Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people.
Those the words of Steve Jobs, a man synonymous with success and innovation.
While this is true, the problem for businesses over the last year is that teamwork hasn’t exactly been straightforward. Due to the pandemic, employees have had to adapt to video technology, making collaboration that little bit harder than it would be in the workplace.
With the return to the office in mind, we’ve written some tips on how to foster a collaborative workspace environment in a post-Covid world. Taking into account modern working practices, there are plenty of ideas for every kind of business.
If the Steve Jobs quote inspired you, then why not bring it into your office space? Many companies print inspirational quotes like these on walls to send a message about their culture.
This is such a simple and effective way to instil the idea that you’re a company that champions collaboration and a team ethic. Google “inspirational teamwork quotes” now and see what comes up. You may find something that really sums up your values.
There may be pockets of space in your office that you aren’t making the most of. If this is the case, consider bringing some furniture to encourage impromptu meetings.
For example, you could bring in a coffee table and comfortable chairs to an area that won’t get in the way of busy circulation routes. These will be perfect for short, casual meetings between colleagues to expedite workflow.
Ultimately, you want to optimise your space for productivity and profitability, and a few additions like these can make a big difference. For expert guidance on space optimisation, consult the help of office design contactors that specialise in space planning.
Talk to Employees
If you’re going back to the office full time, it’s a good idea to ask employees about their user experience before lockdown. Was it easy to book a meeting room? Are they near the teams they need to be? Does the design facilitate collaboration?
If you’re embracing flexible working, ensure that employees have the equipment and facilities to communicate with those working from home. Do they have enough private meeting space for video chats? Do they have the right technology to enable online communication?
Just as collaboration is important in working, it’s important in getting the workplace design right. A simple chat with employees could make a huge difference in setting up your office for future operations.
Be Tech Savvy
It’s essential that you keep up to date with technology to foster a collaborative working environment. This goes for companies working full time in the office and those that allow staff to work remotely. Here are a few considerations:
• Electronic Booking Systems — For a practical addition to your space, install electronic booking systems to your conference rooms. These allow people to book the rooms with ease and even show what time the next meeting is to avoid any confusion. • Plug in and Play — One way to create a buzzing, collaborative environment is to enable employees to plug in their devices around the office. In addition to floorboxes and sockets on walls, you can get a range of furniture with integrated power outlets, from desks to pods. • LCD Screens — High quality LCD screens are great for presentations and conducting group video chats with remote workers. You can also get stands that allow you to wheel in screens to accompany employees working in teams.
By embracing technology, you can foster a collaborative environment and project an image of a company that’s forward-thinking. Steve Jobs would be proud!
Encourage Social Activity
To build a collaborative workplace, fostering a strong team culture is key. One way to do this is encouraging employees to socialise with one another, whether it be inside or outside the office.
If your budget allows it, consider introducing a lounge area and bar where employees can chat after work. Offering free beer and wine on a certain down is sure to go down well too!
Another way is to introduce bleacher seating. Not only is this good for team working, it can also be used for team events such as company announcements and watching guest speakers.
Offer Private and Open Meeting Areas
In recent years, workspaces have been moving towards a more agile model. This is where employees are given the choice of how and where to work within the space, with multiple “zones” to choose from.
If you’re looking to make your workspace more agile, then offering multiple collaboration zones is must. For practicality, it’s best to offer both open and private meeting areas.
Open meeting areas will allow employees to work together in a more casual, ad-hoc way. The only problem is that these aren’t exactly private, as nearby colleagues may be able to hear the ins and outs of the conversation.
If sensitive and private information is being shared, then this will be an issue. To support confidentiality, introduce private meeting spaces with frosted glass and sound absorbing wall panels as well. These offer employees the choice to discuss private matters without concern.
Collaboration isn’t limited to employees alone. Clients are a big part of project outcomes too, so inviting them into the office for meetings can finalise key decisions and also add a personal touch.
A space with a collaboration-themed wall quote is a simple solution, as this will really hit home to clients that the area is specifically designed working together and creative thinking.
Or, if you’ve got a lounge area with an adjoining bar, then clients will jump at the chance to come in for a drink and a chat. Projects can be stressful, so doing this will make the process seem more fun and help all parties involved to relax.
Ultimately, a client area will place a greater level of importance on a client’s project and make them feel more valued. This makes good business sense and may even result in repeat work in the future.
Thankfully, the days of employees being confined to enclosed cubicles are long gone. Such a set up was of course limiting for collaboration, and nowadays there’s an array of furniture that make the workplace more versatile. Here are a few ideas:
Modular Seating — Modular seating offers a higher degree of flexibility. For example, sofas can be broken apart into individual seats to set up an area for group work. Once the work is done, they can be made back into a sofa to save space. Meeting Pods — Pods are fun, eye-catching and also offer an acoustic meeting space. These days, you can get a range of styles, from glass-fronted pods to pods with integrated LCD screens. The latter will be ideal for video chats with remote workers. Standing Desks — Ergonomic furniture is great for health reasons, and it can also facilitate collaboration. For example, a standing desk can provide a point where small teams can gather and discuss ideas over a screen.
Whether you’re embracing flexible working or going back to the office full time, it’s important to ensure your team can collaborate effectively. In both instances, the office environment will play a key role in ensuring this is the case.
Remember, great things in business are done by a team of people, so helping them to collaborate will go a long way in taking your company forward. Just ask Steve Jobs.
If you’re looking to make your space more collaboration-friendly, then make sure you seek expert advice from Rap Interiors. Rap’s team of office designers and project managers can transform your workspace design to meet your unique needs and ensure your team works at peak performance.
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