How to design a collaborative work environment
Everyone’s raving about the unique advantages of a collaborative work environment. Whether you’re a small or large business, you can start implementing flexible spaces that offer your business and employees a wealth of benefits. Let’s take a deep dive into collaborative work environments and how they can improve your organization. You’ll be surprised at how easy it is for your business and employees to start feeling its advantages!
What is a collaborative work environment?A collaborative work environment is a commercial space that has a mix of private offices and shared common areas. These areas help employees gain more freedom and flexibility throughout their workday. So, you don’t have to worry about knocking down all the walls in your office space. Instead, the goal is to create beautifully designed common areas that employees find tremendously valuable.
What are the advantages of a collaborative work environment?When utilizing a collaborative work environment, you can start to see some key advantages no matter your company size. Many of the benefits come from your employees feeling more connected to the business they work for. So, essentially, with a collaborative work environment, you’re building trust and commitment to your business. This results in some surprising advantages, such as:
- Improved employee relationships
- Heightened connection to company culture
- Healthier, more productive employees
- Enhanced creativity and innovation
- Increased motivation and number of completed projects
- Better communication with stakeholders
- Higher employee retention rate
- Harder working employees
How to design a collaborative work environmentWith all these advantages, you may be asking, “how do I design a collaborative work environment in my commercial space?” It’s simple. No matter your business size, you’ll need at least one designated collaborative space within your office. Below, we’ve come up with some great ideas on how you can transform your workspace to achieve a collaborative work environment:
1. Create an open spaceWhen thinking about designing a collaborative work environment, a good idea is to follow the “say no to walls” policy. By designing an open space, you’re encouraging employees to collaborate and get to know each other on a deeper level. So, keep in mind you want to remove physical and spatial barriers that make it hard for people to meet face-to-face. A good example of creating an open space is to think about a conference room redesigned. Think about your standard conference room. It’s a room that has an open space with no walls or cubicles cutting up the space, but there’s a large table in the middle. This large table is a spatial barrier that’s the center point of the space. So, to make the space collaborative, you’ll want to get rid of this table and instead place comfortable furniture and other amenities that allow multiple people to use this space.
2. Offer top-of-the-line amenitiesIn your collaborative workspace, you’ll want to have integrated technology solutions that help employees collaborate seamlessly. This means adding in televisions, smartboards, and other industry-specific smart tools that can help your team work together more efficiently. In these collaborative spaces, you could add top-of-the-line amenities that encourage employees to use these areas. This could be installing a coffee bar, a free food and beverage station or vending machine, and a digital library. By having an incentive to use your collaborative workspace that feels less like work, you’ll encourage more employees to start using this new area.
3. Design for cooperation and focusThe key to a collaborative workspace is collaboration. So, you’ll need to think of solutions that give your employees the chance to come together in flexible and stimulating environments. To create a stress-free environment, you’ll want to focus on design. This could be adding elements like pops of color on the wall, adding stunning light features, incorporating speakers that play music, or designing a comfortable furniture layout that can be easily moved around. There are so many ways you can design you and your employee’s ideal collaborative workspace. Below, we’ve listed some ideas to get you started on your overall design:
- Library space or reading nook
- Karaoke machine station
- Recording studio
- Arcade and other recreational games
- Living room den with games, a T.V., and darts
- Plant walls or incorporation of greenery
- Quiet zones
- Huddle rooms
- Wellness spaces