Revamp Your Office Space July 17 2015

Are you trying to redesign your office but are at a cross roads of how to do so? Aaron Aders, Co-founder and CSO of DigitalRelevance reveals five of his best tips on how to design your workspace to promote teamwork and effective work (full text here). These tips tap into more than just aesthetics but also focus on what people need to collaboratively and creatively work together, because let’s be honest teamwork is the cornerstone of a successful business. Follow these guidelines when making decisions on how to design your office and you are sure to have operations running smoothly.

When completing the re-design process it is important to balance open work spaces with private work spaces. Without this balance, productivity can be seriously impacted. Barbara T. Armstrong, contributor for Forbes (full text here), explains that with an open work-space there are many conversations going taking place which can create distractions and take over a person’s working memory. In this type of environment, there are many factors that can hinder productivity; therefore private spaces should be provided to counter the open work spaces. These work areas should be available for people to go to when they need to focus and do not need to collaborate with their co-workers. But with too many private work spaces, collaboration is hindered. Having both options and choice is crucial to having effective operations.

Combining open work spaces and private work spaces isn’t the only way to motivate your employees to work hard, below are 5 tips on how Aaron Aders promotes collaboration in his office.  

Rule #1: Collaborative Workspaces

Collaboration is a major part of business operations and studies suggest that working together increases creativity. Along with using programs such as Dropbox and Google which promote teamwork over the internet, there are ways to have this teamwork and creativity in an office setting. First, Aders suggests that to encourage group work and diverse thinking, all cubicles get replaced with large tables so people can work together. Along with this, large white boards should be readily accesible for employees to write down their ideas and visually work with others to solve a problem. Providing the space for collaborative work is essential, without it employees would have to uncomfortably crowd in a cubicle if they wanted to work together, which can severely halt the creative process. 

Rule #2: Promote Playfulness

To create a team environment, create multipurpose stations that attract many of your employees from different departments of the company. For example, have a break lounge that contains a refrigerator and microwave and a larger (conference sized) table. With this setup, co-workers can mingle and form relationships that foster creativity and a team environment.

Rule #3: Bring Nature Indoors

Have you ever noticed how alert and awake you feel when you are surrounded by fresh air, sunlight, and fresh plants? Why not bring these elements to the office? Studies suggest that efficiency increases by 12% when plants are present because of heightened awareness and productivity. Not only does it make the office more visually appealing but makes the workers happier. So introduce the outdoors to the indoors: Add a green wall, plant a few flowers, and pull back the curtains. It will make the workplace a fun place to be!

Rule #4: Privacy

Where being able to collaborate and express ideas openly with coworkers is important, having spaces for more private conversations is as equally important. These spaces should be readily available for employees and less formal than a conference room. Companies such as Google have begun to implement this style of room in their offices for meetings and more serious conversations.  

Rule #5: Culture

Creating a positive environment that encourages employees to work hard is crucial for any business. To achieve this sense of a company culture, employees’ successes should be showcased. Having a team atmosphere instills confidence and encouragement within the workers which improves many facets of business operations.