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How to design a collaborative workspace

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Collaboration is a buzz word at the moment, with businesses all over the globe realising that it’s not just beneficial, but actually a contributing factor of successes within today’s working environment.

From encouraging workers to come to together to share and generate new ideas; to teams delivering projects – collaborative working is inspiring workers to be innovative every day.

However, in a study by Forrester* 61% of leaders said that they don’t think that their company is creative. When Steelcase conducted their Future of Work Survey in 2017 this concern was further echoed by frustrated workers – 75% shared that their current collaborative spaces aren’t helping them to be creative.

Office Interiors by Penketh Group help clients to achieve outstanding working environments. Collaborative workspaces are essential if you want your workers to think and work creatively

So, how can you ensure that your workplace not only encourages collaboration, but also gives workers access to spaces that enable them to be creative and think innovatively?

Provide ‘away from the desk’ collaboration options

It’s difficult to meet with colleagues while sitting at your desk. Not only does this setting not support information sharing and equal participation, it can also be very distracting for other workers who may be trying to concentrate on more focused tasks.

By offering collaborative spaces that are away from the main desking area, workers are able to come together more easily, in a setting that is better equipped to support group work.

Office Interiors by Penketh Group help clients to achieve outstanding working environments. Collaborative workspaces are essential if you want your workers to think and work creatively

What’s more, movement throughout the day helps to get the creative juices following and could be the key to generating that new idea that your teams have been searching for.

Make technology easily accessible

So you’ve created a range of collaborative spaces that provide your workers with the choice and control to select a workspace according to the type of meeting taking place, but, do they have access to the right technology?

On average 5-10 minutes of meeting time is lost trying to connect technology; disrupting concentration and workflow.

The most productive meetings are those where all attendees can share information and contribute equally, with all brainstorming ideas displayed and recorded so that everyone can clearly see.

Office Interiors by Penketh Group help clients to achieve outstanding working environments. Collaborative workspaces are essential if you want your workers to think and work creatively

Think about incorporating a SMARTboard into your meeting space, a great tool which helps to keep all participants engaged and focused on the task at hand. This wireless technology allows users to touch, write and swipe on the screen making it perfect for brainstorming.

For meetings that require information sharing, Media:Scape by Steelcase enables multiple users to instantly display information regardless of format. By quickly attaching a cable to a laptop, the clever Puck technology enables screens to be shared with a simple touch.  The large screens clearly display the information meaning all attendees can see and contribute throughout.

Office Interiors by Penketh Group help clients to achieve outstanding working environments. Collaborative workspaces are essential if you want your workers to think and work creatively

Don’t forget Impromptu collaboration 

At the printer, in the corridor, or during a quick catch up at your desk, some of the most innovative ideas are generated as a result of impromptu or informal meetings.  If the conversation is flowing don’t force staff to break off to find a meeting space, instead maximise the creativity that can come from these interactions by introducing Buoy from Steelcase. These quirky stools are designed to support movement, and the light weight design means it can easily be moved around your workplace as needed.

Office Interiors by Penketh Group help clients to achieve outstanding working environments. Collaborative workspaces are essential if you want your workers to think and work creatively

Let staff know that you want them to collaborate

As part of our workplace consultancy, we regularly conduct employee surveys and workshops with organisations before presenting them with solutions according to their needs. When we talk about collaborative settings there is a common misconception among workers that collaborative work is frowned upon my senior management, as it means staff are ‘away from their desk’

Office Interiors by Penketh Group help clients to achieve outstanding working environments. Collaborative workspaces are essential if you want your workers to think and work creatively

If you want your workers to think more creatively with the freedom to be collaborative, this needs to become part of your culture and should be actively encouraged.

Last but not least

11% of lost time is due to employees looking for a collaborative space to meet; this does not make collaborative work easy.  Think about limiting interruptions by introducing room wizard to you collaborative spaces, making booking space and checking availability simple.   If noise is an issue, one of our acoustic solutions could help.

  • Forrester, The Creative Dividend, 2014  

Get in touch

If you would like to design your workspace to support collaboration, you can speak to one of our experts via any of the methods below.

0151 737 5000 Request a callback
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