There is currently quite the buzz about collaborative workspaces. Facebook, Google, and Microsoft all boast of their large open workspaces. Why all the hype? Well, most innovation today is driven by at least two people bouncing ideas off each other, which is hard to do in semi-isolation. Team and group work frequently leads to faster more creative results than solo work. Two heads is better than one definitely applies to the corporate world. Implementing collaborative spaces does not mean you have to completely refurnish your office and throw out your individual workspaces.
Sounds good, so what stops it at your workplace? A few surprisingly simple issues to fix that are often overlooked can be:
- Office furniture positioned in a way that cuts teammates off from each other
- A poorly placed decoration or cluttered paths to workstations
- Single workstations that don’t promote collaboration
- By providing employees with longer workstations you can open up space for a partner to sit and work for an hour or two.
- Place monitors on adjustable arms to easily share data between collaborators
- Add an extra chair in the corner of work areas to promote the idea of visitor collaboration.
“Studies show that teams given visual display devices, easy access to storage, and the right work surfaces accomplish tasks twice as fast.”-Steelcase
By making modifications to existing workstations, companies can find the happy medium between total open spaces and private offices. The key is to make it easy for workers to switch back and forth from collaborative to personal space when brainstorming is complete.
By providing workers with necessary tools: white boards, monitors, stands, and longer workstations you can begin to foster creativity and collaboration in your workplace without doing a complete office redesign.