By Penketh Group Insights Team
20th July 2018
To supplement the tried-and-tested department lunches, trips to the pub, away days and team-building events, the actual design of any workspace can be highly instrumental in boosting social activity among staff. Incorporating elements such as purpose-built social spaces, a WorkCafe and furniture to facilitate agile working will help build connections and encourage more varied interaction.
Making the office a more social space through strategic design will ensure communication and collaboration become a way of working life, rather than a once a month event. Here’s our expert advice on how you can make your workspace a more social place to be…
Dedicated social spaces
It might seem like an obvious suggestion but creating a space dedicated purely to social activity is a great way to make any workspace more, well… social. Not only do they provide a physical place where staff can go to chat or hold casual work discussions, social spaces also provide an escape to relax and rejuvenate.
Enabling employees to interact on a personal, social level and relax when they need to will create a happier, healthier workforce in which motivation and morale remain high. This is just one of the reasons why social spaces are so important, as well as boosting creativity in the workplace.
A WorkCafe – also called a ‘third place’
Outside of work, eating and socialising come hand-in-hand but research carried out by Steelcase has demonstrated a strong correlation and positive benefits between the two in the workplace as well.
The data revealed that employees who eat together in large groups are 36% more likely to communicate outside of lunch hours. So, incorporating a WorkCafe into your design scheme to provide a ‘third place’ between professional lives and private lives will help to boost socialisation and communication lines during working hours as well.
Improve workplace communication
A WorkCafe is certainly one way effective to improve communication amongst staff but there are plenty of other measures you can be taking to maintain this too. Factoring features such as digital signage, collaborative technology like Reserva and installing acoustic solutions where noise is causing disruption to communication are all great ways to do this.
For more information, see our post on how to improve communication in the office.
Encourage collaborative work
Traditional office design and attitudes towards ways of working typically dictated that people work individually on their own assigned tasks. However, modern design and new modes of work mean collaboration is now accepted as a type of work, and encouraging this type of professional interaction will naturally make the workplace more social.
You can boost the level of collaborative work in the office by designing dedicated collaboration spaces using adaptable modular furniture and technology such as media:scape.
The media:scape family integrates furniture and technology seamlessly to give staff the tools they need to enhance their productivity and collaborate effectively.
Cater for more agile working
As well as encouraging more collaborative work, we also recommend implementing measures to facilitate more agile ways of working too. From impromptu meetings to hot desking, agile work modes mean employees aren’t tied down to one static workstation.
This flexibility of movement encourages more varied interaction between colleagues, breaking down team barriers and stimulating more social activity throughout the business as a whole.