After a long hiatus from the workplace, one thing hasn’t changed: people welcome the chance to work spaces together.
According to a 2018 survey of 4,000 working adults, most satisfied employees rank “opportunities to work on a collaborative team” as the best way to boost their careers. The survey also revealed that more than half of all happy employees collaborate with five or more people at their office on any given day, and more than two-thirds collaborate with people outside their office at least once a week.
What does this mean for businesses navigating the post-pandemic workspace? Companies should invest time and energy in creating a collaborative workspace that boosts collaboration, productivity and, ultimately, happiness; the return on investment is worth it.
Here are some practical steps that businesses of all sizes can take to set up thriving collaborative work spaces.
1. Set up a collaborative vibe that carries through the work spaces
The moment someone steps off the elevator or into the room, they should arrive at a welcoming hub. Picture smelling the coffee brewing as you step into an inviting and exciting communal space filled with comfy couches, loads of plants, an espresso bar, screens with lively content, constant movement, and ambient music. That screams “energy” and draws employees in—and of course their clients! That kind of collaborative, entrepreneurial vibe is powerful.
Don’t leave that energy at the door. It’s important to carry that vibe through common spaces: mix it up with work areas ranging from a home-like living room to a high-topped table surrounded by stools, and even pillowed nooks for an informal chat. Decorate with conversational pieces and quirky themes (there is nothing wrong with Christmas decor year-round if that’s your thing).
Movable furnishings are ideal because you can configure the space differently from day to day depending on your employees’ needs. Remember to provide quiet spaces for head-down, focused work—think of creating tucked-away booths and reserving some more traditional closed-door offices. Offering options allow employees to strike a healthy balance of “we” and “me” time. Throughout the space, flexibility and choice should always be the goals. After all, you want everyone to feel comfortable in the spaces you create.
2. Think beyond the standard conference room
Meeting rooms that do only that–house meetings–are becoming obsolete. Instead, businesses are gravitating toward flexible spaces that do double or triple duty—like a salesperson’s office flipping into a meeting room when they’re on the road or an open work spaces that has screened-off corners with tables and chairs.
The fact of the matter is, traditional large-group conference rooms aren’t a good fit for how we work today. The most common meeting size nowadays is two to four people; so eschew the long tables and reserve lots of nooks for these small-group gatherings. Some practical ideas to consider are alternative seating arrangements like a pair of armchairs in an open, communal space instead of a closed room. Keep in mind that with this new creative use of space, you’ll need to plan for a way people can book meeting spaces easily.
3. Pay attention to amenities
It turns out that making food and beverages available is a perk that workers are clamouring for. In the same 2018 survey mentioned earlier, workers were asked what would increase their satisfaction in their current job environment. Surprisingly, workspace and amenities outweighed other benefits like better pay, better hours, better management, and more vacation time.
What does that look like for you? Take time to think about the kinds of food and beverages that belong in the work environment, and consider it a crucial component–as important as ergonomics and furniture. Having an actual kitchen can create a strategically placed meeting space where people can relax, recharge, and chat informally. Who knows; that can lead to some excellent, creative new ideas.
As you plan what foods and drinks to offer employees, aim for fun but also support small, local businesses that can bring their services into the office. Offer a variety of options, including healthy, locally sourced snacks (and a little room for fun and sugary options, too!).
4. Spread your brand identity everywhere
A brand is an integral element of your company’s location, and that includes communal workspaces. When designing your space, you should draw inspiration from your brand, creating a space that reflects the company’s mission. Are you quirky? Young? Pop-culturally relevant? Do you have a dark sense of humour? Are you all about flash and glamour? Is your brand serene and sleek? Is your brand mission about sophistication and style? Show that in your design elements, from decor and paint colours to furnishings. Ensure your space is steeped in the brand and the area’s culture.
Hopefully, these tips and tricks have inspired you to build a collaborative workspace that will fuel productivity and employee happiness.
Need help getting set up or looking for more IT ideas and support? OnSite Geeks is a team of dedicated experts in the IT and marketing fields. Contact us and we’ll be happy to chat about your business needs.
After a long hiatus from the workplace, one thing hasn’t changed: people welcome the chance to work together. Building a collaborative workspace that will fuel productivity and employee happiness is a delicate balance between flexibility, amenities and a savvy reinvention of communal spaces to meet a variety of company and individual needs. Head over to our blog for some tips on how to get an effective collaborative workspace set up.