Collaborative working is rapidly becoming recognised as an effective tool for any business to encourage the development of new strategies and improvements, as well as a simple way to improve the efficiency of staff when it comes to completing tasks. Penketh Group discuss a few ways you can help your office collaborate effectively.

Creating collaborative workspaces

Some of the main issues that hinder effective collaboration between staff are simply their attempts to find a suitable workspace to do so, and time wasted trying to get technology working properly. It doesn’t have to be a large investment to create a collaborative space either. Even so, it will be better for your business to get a collaborative space right from the beginning. The alternative would be trying to incorporate one in an already designed and established office, which can cost a great deal more to implement.

Your first thought might be that a collaborative space has to be an overly formal and stuffy boardroom, but even just having an open plan office design can foster limited collaboration on its own. All staff really need is a comparatively informal and semi-private space where they feel able to openly discuss ideas free of any risk of judgement. Even just having an open plan office design can foster limited collaboration on its own.

What to include

Technology is probably the most important cornerstone when it comes to encouraging collaboration. Staff should feel like their productivity isn’t reduced while they’re away from their main workstation. Make sure to provide full Wi-Fi coverage and the ability to connect to any projector screens for presentations.

The ability to facilitate video conferencing is also important, as it can allow group discussions with clients to further develop effective business strategies, or collaboration between foreign branches of a business, turning their expertise into shared expertise.  Laptops can be a useful investment to facilitate this instead if your office is especially tight on space and more informal.

Make use of wall space or open floor by bringing in a number of whiteboards. Quickly brainstorming on an erasable surface and developing from there is a simple starting point for any collaborative session. Having several of these allows different groups and teams within your office to collaborate internally without stopping others continuing from their collaborative efforts.

With noise being a key concern in any office, investing in any form of noise-reduction equipment to combat that will certainly foster further collaboration in an office, and this is especially the case if you are pressed for space and need to do so in the middle of an open plan office. Furniture with noise-cancelling, acoustic properties is becoming more widespread, and takes up little to no extra space. For example, putting one acoustic divider panel up can reduce noise greatly and encourage the team to collaborate without much effort needed.

Effective and well thought out design for your office is key to any businesses’ long term success, and the same goes for making sure your team is able to work together as effectively as possible within that space. Get it right first time, and you will reap the benefits in the future.