Collaborative workspaces are a fantastic addition to any workspace that can drastically improve the efficiency of your workforce. Here, Penketh Group discuss just some of the ways a collaborative workspace can improve your business.
Working together for shared success
Collaboration is increasingly important in the offices of today. So much so that PGi’s 2015 research found that 88% of the millennial generation much prefer collaboration over competition in the workplace. Knoll Workplace Research came, in 2013, to another useful conclusion that faster innovation and the need for speed in decision making are the two biggest reasons that a workplace will provide collaborative workspaces.
When it comes to one person working on a task alone, it may take longer and will be inherently limited in its scope. With that in mind, facilitating collaborative working is a far more efficient usage of time, space, and personnel. One person could reach a suitable solution eventually, but several people collaborating will reach a better solution faster.
You should take this further by having the collaborative area be completely open in terms of discussion. That is, there should be far less consideration of rank within the company when collaborating, and more focus on the individual strengths members bring to the task. The most suitable member of staff will offer input at the time it is needed, which will lead to a balanced and effective solution upon completion; it’s a team effort leading to a shared solution, and not a case of supervisors leading their subordinates.
Different elements of a shared work space
But what is it that makes an effective collaborative workspace? Knoll suggest the best workspaces combine technology, proximity within the workplace, and a sense of privacy. Employees need to feel like there’s enough equipment in the area to work together through, and that it’s close enough to make use of. The sense of privacy is equally necessary as your employees need to feel comfortable enough to share free of judgement.
One of the biggest reasons companies don’t provide a shared workspace is budget. It can cost more to create one in an already established office than from scratch, so it’s important you plan for one as early as the conception of a new business, or set a timeline for its implementation in your established business.
Encouraging the self-awareness of staff
Even aside from productivity benefits, there are further benefits to be taken that will assist your staff in any task or environment. Knoll found that, for organisations, brainstorming is the most important collaborative behaviour for business success, and collaboration fosters this through bringing together different skillsets and ideas.
Outside of the group work itself, the wider benefit this approach provides is twofold: Firstly, staff become keenly aware of their strengths and weaknesses, knowing both where they are most effective for any business needs, and where they can improve to become further desirable as staff. Secondly, the collaborative approach will foster a sense of unity behind the task, and unity within the workforce as a whole – A workforce united behind company goals is a workforce with a desire to continually succeed.