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May 11, 2016

Tips for a Successful Collaborative Space

Shared by Senior Designer, Jennifer Newton

Businesses today want to be more innovative and collaborative, but what does that mean and how is it achieved?  Integrating technology into a collaborative workspace has become far more complex than just plugging into a projector.

Understanding a company’s culture, environment and security needs, are necessary when designing an effective collaborative space.  Simply placing lounge seating in a space does not achieve collaboration, it’s the location of that setting within the plan and the work tools provided that does.  Consider the type of collaborative meeting you want to achieve.  Dyadic work, small group collaboration and large group presentation all require different needs in regards to technology and furnishings.  The most successful approach is to offer several different collaboration destinations throughout the space, giving people the choice to use the setting that best supports their meeting style.

Collaborative meetings can happen in open or closed rooms, sitting, standing or lounging, and with or without technology.  Quick meetings, or those involving a small group, can be in an open area where brainstorming and metrics can be shared and made visible, whether it is on a white board or display monitor.  On the other hand, meetings requiring telephone, web or video conferencing belong in a closed room.  Traditionally, presentation type meetings have happened seated around a large table, but do they have to?  Consider standing height where multiple users can walk up, connect and share their content.  Lounge seating infers a casual meeting that promotes conversation.  While whiteboards may be present, these are often open areas or rooms that can provide a chance to unplug from technology.

Incorporating a reservation system for a few meeting spaces, as well as some non-reserable spaces, allows employees to grab them when needed for impromptu meetings.  Making all rooms reservable can cause employees to “save” rooms for fear they will not be able to find one when needed.   A balance and ample amount of both reservable and non-reserable is key, so employees are not wasting time wandering the space looking for a place to meet.

Balancing the various types of meeting spaces in relation to the number of employees means optimal collaboration ratios.  However, the location of these spaces and the products provided is critical to their success.  In order for this to be achieved, both design and audio visual companies must work closely together in the beginning and throughout the process.  Now ask yourself, where are you today with collaboration and where do you want to be in the future?  For more information on how collaboration is shaped by space, check out turnstone’s blog.