Business owners are well aware of the value that collaboration plays in reaching your company’s desired results. Unless your office is designed in a way that promotes it, collaboration, your attempts to encourage it and increase job satisfaction and productivity may fail. There are many beneficial results from collaboration. You can create an atmosphere of teamwork rather than competition. It’s a great way to allow the flow of new ideas or melding of many ideas into a cohesive unit. It sparks new-found energy into a work place which can be conducive to efficiency and productivity.
Change the Way You Look at Space
To ensure your office layout inspires collaboration, it’s important to first consider how your existing space will be managed. In order to do this successfully, you must first look at the objective of the space, and then that space efficiently. Your redesign should have a clear objective and goal.
If you have a large office space, you will need to consider whether or not standardizing certain design elements is feasible. For instance, you might consider your office’s style, and then choose to extend that style to all parts of the office. This standardization can provide your office space with a feeling of continuity that can inspire collaboration on a subconscious level.
Organization should be a central part and goal of any redesign. A messy, disorganized office will only breed distraction and create stress. An office that’s been optimized for collaboration also includes places where important paperwork and supplies can be easily found.
An Accurate Reflection
Your office space must also accurately reflect your company culture. A look and feel that complements this is the goal. Color is a significant aspect of office redesign. Like organization can subconsciously inspire collaboration, so, too, can color inspire increased office efficiency better mood and, ultimately, a boost in morale.
What Every Collaborative Space Needs
An office that isolates employees off from one another will do little to inspire collaboration, but, when that space allows people to connect, collaboration is the inevitable result. To achieve this, you’ll need to consider several elements.
There must be a balance of between open and enclosed space in your redesign. For open space, consider incorporating large open areas where employees have plenty of room to gather. Even the hallways in your office can be widened to inspire communication. For enclosed space, consider modular desk units to allow separate workspace with a configuration to foster collaboration.
In addition to open space, your employees may also need their own space in which to work. Incorporating some kind of boundary that separates collaborative hubs from individual workspace is key. You may want to consider adding panel systems, modular desk units, or even some private offices.
You can also define your space in terms of zones. You can have a “quiet zone” where employees can complete individual tasks. Social zones can be reserved for employees wishing to take a few minutes to talk about the day with their colleagues. Collaborative zones allow teams to congregate in a space without disturbing others, and learning areas provide employees with an opportunity to brush up on existing knowledge or discover something new.
Better office efficiency doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to work without walls. There is another way to achieve this feeling, and that is to do away with permanent or assigned seating. This will allow employees to vary their locations within your office, which will encourage interaction and collaboration with others.
If this is not preferable, consider desk arrangements in rows or clusters. Both will allow for defined sight lines which will provide the feel of a more open space. Not only that, but it will encourage working in teams, which has been proven to benefit productivity more than working alone.
Where rooms need to exist, consider using paneling systems or enclosing them in clear glass, both which can inspire many a creative process. There are also new innovative removable privacy panels which will allow a cluster of workspace to feel both private and open without construction or disruption to your office environment. Not only will this ensure that the continuity of your new office space is uninterrupted, but it also allows employees the ability to see one another.
Take, for example, the traditional closed office. Should employees require information, they need to approach a person’s office and knock on the door. With low paneling or clear glass, they can instantly know when a person is available, and the person can see any fellow employees approaching the office.
The 50-Foot Rule
Another way to frame space is to use the 50-foot rule. Regardless of what design elements you are trying to incorporate, any that are located in excess of 50 feet from the space where work occurs are very likely to go unused. Any collaboration space should be located in close proximity to where teams gather.
An office that has the correct furniture will increase employee comfort. Comforts starts with ergonomic chairs to the desks or sit to stand desks, and even the décor. When employees feel more comfortable during the work day, they will be more productive. Office Furniture Expo has a huge selection of new and gently used desks, chairs and accessories to suit any style or budget.
A Common Worry
In thinking about how to improve productivity in the workplace, some business owners fear a loss of employee focus when considering a redesign. Just like technology, staying ahead of the game where possible is the goal when redesigning your office space. Employees may favor familiarity, but change can be easier when done correctly. Change can be a huge adjustment, especially if your employees have historically been separated from one another. Experts agree that the workplace is shifting from the “single worker” to a “team” mentality which can allow for a more cohesive work environment.
Involve Employees Early
Where it comes to figuring out the best way to redesign to a more efficient office, your most valuable input can come from your employees. Their needs should definitely be considered when planning your new collaboration-inspiring office space. Ask them what would inspire them to collaborate more efficiently; the great feedback you receive will be worth it.
Just asking your employees what they think can have a significant impact on their morale. They will feel more invested in the decision, and in your company as a whole.
Give Them Plenty of Notice
Your employees need to be kept informed about what’s happening to the space they spend so much time in. Keep them in the loop with explanatory messages sent to all employees. You’ll also want to post this notice where employees can see it, as well as send and post any updates when they become available.
Leave Room for Questions
In addition to keeping employees informed about upcoming changes to your office design and layout, you’ll also want to ensure there is plenty of time for employees to ask questions and get answers. Taking the time to do this will help employees to become more comfortable with upcoming changes, and they will be more likely to accept them when they arrive.
Consult the Experts
Deciding how to improve collaboration and efficiency in a business can be a daunting task. If the thought of redesigning your office leaves you feeling overwhelmed, the experts at Office Furniture Expo can help.
Our office furniture specialists have been helping offices in the metro Atlanta area to reorganize, beautify and optimize their spaces for over 35 years, and our competitive pricing makes every investment an affordable one. Your new space is just a call away at (770) 455-0440.