UK Office Design has a new impetus, whilst UK office furniture has new design fundamentals. Gone are the days when you simply set the office out and let the team “get on with it”. Today, much more is being invested in the design of the office and the furniture to improve performance. You might think, how on earth does design and layout alter performance?
Here we look at how the layout of an office, its design and furniture can in fact boost productivity and performance, and how some basic tips, if implemented properly, can boost collaboration. Think of your team working better together than ever before, where they see their roles as interdependent and interchangeable rather than individual. Where, by encouraging collaboration, you can improve performance. This is achievable, and these are the tips to help get you there…
Just What Is Collaboration
You think you understand collaboration, but what does it actually mean? Collaboration is about working with one or more people to achieve a goal. This may involve collectively creating content, brainstorming, etc. All perspectives are equally respected, brought together to leverage the group’s shared mind. There are several ways in which this can be achieved.
This is the perpetual sharing of knowledge on an ongoing basis in the real time of a working environment. So encounters with other members of staff can take place in engaging areas, face to face, which encourage fact sharing and planning.
It is necessary to consider the numbers of people within each area, and how spaces can be multi-purpose. “Eavesdropping” should be a learning experience and not a means of stifling individuals. Learning from what others do well, helps everyone going forward. It also allows the constant and steady exchange of information and skillsets.
Allow traditional analogue exchanges to take place in the same areas as digital. If you encourage sharing beyond team “borders” then all of the office benefits, and skills are fully utilised. It allows the firm to grow both individually and collectively. This sharing should be both verbal and digital and the layout of an office can assist with this.
Remember that not all communications are public however, and so you will need to ensure that there are private areas for individuals, for telephone and internet calls. Some zones need to be collective, others individual, and of course there will need to be a quiet zone, where noise cannot interfere with thought. Inputs are great, but we all need a moment to reflect, think and consider before moving on.
Giving individuals choice empowers and engages them, thus increasing their productivity. Of course there will also be the need for private meetings away from the rest of the team, for managers, elements of the team, or colleagues looking to hold private conversations.
Having no specific seats, means teams build, and cliques do not. “Hot-desking” between spaces can help an individual feel refreshed, revitalised and continually engaged. Areas will not go “stale”. Also, do not hide spaces away, it is commonly accepted that rooms that are too far away will not be utilised, so keep different spaces close to the main working areas.
Could anything be worse than being in a space, having an idea, but then nothing to note it on (whiteboard) or share it with others (pcs)? Ensure that the tools to document and thereafter share are available in all spaces. There is no point collaborating if after the idea, it remains just an idea.
The best ideas do not always happen at work, and the ability to share thoughts and inspirations should always be available, from the canteen to the home.
Collaboration is not something that people always feel comfortable with. Not all ideas are good or practical, and sometimes the thought of having one rejected may discourage the individual from sharing. However, when it is actively encouraged through innovative UK office design or from cutting edge and well-considered UK office furniture, then it becomes a standard practice and one that is comfortable for all. Only then will you fully utilise your best asset and get the best returns. That asset is your staff. How your office encourages and permits collaboration could be the difference between good and great. The choice is yours.
image source: unsplash