IMPROVING EMPLOYEE COMMUNICATION THROUGH COLLABORATIVE WORKSPACES

The way your work environment is structured has a significant effect on communication and productivity. The design of an office space has the power to make or break a company’s overall effectiveness by impacting performance, morale and company culture. In order to compare, let’s take a look at two different office spaces in detail.

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Open Offices:

Open offices are becoming increasingly popular. The idea is that an open workspace without private cubicles or walls helps foster more creativity and brings everyone together in an open forum to share ideas and interact more effectively. For instance, GlaxoSmithKline, the medical giant, found that email traffic dropped by 50% when it switched to open office spaces, in addition to decision-making speed increasing by 25%. Open plan offices can also be a huge time saver and a more cost-effective solution to get all units of a company involved in seeing a work process through.

Unfortunately, there is a thing such as too much communication with open office spaces. While it’s easier to talk to colleagues and hold spontaneous mini-meetings, open plan offices can be noisy and chaotic, often distracting employees and disrupting workflow.

Closed Offices:

Professor Tina Seelig at Stanford University states, “Space is a key factor in each of our habitats because it clearly communicates what you should and shouldn’t be doing. If you work in an environment that is stimulating, then your mind is open to fresh ideas. If, however, the environment is dull and confining, then your creativity is stifled”.

Robert Propst pioneered the idea of cubicles by calling them ‘Action Offices’, however, his designs and ideas were commercial failures. While closed spaces allowed the individual to focus on their job and in some cases, increased productivity, they also created isolation and team division. Not only do closed workspaces hinder effective communication, they are expensive to build, take up a lot of space and make employee supervision more challenging.

Solution?

Most companies have implemented a mix of open and closed office layouts. Research shows that by grouping teams, not only do they communicate better, but they yield more positive results. By implementing open plan offices, you’re working towards improving employee camaraderie, breaking communication barriers and evoking a sense of unity. Given than people spend nearly a third of their day at work, it is vital that the office environment is positive, welcoming and helps focus on improving on productivity. How is that possible? By giving your employees a safe, fun and the right office space that encourages collaboration and teamwork.

Points to Remember:

When designing and planning office spaces, here are a few things to consider:

– Create flow zones: Designate boardrooms or quiet workspaces that can be booked by employees when they want to get away from the noise and focus.

– Desk pods: Focus on the layout. For instance, sitting in a circle provokes a collective mind-set. Arrange desks in a manner that improves communication to make your team feel united.

– Invest in décor: Think about pastel or neutral wall shades, pieces of art and furniture that evoke a sense of happiness and calm. Create an office environment that livens up team spirits.

– Natural light: Light is a mood enhancer, therefore it’s important that you let in lots of it. However, do ensure that your team members are safe from light glares on their computer screens or aren’t sat under lights that constantly buzz.

– Cooling and ventilation: As basic as this is, it’s important that workspaces are well-ventilated and airy – no one enjoys feeling likes sardines in a can!

– Personalisation: Allow employees to personalise their desk spaces. Be it a pot plant, a photo frame or an accessory of their choice – they’ll be happier to come back to a place that feels familiar.

Be mindful of the drawbacks and advantages of different office layouts. A balance of spaces needs to be achieved in order to improve productivity, overall communication and make employees feel comfortable at work. Therefore, ensure that you’re aware of what workspaces your employees would feel happier in, because their performance impacts your business as a whole.

Still not sure, which way to go for office layout? Speak to one of our team members at +971 43 881 163 or let us know and we will call you back.