Collaboration in Office Design – Helpful Tips and Interesting Trends

Working together and working productively in an office space are two important features to help get the job done. Many new office spaces are designed to encourage employees to collaborate throughout the day, rather than keeping people separated inside individual office spaces. The definition of the term “collaboration” focuses on the action of multiple people working together to produce or create something.Perhaps not surprisingly, this focus on collaboration in the workplace is having an effect on office design trends. This focus on collaboration may be particularly important for people in certain fields like software engineering, product development and architecture, where teams of people with varied skillsets come together to deliver a unified service or create final end product.When designing a work place for maximum collaboration and productivity, it’s important to consider the balance of individual space and group meetings. According to OfficeSnapshot.com, it’s helpful to focus on rolling collaboration, density, and proximity. By focusing simultaneously on these features, you can more easily facilitate timely and dynamic exchanges throughout the day.

When considering office design, here are 3 tips to help you create an energetic atmosphere, while using the available space in multiple ways.Incorporate open work space into your plan. Make sure your office enables free exchange and connecting with others by offering people access to open work space. Office spaces that promote maximum collaboration feature zones and areas that are open to expansion and inclusion. This includes having easy access to plenty of seating and table space for team members choosing to collaborate.Forget assigned seating. A collaborative environment minimizes the need for individual desks and assigned seating. Everyone should feel free to discuss ideas and to solve problems collaboratively, despite the particular field or business area in which they choose to work.Foster a spirit of collaboration. Creative and team-like environments thrive on communication and this can be face to face or remote. Just because some employees may be located offsite does not mean that collaboration needs to break down. In fact some of the most productive and collaborative teams work with nearshore team members each and every day. New technologies like Skype make regularly ongoing communication and collaboration easy and affordable.

Some employees may have a personal preference for working in a single space, free from distraction. However, collaborative office spaces really encourage placing at least two people in every space, so that work is done as a unit.The creators of Google inspired an office environment that focused on fostering friendship formation. Embracing a “150-Feet From Food” rule, every part of Google’s New York office space is designed within a 150 feet proximity to a restaurant, cafeteria, or micro kitchen. This rule focuses on the “casual collide” of employees, which oftentimes results in “unplanned collaborations.”Steve Jobs took his inspiration from Google to create a new office space for Pixar. Jobs found that separating certain groups of employees physically only further discouraged collaboration and problem-solving throughout the company. He decided to integrate all employees with this new office design and their creativity prospered! John Lasseter, Pixar’s Chief Creative Officer, said that he’d “never seen a building that promoted collaboration and creativity as well as this one.”

There are several key features that Job’s believed to have been necessary and also successful for collaborative office spaces. He said that an open floor plan and high traffic areas encourage the unexpected communication. He stated that every office should feature common areas, and that offices should always be large enough to hold two or more people. Jobs believed in collaboration and togetherness to get the best job done. His exemplary work in office space design is evident through the success of his many business ventures and creations.When looking to create your own office space to inspire collaboration and creative problem solving, it is helpful to consider some of the proven tips coming from experts like Steve Jobs and others. An open floor plan always tends to be a safe bet, rather than closing off work spaces into a maze of individual offices.

David Easterling has been leading software development companies for more than 15 years. Starting his technology career as a partner with Everest Technologies, David decided to open his own company named Prosoft in 2003. Prosoft quickly became a leading software development and IT staffing firm in Louisville, Kentucky. Recognizing a need to offer more efficient and affordable custom software, agile programming, and web design solutions to growing businesses, David founded Prosoft Nearshore in 2008, with offices in Louisville, KY, and San Jose, Costa Rica. Prior to his career in IT management, David was the Director of Sales with Zellerbach in Virginia. He holds a degree from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. David is a Certified Scrum Master and is an active member of the Scrum and Agile User Group. He is also a member of the National Vistage CEO Leadership Group.