BizBritain Blog

How to Design Office Space for Collaboration

Posted on February 22nd, 2017

The industries of technology, digital and IT are leading the way when it comes to collaborative working, but businesses in other sectors are now starting to embrace this more ‘agile’ work environment.

Collaborative working can completely transform an organisation. It can stimulate creativity and innovation, while at the same time strengthening bonds between team members and increasing staff loyalty to a company. But how do you encourage collaborative working? If your business is making a big change to collaborative working, how do you design an office space that fits the bill perfectly? The solution is to call in an expert such as Penketh Group for advice on layout and design to suit the way your business works, but here are some things to be thinking about in the meantime:

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Planning space

Your teams can benefit from a physical space in which to brainstorm and plan out decisions or courses of action together. Something like a ‘kanban’ board or other easy-to-manipulate ideas board can be great for this, so consider building this into your new office space layout.

Stand up meeting space

Your staff may benefit from different ways to meet, discuss and collaborate, which includes stand up meetings. These are typically brief catch-ups conducted without the need for participants to sit around a meeting table. All you need is a poseur style table for teams to meet and check-in with each other quickly at the start or end of the day, in such a way that keeps energy and creativity levels high.

Hangout and breakout spaces

There are a number of approaches you can take to breakout spaces. You can create a kind of hangout space, a comfortable environment (perhaps where staff can get coffee or snacks) where employees can relax as well as meet with each other. Alternatively, you can create a no-work zone to give staff members the chance to truly relax away from work. Or, you can have both.

A strong sense of community

Whether you bring in a specialist consultant or you redesign your office yourself, one key concept should underpin everything you do. This is a strong sense of community, which is the essence of true collaborative working. Your new design should make each individual feel they are part of a community, not just a company. The way the office is designed and laid out should encourage participation and collaboration at every turn. Just as crucial is how welcoming, comfortable and pleasant it is, with your aim being to create a space that people really want to use.

All of these things take time, and you can’t foster this sense of community overnight. It takes careful work and consultation to build this new ethos and culture over time, but a very good starting point is to involve your employees in the changes and decisions you’re making right now. This will give them a sense of ownership in the design, as well as taking their thoughts and opinions into account.

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