5 Ways to Transform Your Collaboration Through Clever Office Design

Posted on September 01, 2016


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 a majority of 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.

Enable Mobility

The most disruptive workplaces tend to embrace mobility. 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. These flexible working environments also make for happier, engaged teams.

More Breakout Areas, Less Meeting Rooms

If there aren’t enough quiet, sectioned off spaces in an office, staff will often wait for a meeting room to become available to have a quick chat. Ideas shouldn’t have to wait. Huge boardrooms on each floor are now commonly being substituted with smaller, flexible meeting spaces to enable more frequent collaboration. 

Leading-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, enabling instant meetings across time zones and devices. Enabling true real-time collaboration, cloud video capability has become a staple of the modern office.

Encourage Chance Encounters

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

Steve 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.

Vocus are great supporters of this theory. We’ve consolidated over 10 offices around Australia from various acquisitions. Whilst there’s great cost in doing this, we believe the improvements in productivity and culture far outweigh any downsides.    

We've invested heavily in high-speed networks in every site, advanced Video Conferencing access for every user, whether on Desktop, deskphone or Smartphone and kitted every meeting room with high definition Unified Communications equipment. We frequently see staff holding casual meetings in breakout areas and then head into meeting rooms and dial in other teams from other offices. Seamlessly and without interrupting the flow of their collaboration.

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.

Remote Connectivity

Cloud computing has extended the walls of the modern workplace, allowing employees to connect anywhere, anytime, and from any device.

As more businesses embrace flexible working arrangements, allowing their staff to work from home or on the move, cloud computing allows powerful mobility. Think flexible, secure access to networks, databases and documents, at any time, from any device. This is true connectivity.

In closing, if you’re trying to spark a culture of innovation in your workplace, ensure you’re giving employees the flexibility and resources they need to deliver on it. Look at your IT Infrastructure and whether it is just supporting, or transforming the business.

And look at your workspace. If your office space was last reviewed five years ago, are you still operating at the same pace from back then?

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