Not long ago, office collaboration was considered to be a fad of management theorists; a term that was used only by companies that were growing and couldn’t afford cabin space for individual employees. With the advent of companies like Google and Facebook, who have shown that collaboration has very direct benefits and it actually provides tangible value consequently changing that notion dramatically.
Beyond Google and Facebook, when it comes to smaller businesses which are still growing, installing a collaborative culture in an organization is not an easy task. It starts with the management putting collaboration a clear company policy and make it a part of the corporate narrative. At the same time, there are a few intuitive ways to build a collaborative work-space.
Here are a few of them:
1. Open office design to induce office collaboration
One of the simplest ways you can inject a collaborative working culture in the work-space is by adapting an open office design. An open office design is an office layout, devoid of cabins or dedicated pods for people. As a result, people are free to sit wherever they feel the most productive.
The principle behind these designs is that if there are no physical barriers in the office, the mental barriers will automatically go down. So people will naturally feel more connected, thereby inducing collaboration.
2. Creating dedicated spaces for office collaboration and using collaborative furniture
You can catalyse collaboration in ab by creating a few dedicated spaces for collaboration. Usually, office furniture is not considered to be a key ingredient in workplace collaboration, even though it has a clearly implicit role to play. You can trigger this by creating spaces or corners dedicated for activities like brainstorming or red team/blue team matches.
Collaborative furniture would simply mean furniture that not only does not inhibit collaboration but also motivates it. Usually, furniture that has a casual, bright and comfortable feel to it, tends to be seen more collaborative than uptight, formal and everyday furniture.
3. Making the office project-oriented instead of department oriented
Organizational structure plays a critical role in how the office and its inhabitants collaborate. Simply rearranging the office tables may not result in increased collaboration. A good way to do this can be by making the office designed in a project-oriented manner, instead of a department oriented manner.
For instance – you are building a set of features for a product. Now, your office is laid out in a way that the frontend and backend engineering teams sit by themselves, the design team by itself and the marketing team by itself. Under this new rule, you arrange each office desk in a manner that every person working on one project is in direct proximity to each other. Hence, communication lines are automatically shortened and collaboration is naturally inspired.
4. Having regular community meetings in the office
One of the key ways Google differentiates itself is by having community meetings, where the top management and product managers come and talk to the entire Google staff on campus. You can conduct a similar community meeting at least once a month, to talk about challenges, learnings and developments you have garnered as a business operator and as one company.
5. Respecting privacy while collaborating
As counterintuitive as it may sound – respecting privacy can lead to increased collaboration. Remember, you have to motivate collaboration and not make it mandatory. What you can do is, let the employees decide what works for them. If there are employees who seek more privacy at times, you can provide mobile partition screens or provide an acoustically designed space to minimize external noise.
The furniture you choose and the way you lay it out, will play an implied role in the collaboration you have at your office. So, take some of these ideas to use and see the collaboration at your workplace soar. But ensure that collaboration can never be forced; it should be actively encouraged and should be a part of your organizational setup.
When you are running a huge business, it might get difficult to get the right furniture to fit into your business goals. Don’t worry. We give you a free office furniture consultation. Drop us a message and our team will get the ball rolling for you!