There was a time when office layouts were fairly standard. There were desks for the staff and separate office spaces for the managers. The demarcation lines were obvious and the rules were very clear: bosses got an office, workers got desks and cubicles; everyone was on site from 9 to 5.
But the old ways are not so helpful in a world dominated by tech savvy workers, who came of age with mobile devices and workspaces inside coffee shops. Since most of today’s workers can do their jobs remotely, more creative office layouts are needed to maintain a happy, inclusive and productive staff.
Workspace designers agree that the physical surroundings of an office impact employee cooperation and success. The new way of thinking aims to create a positive ecosystem where a wide range of staff members can find peace, productivity and inclusion.
Those seeking to create an office design that builds team collaboration should establish spaces that allow people to have choice and control over where and how they work. Changes in office design can help staff members feel supported. When workers feel supported, they are more likely to be more engaged in work and ready to do their best.
Those seeking to build team collaboration through office design should consider a number of factors, which include building an office environment that enhances employer experiences, group engagement, quiet spaces, mobility, and a positive culture throughout the workspace.
Creating quiet spaces inside offices is a hot trend. Not everyone is an extravert and not everyone likes to be part of a communal setting. Quiet spaces allow workers to focus. These spots can also be used as napping areas, or even meditation sites that let workers center their spirits and minds throughout the day.
While community breakrooms with coffee pots are fine for some workers, others truly need a space for peace. The quiet room approach is an inclusive idea sure to build cooperation and overall team collaboration.
“Authentic” has also become the mantra of the modern era. Consumers want transparency and authenticity in the things they buy. Voters demand authentic voices from politicians, and the same vibe has taken hold in the office. One of the best ways to build a spirit of collaboration and authenticity is to create areas in the office that helps staff members engage each other in a casual setting.
When trying to design an office that enhances team cooperation, it’s best to provide a workplace that offers a variety of places, spaces, and work areas that allows staff members the ability to move to different spots. The agile workspace is now all the rage. Think about the coffee shop model, which presents a range of seats, couches, lounge chairs and desks that let people float around from spot to spot.
Healthy workspaces that stress the importance of environmental sustainability are also important to the new generation of workers. Create workspaces that provide plenty of natural light, and comfortable furnishings.
Creating an office environment that gives more control to staff members is also an easy way to build worker cooperation. Build an office environment that is flexible and lets workers have some level of control over where and how they work.
The idea of movement is also a hot trend. Long gone are the days when workers were expected to sit at their desks all day. Numerous studies show the value of movement and the negative impacts of sedentary work. Adding in workspaces that support a range of postures (standing desks for example) or seating designed for mobile device work areas (think lounge chairs or a coffee shop model) can enhance the physical wellbeing of workers.
Finally, the modern workspace should provide areas for some relaxed, social interaction. Once again, we return to the coffee shop, café model. The old office lunchroom concept is fading. It’s being replaced by a café vibe that will give staff members a fun spot to gather, share and build cooperation in a casual setting.