The Queanbeyan Age

6 office designs and features to boost co-worker collaboration

6 office designs and features to boost co-worker collaboration

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Office designs and the features placed within them play a vital role in employee productivity and as a result their collaboration within their respective teams. So, how do you ensure that you are able to correctly stimulate your employees to join forces and work together?

We explore 6 different office design styles or specific features designed to create a harmonious and happy work environment.

Opt for an open plan

The dawn of the open plan office marked the extinction or at least endangerment of the cubicle workspace set up. Although the open plan office has been around for decades, its popularity increased during the technology boom of the 1990s.

An open-plan office is fantastic for productivity as no longer are workers very literally separated by walls, which can lead to a feeling of isolation. Instead, everybody is set up in the same room, breaking down the barriers of office hierarchy, which is why this style is now one of the more popular office fit-outs in Melbourne.

Today, junior staffers work opposite their bosses and different teams are separated by merely a step or two, rather than the much more isolated option of an entirely different room or cubicle.

This set-up allows for open conversation and as a result co-worker collaboration. After all, it is much more straightforward to ask somebody sitting across from you a question, than to journey all the way over to a separate space.

Open plan offices make for a more casual and comfortable space for workers, even extremely corporate environments are embracing this more casual and comfortable office fit-out

Have multifunctional workspaces

One of the downsides to an open plan fit-out is the fact that you can hear just about everything that goes on within the office. This can on occasion, have the opposite effect to the one you desired. Employees can sometimes feel apprehensive about asking questions for fear of everybody around them listening in; after all, you wouldn't want to ask a coworker about a task your boss just assigned you, when your boss is sitting right next to you.

For this reason, it's important to have multifunctional workspaces, for employees to brainstorm with their coworkers away from others, or even on occasion retreat to for some quieter work time so that they can return energised and ready to connect again.

Whilst an open-plan layout is fantastic for overall employee engagement and morale, it's vital to provide some alternative areas to ensure workers feel comfortable, collaborative and able to work to their full potential.

Dedicated rest spots

Something that may cause a worker to retreat is burnout. We've all encountered it, perhaps it's just been too many long days, or too much crammed into your week, but irrespective of how you got there, when you're feeling exhausted, you're likely to isolate or work solo.

Your lack of energy makes it much less likely that you would want to participate in collaborative activities within the office. For this reason, a great feature to add to your workplace is dedicated rest and relaxation areas, where employees can go to de-stress and enjoy a little bit of timeout.

This may seem counterintuitive, after all, how would a space created to be a work-free zone increase collaboration within the office? But, by giving your employees a safe space to relax, they're likely to come back more energised and ready to be involved in new and exciting projects.

Promote cross-team working

One very literal way to boost collaboration between colleagues is to ensure that there is a variety of cross-team projects. Bringing in various teams with a variety of different skills will always benefit the project that you're working on.

It also creates a 'share the load' mentality, as you have a larger amount of people working together on an activity to get the best outcome, without anybody feeling burnt out due to a disproportionately large workload.

Seeking input from another team member helps to ensure the overall success of your goal, after all, very few projects benefit from simply one team overseeing it completely.

Having a variety of team members come together aids the final product, but also helps you to see firsthand what your coworker's strengths are, which can lead you to seek them out for future work when you need an alternative point of view.

Dynamic flexibility

In a covid-normal world, the concept of dynamic flexibility within the office has become an increasingly popular office design concept. During the peak of covid-19, employees were forced to become flexible and make changes to their day or routine in order to still meet their productivity goals, so this is where the concept of dynamic flexibility stems from.

Dynamic flexibility is when an office space can be transformed into something different, depending on what the overarching need is. For example, one day a dedicated office space could be switched into a meeting room, this adaptability is achieved with lightweight and easy-to-move furniture.

This freedom gives employees the space to work together when need be whilst also allowing them the physical space they need in order to complete a task.

Create an energising environment

When creating an office space that values collaboration across teams, it's important to construct a space that feels vibrant and energising. This can be done in a number of ways.

Firstly, when it comes to the colour, whilst white is definitely bright and open, ensure it's not too clinical by introducing some vibrant prints or images, they can even be motivational quotes to boost inspiration.

The same goes for lighting, which is equally important but often overlooked. You want the feel of your office to be comfortable, not clinical, but at the same time, if you keep the room too dimly lit and golden, it can create a feeling of fatigue amongst employees. Try and fill your space with natural light or a bulb that mimics it, to create an open and comfortable feeling within the room. This will boost productivity and as a result, collaboration within the various departments.

As you can see, there are a variety of ways to boost collaboration within your various workplace departments. So, whether you opt for an open-plan office with bright, natural lighting, or you place priority on having dedicated rest spots to boost employee comfort and morale, you're sure to end up with an optimised workspace, filled with cross-team participation.