For better or for worse, over the past two years, collaborative workspaces have been a widely talked about trend in the office furniture and interior design industries. They allow employees to easily interact with each other. In my experience, some workers (extroverts) are all for collaborative workspaces, stating that they increase problem solving abilities and allow them to form deeper relationship with their team. On the other hand, employees (introverts) who crave privacy rather pick up a phone, send an email, or meet in a designated conference room to collaborate. Your best bet is to create spaces for both personality types.
How to Design a Collaborative Workspace1. Floor plan, floor plan, floor plan.
Layout office desks, chairs, and other furniture in a way that allows employees to easily access each other. For example, you might have desks placed in a U shape with sofas in another U shape in the middle. Examples of other layouts include:
2. Opt for shared desks or tables over cubicles.
A table such as this Paoli Veneer Conference table does not need to be restricted to a conference room. It can be used in place of desks made for one person.
3. Comfort is key.
Studies have shown that employees are more productive when they are comfortable. Carefully choose ergonomic furniture, such as this Allsteel Relate Mesh Back Task Chair:
Sofas such as these are perfect for informal meeting areas:
HON Park Avenue Lounge Chair
Paoli 4 Square Reception Chair4. Incorporate technology.
Ditch that old desktop computer and opt for a laptop. Laptops save space and give employees the flexibility to take their work wherever they go such as multiple workspaces. Top off with a dry erase board and keep a projector on hand. Don’t forget to make sure your workspaces are equipped with plenty of power outlets.5. Natural light beats out artificial light.
Whenever possible, let the sun shine in. As noted in a Psychology Today article, natural lighting improves workplace performance. By eliminating cubicles as part of a collaborative workspace design you allow light to freely flow instead of being blocked.
After you design your space, head over to our Facebook page and post a photo. We would to see how your collaborative workspace turned out.