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How to encourage collaborative working in your office

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Collaboration can be extremely lucrative in business. When a diverse spectrum of strengths and perspectives are working together, there’s more opportunity to nurture creativity and spark better ideas. Having collaborative working practises in place provides the potential to attract the best talent, bolster productivity and increase staff morale.

Fostering a collaborative environment doesn’t happen overnight though, it requires careful consideration, a design which captures the spirit of your business and the correct ergonomic set up. You don’t have to have an office which spans many floors or significant square footage. You can carve out these targeted zones no matter your space. We’ve come up with five suggestions for kinds of areas you might want to include:

1. Create an Informal breakout area

Embrace the modern concept of informal breakout areas within your office - think relaxed seating such as beanbags or snug sofas. Creating a place to relax and hold informal meetings provides the opportunity to free up new ideas, which may have been held back by a more formal setting.

Encourage people to take themselves away from their desks and spend time working in a different environment. It’ll leave them feeling refreshed and in turn, more productive. Besides, building bonds and developing healthy relationships is important and an informal breakout area poses the opportunity for more colleague interaction. Prepare the space for ideation sessions and problem solving, by including Post-it® Easel Pads. These pads fit into a normal easel frame, and the sheets can be torn away and stuck on the wall with the adhesives they’re backed with. It’s a great way to frame ideas and keep track of group suggestions. 

2. Dedicate an area to ideation

Dedicate one area of your office to ideas, a place where innovative new concepts can form and develop. To facilitate the ideation process and a whiteboard wall can be a key component. If you’re in need of a convenient solution for getting this area set up within your office, Post it® brand has a range of products ideal for a quick transformation. The Post-it® Dry Erase Surface is easily unrolled, and sticks straight to the wall with no need for any DIY. The range comes in different sizes, so you can choose the right product to fit your space.  

3. Remove barriers with an open desk area

Transform a traditional desk area into a completely open co working space with zero barriers between desks. An open plan office and a closer proximity to a mixture of colleagues allows for impromptu ideas, generates a sense of camaraderie and makes for easier communication.

As well as those all-important desks and chairs, design your space with natural light and air quality in mind. Research suggests that these two factors have been deemed important in creating an effective workplace. Greenery around desks areas provide a much-needed dose of nature – plants can simultaneously clean the air and boost productivity by 15%, studies  have found. 

4. Support colleague interaction with a conversation hub

Research shows tea, coffee and refreshment facilities top the list for the most important service features of an effective workplace. Beating even WiFi network connectivity, a canteen or refreshment area is perfect for conversations, socialising and taking a break from work. It’s an essential space which can quickly become a hub for collaboration, encouraging people from different teams to interact. 

Invest in essentials, such as a good coffee machine, and furniture and equipment that helps facilitate productivity. These could include tables big enough for group sessions, and having a supply of Post-it® Big Notes to help support collaborative efforts. Although not an essential, tech can play an important role in a conversation hub too. Screens which are large enough for the whole team to see, can really help with reviewing documents or files and help to speed along meetings.  

5. Give big groups space to work in conference rooms

Provide a dedicated space for internal meetings, client appointments and prospective employee interviews. It’s important to offer ample private space for presentations or to hold conference calls. A meeting table is a must, along with comfortable chairs, vital tech and a water machine. 

Being clever with your work space can ultimately help your business achieve its aims. If you want your business to work collaboratively, begin by refreshing your office environment, then take further steps to encourage this type of thinking in other areas of your company.

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