Are meetings a great use of employee time? Or just another distraction adding to workplace stress and burnout? Businesses are finding good collaborative workplace design reaps benefits for not only employee health and wellbeing, but also improves efficiency and productivity in the workplace.
A recent CIPD report into health and wellbeing at work found that workload remains by far the most common cause of stress at work. Inefficient use of time can be a major contributing factor to this stress, and unnecessarily long or unproductive meetings are often cited as a culprit.
Smart firms are now considering how improving the design of collaborative workspaces can reduce these inefficiencies, and improve employee communication. The aim is a move away from the more formal, scheduled meetings with large numbers of (often unnecessary) participants in a closed-off room, and instead to provide employees with a range of inspiring spaces designed to meet the needs of a wide variety of occasions.
The right type of environment can have a huge impact on the speed of decision making, and foster a culture of openness and innovation. By creating pockets of space around the office suitable for both one to one chats, informal small group catch ups and then larger, open, tech-enabled areas for group work, employees are empowered to choose what is right for them at any given time throughout the working day.
What does collaborative workspace design look like in 2018?
Smart use of acoustic design and a trend towards open partitions rather than solid walls means that shared group work spaces are becoming more visible. This allows for a greater pollination of ideas between teams, as work previously hidden behind closed doors becomes shared, and accessible. Employees who feel they are able to make valuable contributions to their team, and communicate well with colleagues report greater overall job satisfaction. Increasing this type of engagement in a workforce can have a knock-on boost on overall productivity, and a reduction in stress-related absences.
Enabled by technology
Successful collaborative workspaces are supported by technology. Ensuing that charging points, wifi and screens are easy to reach and use allows for fewer interruptions and improves people’s ability to quickly meet, share information and interact with one another in the workplace – whether in a one to one meeting pod, or in more structured group whiteboard spaces.
Informal and creative
As the lines between work and home blur through the increase in flexible working and new technologies, so does the trend towards a more casual way of communicating. Providing informal soft seating areas like beanbags, or armchairs or low level smart seating can help employees feel more relaxed, which in turn improves communication and allows for the freeform discussion of ideas.
So whether it’s a team huddle with a coffee, a focussed project team session or simply a private space for a quick one to one chat, offering a range of collaborative workspaces for employees makes for a happier, and more productive workforce overall.
CMI Workplace are experts in helping businesses design flexible, inspiring collaborative workspaces. Why not give us a call to discuss how we can help improve your team’s efficiency and productivity on 01908 224160.