Workplace collaboration drives innovation. But not just any kind of collaboration—the kind that sparks breakthrough ideas comes from people working together specifically to solve problems and develop new insights and solutions.
This type of work also requires people to be more creative than ever before. According to Steelcase’s research on the future of work, over 82% people surveyed are asked to be creative at work either weekly or daily, yet only 25% of people believe that they can be creative in places currently available for group work.
With creativity becoming more important and as people work more in distributed teams, whether across a campus or across the ocean, people struggle to build connections with coworkers when the places where they work don’t support and augment necessary interactions. Teams need places (both virtually and physically) that allow them to see their teammates comfortably, hear each other clearly and share information easily so they can build the “shared mind” that is necessary to bring creativity and innovation to fruition.
Insights when designing for collaboration:
- Incorporate prototype or pilot spaces prior to implementation
- Let it roll – literally. Use furniture on casters that can be easily reconfigured
- Create zones within the floorplan, including spaces dedicated to individual and group work
- Integrate technology so it’s simple, useful and supports the work required
- Support both analog and digital collaboration
- Use ancillary furniture to add a social hub, such as a work café, to support informal connections
Key principles when designing a collaborative workplace:
- Help teams reach common ground by creating spaces with standing-height worksurfaces that encourage democratic participation
- Allow teams to make a space “theirs” by giving them the freedom to reconfigure and customize the space to fit their needs
- Create social areas near workspaces to promote informal and/or impromptu interactions, and community building
- 5 Types of collaborative office furniture and tech tools
- 6 Collaborative space ideas with demountable walls
- Why a personalized workplace improves employee wellbeing