Cooperation and collaboration play an important role in the current business climate. Companies are at their best when employees are able to easily share ideas and collaborate on projects. If you’re interested, check out some of the ways office design has evolved to accommodate people who want to work together.
Open Floor Plans
A defining trait of collaborative workspaces is that they allow for quick and easy communication among workers. One way this has been accomplished is with open floor plans. Open space permits workers to easily interact with others, which allows information to spread faster.
When workers are separated by walls in an office building they don’t feel as obligated to speak with their colleagues. Without the walls, workers can easily talk with everyone else in the building, thus creating more chances for discussion and collaboration.
Designated Group & Social Spaces
Depending on the kind of office you desire, it might not be the best decision to have a completely open floor plan. Open floor plans can create distractions, because the increased amount of communication may bother workers who need to stay focused. This is why some companies opt for dedicated social spaces instead.
These spaces can range from closed offices to social areas where workers can grab a drink and chat. Since these areas are sectioned off, people can talk as much as they need to without bothering anyone else in the office.
Balancing Open & Enclosed Spaces
While you do want workers to collaborate, you still often need quieter spaces for things like conference calls and more rigorous assignments.
The key is to design your office in a way that provides workers with options. Consider open spaces for collaboration so people can discuss ideas, and design spaces that people can use to work alone when necessary. You want to inspire collaboration, but you don’t want to ignore the people who need quiet spaces to work.
Programs for Collaboration
To design an office that inspires collaboration, you need to think outside of the physical workspace. Collaborative workspaces also utilize programs for file sharing and communication, since they allow people to collaborate on projects, even when they aren’t in the same room.
Programs like Dropbox and Podio allow people to share documents so multiple people can contribute to them. Other programs like Skype and Slack allow people to keep in touch, even when one person is out of the office.
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