Where in earlier generations the workplace tended to be closed off and segmented, modern offices often are open and inclusive. This has led to many companies experiencing new levels of productivity and collaboration, due to the nature of human interactions.
By creating a company culture where collaboration is encouraged, it is important to consider the physical aspects, and not just a change in attitude across the employees. The company itself can spearhead this movement, by investing in new office interiors that create areas designed for collaboration and personal interactions.
In order to do this correctly however, it can easily feel like it is an extensive and complex process, with many variables and unknowns.
So in this article we will cover some of the best ways for businesses across the world to harness the power of collaboration, and try to provide some simple guidelines in order to achieve a better office environment, happier employees, and increased productivity. Enjoy!
The company culture
Most professional people have been to a team building exercise at one point in their life. Often these activities take place outside of the office or workspace, but modern theories suggest that it might be even more beneficial to consider incorporating designs and elements of the team building principles into the company culture.
This allows for a constant encouragement of collaboration and interactions between different divisions and personalities, while still keeping a professional attitude and achieving results. For some businesses, adopting a new company culture can feel like a monumental task, but it does not need to be.
Change begins at the heart of anything, including a business. That means the managers and leadership should be in the forefront while implementing changes, and stay on top of the effects of their strategy. In some ways, adopting a company culture is no different than investing in a new property, in that it requires some due diligence, well thought out plans, and a steady hand to guide the project along.
By making physical changes to the office space via fitout, it becomes easier for employees and managers to make new connections with people, ask questions, and learn from each other. These changes can take many shapes and forms, so we will go over the most important methods to increase the collaborative efforts in a given company.
Overall layout and design
When designing an office layout, modern theories suggest we should focus more on creating the right environments for the different tasks required.
This can be simple things, such as making sure the finance and accounting departments are located next to each other, for easy communication and collaboration. Open office plans can encourage people to ask for help more readily, and if designed correctly, they do not need to be any more distracting than the classic cubicle layout.
But also more abstract concepts and modern ideas exist. One of the principles gaining traction is the idea of an adaptable workplace. We tend to think of the office as a relatively fixed setting. The desk is expected to be at the same place every day.
But by investing in adaptable furniture, it becomes possible to completely rework the layout based on specific needs. For a week requiring a lot of crunch and overtime, it can be beneficial to combine multiple tables, for a shared sense of carrying the extra workload.
Hubs and zones
If adaptable furniture seems a bit much, it is still possible to encourage collaboration in other ways. By creating different hubs, or zones with whiteboards, the company can ensure people are working in the environment they feel most stimulating at the time.
Such zones could be quiet areas, creative lounges, small isolated work islands, and more. The idea here is to consider how people feel during a week. Some people might find it more inspiring to be in an active environment with small talk and ideas floating around.
Parents with kids and stress however, might find it more enjoyable to sit in a quiet zone while working. This will provide the perfect area for them to recharge their social energy, leaving them more open to collaboration with other employees when required.
From simply adopting digital communication tools, to investing in the latest gadgets. Technology can be a great way to increase collaboration internally in a company, as well as externally with other partners.
We recommend using software and digital platforms that enable your employees to track their shared files and documents, offer communication across various customizable groups, and to help with routing the workflow.