By Penketh Group Insights Team
2nd August 2018
Although the concept of a social space might initially seem counterproductive to efficiency and collaboration in the workplace, when done well, it is actually quite the opposite. A strategically designed workspace can help build relationships, encourage the circulation of ideas and opinions, create a more relaxed workforce and subsequently increase productivity levels.
Good social bonds foster better working relationships
A workforce who get along in a social capacity are naturally more likely to collaborate and communicate effectively during working hours. Of course, building better personal bonds between members of staff extends outside of the workplace with social events and team building activities but this can be significantly enhanced with the right office design too.
Soft seating and modular office furniture encourage a more flexible attitude towards movement around the workspace and feed into the ‘café culture’ style of work. Including this in your social space design will therefore encourage staff to communicate more naturally and interact as they would in a true social setting.
Barriers of professional hierarchy are broken down
One of the biggest blockers of collaboration and communication in the workplace is the intimidation that comes with a professional hierarchy. When called into a formal meeting room or conference space, many staff in junior roles will avoid sharing their ideas or opinions in the presence of senior staff members.
The relaxed, casual atmosphere that comes with a well-designed social space will break these barriers down and facilitate communication on more equal ground. Some of the best ideas come from impromptu discussions away from the desk so creating this type of safe space is an effective way to boost collaboration and creativity.
A better sense of belonging to the workplace
The nature of a social space lends itself perfectly to softer, more domestic design elements so if you’re looking to experiment with the resimercial interior design trend that is so popular in the industry right now, this would be your perfect chance.
Not only does this make the space feel and look more like home, it also provides staff with the ideal space to conduct personal phone calls or carry out non-work-based tasks securely. As we discovered in our blog post about what young people look for in a workplace, 88% of millennials agreed that they want to see more work-life integration so a social space would be a great way to attract and retain this new generation of talent.
A more relaxed and refreshed workforce
Social spaces provide a ‘third place’ between the working environment and home where staff can go to relax, unwind and rejuvenate. Taking a break away from the desk at various points throughout the day is essential for both wellbeing and concentration levels and a social space provides the ideal setting in which to do this.
When staff have a dedicated space away from their workstation where they can go for some downtime or a casual chat with a colleague, they are more likely to return to work in a more refreshed frame of mind. A social space helps prevent employees feeling frustrated or overworked which in turn, leads to a rise in motivation and productivity levels.