Collaboration is one of the more prominent buzzwords in the business talks. We are all aware by now that collaboration allows us to create competitive advantages and that’s the main reason why companies want to find the way to encourage, reward and support collaboration among their teams.
Although there are a bunch of factors needed to create the desired collaboration, there is one that we should pay attention to from the start: we need to create spaces that encourage collaboration. When we are designing a work center or office space we have to ask ourselves how can I improve my employees working experience?
It is not enough simply hosting people in a decent space anymore, we also need to build an experience that allows collaboration to flow: the work environment itself is able to change a person’s mood. And… what is collaboration made of? Its main ingredients are creativity, flow of information, communication, socialization, interaction… we need to create free and flexible environment so collaboration is possible.
There is nothing new here, it is not a recent finding of the american new economy with Google or Pixar on top of it. The foundation of this comes from psychological studies since the forties.
Back then, psychologist Leon Festinger published researches showing that physical environment is what allows friendships to flourish. Trust and friendship blossom in brief and passive contacts, for example, taking together the elevator or passing by in the street. Only after that we engage in friendships, collaborate and assume similar behaviours.
So, we need to create spaces to facilitate this brief encounters, encouraging the interchange of thoughts and opinions. We need to create open spaces, coffe areas or other common areas that go further than the ones strictly needed.
We cannot forget either about technology: we need to make sure that technology is available in spaces where collaboration among professionals is key. This obviously begins with meeting areas, places where collaboration is official: meeting rooms should be comfortable and be equipped with the suitable tools. The technology available in the designated room will determine what the room is used for, or not use for, and will always define how people interact with each other and with the space around them.
With this in mind we designed our iSurf table for meetings: the table has been designed to boost collaboration and provide the needed technology in each meeting.
When we speak about furniture, functionality is a must. But also the possibility to regulate height and shift positions, to ensure that our long working hours don’t limitate the user wellness and comfort.
Other than meeting rooms and conference places within our business we should also take care other spaces where spontaneous collaboration can come occur: such as : resting areas, coffee rooms, individual desks.
Does your individual desk have a fast, easy access to, connection available so that your colleagues can connect their devices and work along with you without causing trouble?
Accepting that technology is essential, we cannot forget about some more traditional ways of encouraging employees interaction: notice boards, blackboards or other vertical spaces to share calendars, ideas or news are informal areas of collaboration and they also reinforce a corporate culture based on participation.
Creating spaces for collaboration and choosing an appropriate furniture help us to stimulate team collaboration, facilitate optimization of processes, creativity, union, and thus business success.