Designing for the Open Concept - Optimizing Collaboration

Many companies struggle to foster a culture that encourages collaboration. Collaboration can be tricky when you are dealing with different personalities and generations along with physical barriers such as individual offices and multiple floors. Creating a collaborative workspace is the first step toward encouraging a culture that nurtures creativity, open communication and esprit de corps among all employees. Let’s talk about how you can do that.

Environmental Features

One of the first things to consider in the space is where natural light is located, so that you can intentionally make that part of your design. Studies have shown that introducing natural light into your workplace can increase employee productivity and mood. Understanding where existing natural light or where additional natural light can enter the space is a great first step in fostering a collaborative environment.

Open Concept Design

Open concept design was developed to cultivate conversations among employees. Google removed barriers and encouraged conversations by introducing “vertical ladder chutes” between the floors that once separated the IT department from the designers and so forth. These “ladder chutes” were added to encourage employees to casually run into each other and create informal interaction between otherwise separated areas. Open environment concepts were designed to increase and improve communication between all departments and employees at all levels of the organization. Improved communication leads to better productivity.

Collaboration Tools & Technology

There are a variety of products and tools to help increase productivity and communication. In an open environment employees and their workspace are fluid. They are not tied to a specific desk or office and can work in a variety of locations and collaborate with any department at any given time. To make this possible, companies need to give employees technology and tools that allow employees to use common spaces for meetings or individual work. Promoting collaboration through designed huddle zones that include whiteboards and brainstorming tools for impromptu meetings is key to a culture that encourages collaboration.

Waddell, A GMi Company handcrafts display furniture for the education, corporate, and government markets and has been doing so for over 130 years. Our extensive experience allows us to evolve and create new products that promote collaboration and space division, while showcasing individuality. Learn more about our newest product that fosters communication by creating huddle zones in open environments: Pallet.