Active design, human-centered and biophilic design as well as accommodating the need for balance and choice in the work environment have been highlighted as the key principles for designing the modern workplace. Last, but certainly not least is the principle of collaboration. While the open office movement was considered to be an approach to enhancing collaboration, exposing employees to one another just by limiting physical barriers is not truly the best way to encourage team building and idea sharing. As demonstrated with the exploration of the other principles, an office environment needs to have a variety of work spaces to support different work habits, styles and circumstances that vary throughout the day.

As referenced in our discussion of balance and choice, the Teknion research states–“The office is a place for creativity and collaboration, requiring spaces that support fluid and spontaneous interactions—but also quiet spaces that minimize noise and the potential for disruption when thinking, analyzing, writing and reading. People need a place to withdraw from the flow of activity and also want to control noise.” 

In order to encourage collaboration there needs to be a balance between places to retreat as well as places to connect. When a work space is designed to support collaboration, “it supports groups as they scale in: size, formality, tech needs and learning styles.” 

 Consider: 

  • Impromptu meeting space that supports on-the-fly discussions
  • Casual seating 
  • Destinations for dispersed team members to connect 
  • Specific brainstorming rooms 
  • Private spaces 
  • Adaptable spaces that can support different modes of work and quiet reflection 
  • Team areas that can be easily reconfigured to support specific project needs 
  • Formal spaces equipped with communication technology 
  • Moveable screens to create flexible gathering space and address privacy 

By designing an office that offers varied experiences across a floorplate, you encourage movement. That movement supports the health of your employees while increasing opportunities for spontaneous interactions and impromptu collaborations. Connections to the outdoors, outdoor spaces or biophilic design elements also support employee well-being and allow employees to recharge or offer a stimulating collaborative setting.  

See where are we going with this? All of the principles explored in the Teknion research study come together to create an employee-centric work environment. By prioritizing the health and well-being of your employees, the design process begins to reshape the workplace. There is not a one-size-fits-all answer, the modern workplace is designed to provide choices. The ability to alter how and where one works throughout the day increases productivity and work satisfaction. It takes the investment in your office to a whole new level. When you consider the ROI, what value do you put on employee health, happiness and work satisfaction? 

If you want to learn more about fostering collaboration in the workplace check out the following link below and evaluate your current office environment and learn how you can implement principles of the modern workplace.

http://www.teknion.com/ca/inspiration/a-d-newsletter/teknion-launches-flagship-downtown-toronto-collaboration-hub