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5 ways to boost collaboration in your organisation

Posted on September 01, 2016

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We are operating in the era of disruption - bold thinking and big ideas are more valuable than ever before. As businesses look for new ways to enable collaboration, office design and tech is becoming more intuitive, and more integrated.

Harvard Business Review conducted a study that found most staff in organisations worldwide don’t feel they have the necessary resources to innovate in their role. So, if you’re expecting your staff to lead the charge, it might be time to ask yourself, “Have I created a connected workspace that truly enables collaboration?”

We’ve rounded up 5 key design and tech features of connected workplaces. Read on to find out how you can enable innovation right from the ground up.

1. Enable mobility

Enable your teams to work from any location and on any device with the latest collaboration tools and services. Unified communications solutions offer voice and video calling plus a suite of integrated features which can include multi-party video conferencing, instant messaging, presence awareness, file and desktop sharing services, and many more.

2. More breakout areas, fewer meeting rooms

Think moveable office plans and hot-desking. These setups allow businesses the flexibility to restructure their teams based on project and wider company needs. They can also allow staff to move around on an activity basis, collaborating with people who are involved with the project they are working on. Large boardrooms are now commonly being substituted with smaller, flexible meeting spaces to enable more frequent collaboration.

3. Cutting-edge video conferencing

Video conferencing is no longer bound to a meeting room with a screen and camera. Cloud technology allows staff to connect on a one-to-one level or multi-party conference, enabling instant meetings across time zones and devices. Enabling real-time collaboration through cloud video capability has become a staple of the modern office.

4. Remote connectivity

Cloud computing has extended the walls of the modern workplace, allowing employees to connect to the corporate network and access confidential data and information from anywhere, anytime, on compatible devices.

5. Encourage chance encounters

Nothing hinders great work more than smart teams who are working in silos. When Steve Jobs designed the Pixar offices, he planned them to avoid that very issue. Pixar’s previous headquarters divided teams across three separate buildings, with animators, engineers, and operations staff all spread across the campus.

Steve Jobs envisioned a connected workplace where impromptu encounters were frequent, redesigning the space with a huge atrium at its centre to spark serendipity and nurture collaboration. Jobs applied this theory again when proposing the design for Apple Campus 2. The design features over 83,000 square feet of space dedicated to meeting and breakout areas.

Our approach

We love this idea and have taken it onboard as we’ve consolidated more than 10 offices around Australia. Whilst there are some costs involved in doing this, we believe the improvements in productivity and culture far outweigh any downsides.

We've also invested heavily in high-speed networks on every site, provided video conferencing functions via Zoom for every user, and kitted every meeting room with high-definition unified communications equipment. We frequently see staff holding casual meetings in breakout areas and then heading into meeting rooms to dial in teams from other offices. It's been such a great success that we now actively encourage external parties to video-in to meetings to extend the benefits beyond our offices.

If you’re trying to spark a culture of collaboration in your workplace, ensure you’re giving employees the flexibility and tools to work effectively, regardless of where they are. Review your communications systems and IT infrastructure to ensure it can enable and support your workplace transformation.

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