By Penketh Group Insights Team
26th July 2017
We have all heard time and time again about the importance of collaboration within the workplace. While the concept itself is now widely recognised and understood, many employees are often pained by office environments that don’t meet the demands of the task at hand. This can lead to frustrations within teams who are trying to escape to collaborate and generate ideas, while also leaving coworkers distracted and unable to concentrate through colleagues who are coming together in spaces that don’t provide suitable privacy, or shelter from noise generated by group work.
If all of this sounds very familiar, thinking about the sort of furniture you have in your space, could be the key to finding a solution. Below we look at some of the most frequent types of collaboration that take place within the workplace and office furniture ideas that can help reduce common frustrations.
Picture this… you’re on the way to the office brew station and before the kettle is even in sight, your colleague grabs you and starts talking about that important project you’ve been working on. Or, you’re about to go into a meeting room and you are waiting for the previous occupants to vacate so that you can begin. You and your colleagues start to have a ‘pre meeting’ conversation and you really want to make some notes but balancing your notebook, cup and tablet all become a bit of a juggling act…
Impromptu meetings happen every day and while they are unavoidable, many workspaces don’t provide furniture to support this type of collaboration. Below are two of our favourite solutions, the Ocee 4UsWall partnered with an Orangebox Coda Stool is perfect for outside meeting rooms or in walk ways and corridors, ideal for making notes ahead of their meeting or while transitioning between spaces in the office.
If like mentioned above, employees are regularly having impromptu meetings triggered by moving from one location to another then the Buoy from Steelcase is perfect for them. It is been designed for active people, inspired by the rocking of the ocean buoys, the light weight chair can be moved from one location to another easily, whether that be next to the coffee station, or at someone’s desk, it’s perfect for when impromptu meetings happen anytime and anywhere.
More companies now appreciate that a well-designed workplace can open up a wealth of opportunities for colleagues coming together in groups to partake in collaborative based tasks and meetings. An informal collaborative meeting area is likely to be the most versatile spaces in your office. If designed well, it can become a centre point for many of the meetings that are taking place as well as being a social and rejuvenation area during break and lunch periods.
The Hush Chair and Sofa is multi purpose furniture solution that can integrate perfectly into a range of workplace settings. It offers a retreat away from the busy open place office, whether that is for a quick catch up or a more energetic brainstorm. If privacy or noise is a concern, booth style furniture is particularly perfect for collaborative work, The HenRay from Ocee design is a popular flexible option with its high, semi enclosed sides.
Creative and Innovative
When considering furniture for collaborative areas, remember that integrating technology into the space will support information sharing and idea generation. A SMARTboard can display information and ideas, while enabling workers to contribute ideas, and record notes throughout. Integrating technology into the space also means that employees can connect their laptops and tablets and share relevant information with colleagues. In our Manchester showroom, we have teamed our SMARTboard with a B-Free high table and chairs. The centre of the table also has an integrated power supply and connection points for sharing documents and pages from your device.
For a more formal setting Media:Scape by Steelcase brings furniture and technology together in one piece of kit. Inspire new ways of thinking by removing bounders and giving employees space and tools to share all information regardless of format. The ingenious PUCK technology means that sharing screens with colleagues really is as easy as powering up and clicking go!