Creating collaborative cultures in the modern office

Technology has brought integrated working systems and authentic digital workplaces, with diverse teams or individuals working remotely. It’s possible to communicate and share in real time, anywhere on the planet. However, a culture of collaboration is still one of the most valued business attributes, which some ventures find even harder to maintain due to digital working.

It’s that engagement and interaction between people that gets the right results but also reduces staff churn. Passing data back and forth, is not the same as having a potent team spirit, that stimulates and supports co-operation and collective focus on a shared vision.

Humanise your office

Even if you have an army of remote workers, and you’ve compacted your head office to cut costs, there is significant benefits in regularly getting people together.

Perhaps you never have clients passing across your threshold; but having a smart and welcoming office space is still important to your staff. It creates a sense of ‘belonging’. It implies an organisation that cares about their comfort and values their contribution.

In an article by Forbes they highlighted 22 ways to humanise your workplace from an employee perspective, you might find it of interest. Fostering a culture of teamwork and engagement is something that goes way beyond simply creating a collaborative workspace with great office design.

Collaborative designs

For all the ,incredible power of data sharing, there should always be opportunities to do what Americans call “spit balling” and the British refer to as “brainstorming”.

Ideas for innovations and improvements often come from free-flowing discussions in person, when your project team is relaxed, sipping coffee and making eye contact. Breakout areas that include a mix of both relaxing and worktop seating is a good enabler for this.

Apple’s Steve Jobs believed the best, most unique ideas came from spontaneous encounters between diverse colleagues in corridors! If space allows make use of corridors by introducing benches and clever feature seating.

Having an office area that supports this social interaction doesn’t necessarily mean ring fencing precious floor space permanently. Modular office furniture, which can be moved and reconfigured with ease, can support having a fertile break-out zone in your head office. Rolling whiteboards, laptop tables and chairs can also make your workspace flexible, and encourage collaboration.

A large part of the work we do is around collaborative design, be it bleachers, seating pods or breakout area. We can help incorporated the latest technology or a distinct resimercial feel depending on your requirements.

Other office design and build tips

Even in the era of open plan offices, teams can fall into the habit of segmenting themselves, and data can become siloed for ease of management. This makes it a good idea to use office space to encourage more cross-company communication and exchange. For example, having display systems and noticeboards to project or post information from devices into a larger format.

Having project team discussions in the middle of your open plan offices – when information is not sensitive – can also stimulate interest and discussion from your entire workforce.

At Paragon Design we are here to help and can share some great examples of how we have helped our clients create a collaborative culture through office design.