Working together and working productively in an office space are two important features that help get work done. Many new office spaces are designed to encourage employees to collaborate throughout the day, rather than keeping people separate within individual office spaces. The definition of the term “collaboration” focuses on the action of several people working together to produce or create something.
Perhaps not surprisingly, this focus on collaboration in the workplace is having an effect on office design trends. This focus on collaboration can be particularly important to people in certain fields such as software engineering, product development, and architecture, where teams of people with diverse skills come together to provide a unified service or create a final product.
Three Tips for Designing Your Office Space to Maximize Collaboration
When designing a workplace for maximum collaboration and productivity, it is important to consider the balance of individual space and group gatherings. According to OfficeSnapshot.com, it helps to focus on continuous collaboration, density, and proximity. By simultaneously focusing on these functions, you can more easily facilitate timely and dynamic exchanges throughout the day.
When considering office design, here are 3 tips to help you create an energetic atmosphere, while using the available space in multiple ways.
1. Incorporate an open workspace into your plan. Make sure your office allows free exchange and connection with others by offering people access to open workspaces. Office spaces that promote maximum collaboration have zones and areas open to expansion and inclusion. This includes having easy access to a large number of seats and tables for team members who choose to collaborate.
2. Forget assigned seats. A collaborative environment minimizes the need for individual desks and assigned seating. Everyone should feel free to discuss ideas and solve problems collaboratively, regardless of the particular field or area of business in which they choose to work.
3. Foster a spirit of collaboration. Creative and team environments thrive on communication and this can be face-to-face or remote. Just because some employees are off-site doesn’t mean the collaboration should be broken. In fact, some of the most productive and collaborative teams work with nearshore team members every day. New technologies like Skype make ongoing communication and collaboration easy and affordable.
Some employees may have a personal preference for working in a single space, without distractions. However, collaborative office spaces really encourage the placement of at least two people in each space, so that work is done as a unit.
The creators of Google inspired an office environment that focused on building friendships. Adopting the “150 feet of food” rule, each part of Google’s New York office space is designed within 150 feet of a restaurant, coffee shop, or micro kitchen. This rule focuses on “casual clash” of employees, which often results in “unplanned collaborations.”
Steve Jobs was inspired by Google to create a new office space for Pixar. Jobs found that physically separating certain groups of employees only further discourages collaboration and problem solving across the company. He decided to integrate all employees with this new office design and his creativity flourished! John Lasseter, Pixar’s creative director, said “I’ve never seen a building that promotes collaboration and creativity as well as this one.”
There are several key features that Job believes have been necessary and also successful for collaborative office spaces. He said an open floor plan and high traffic areas encourage unexpected communication. He stated that all offices must have common areas and that offices must always be large enough to accommodate two or more people. Jobs believed in collaboration and bonding to do the best job. His exemplary work in office space design is evident through the success of his many business initiatives and creations.
When looking to create your own office space to inspire collaboration and creative problem solving, it helps to consider some of the proven advice from experts like Steve Jobs and others. An open floor plan always tends to be a safe bet, rather than closing workspaces in a maze of individual offices.