“Collaboration is not simply interaction between two colleagues, it involves two or more individuals working towards a common goal and creating a new product (e.g. an idea, solution or insight) beyond what they could have achieved individually.”
A fundamental to office design is facilitating collaboration spaces and breakout zones to enable these interactions. These spaces can be a melting pot for new ideas which can benefit all in the longer term. Furniture can aid this; a glass wall creates transparency, or a round table can create a more informal dynamic for a meeting.
Once collaborative work has taken place, employees may need a space to action their tasks; normally requiring concentration. Collaboration spaces, especially in open-plan offices, can introduce distractions. Therefore factoring in concentration spaces is a key design element.
Five factors that are considered to improve workplace concentration are:
- Provide a great Variety of work settings, including private and open areas.
- Give people the Choice over where, how and when they work. This enables employees to select a location that fits the type of work, the attention and activity needed, and where they work best at what time of day.
- Give employees Control over their work environment. Allow them to choose when they interact socially with co-workers, and manager their own lighting, temperature and work processes.
- Create a Legible and clutter-free work environment. This enables employees to easily find colleagues, understand the intended use for each workspace, and providing ample storage leaves clutter at bay. This makes it easier for employees to spend their time actually working, rather than finding a way to work.
- Provide appropriate space for Recharging. After completing intense focused work, a re-charge of the batteries will be needed. This could be a minibreak for a healthy snack, stepping out to a lounge area, getting outside and going for a walk, or simply a view of the outdoors to pause from focused work.