mind to go outside of their traditional comfort zones and build stronger relationships with teammates. This way people will actually be encourage to feel comfortable working in different areas of the workspace. Feeling more at ease in all company spaces and working with and in front of several different colleagues.
Acoustics are extremely important
Wide open areas are great, but they usually come with a big challenge: shared work or desktop areas where many phone calls and work conversations happen, distracting others nearby. Besides trying to create dedicated common play or both areas, to prevent distractions companies should choose acoustic solutions like sound absorbing wall panels, office partitions and dividers.
Feeding creativity and productivity
Several larger food preparation areas or cafés should be available, but companies should have at least mini-kitchens stashed with healthy snacks and beverages nearby so that people don’t have to walk far to have a snack. This type of basic commodities are essential for modern workers. And we all should bear this in mind when designing a collaborative workspace.
So what do you think? Is your workplace really collaborative?
A collaborative culture ensures efficient collaboration in an organization and feeds the individual and collective success. Healthy team collaboration and work dynamics adds value to the way team members perceive their work, and because of this, they feel good and comfortable about what they do, and most importantly, they feel part of something relevant. And that is what truly drives motivation, passion and ultimately success.