Many organisations today recognise that group work is central to success; however many often struggle to offer effective collaborative spaces within the workspace (1). Places for staff to congregate in a more social setting and not to be disturbed directly by the working environment are vitally important. They help to drive a cross-pollination of ideas, employee engagement and foster a sense of community, which can serve to strengthen a company’s culture. Sadly, these spaces are sometimes lost in a drive to increase density, which usually generates short term cost savings; however this can be counterproductive to the organisation’s overall aims (2). This article describes how spaces can be created for collaboration and interaction between employees both in terms of the physical indoor environment and the corporate culture, and the benefits this can bring to employees and their organisations.... Read the full article here.

Collaborative Spaces in a work environment



Read an online summary

Many organisations today recognise that group work is central to success; however many often struggle to offer effective collaborative spaces within the workspace (1). Places for staff to congregate in a more social setting and not to be disturbed directly by the working environment are vitally important. They help to drive a cross-pollination of ideas, employee engagement and foster a sense of community, which can serve to strengthen a company’s culture. Sadly, these spaces are sometimes lost in a drive to increase density, which usually generates short term cost savings; however this can be counterproductive to the organisation’s overall aims (2). This article describes how spaces can be created for collaboration and interaction between employees both in terms of the physical indoor environment and the corporate culture, and the benefits this can bring to employees and their organisations.

The space has to be the right size and conveniently located, open and readily accessible to employees. The search for far-flung meeting spaces can waste time, and discourage their use. Meeting spaces that are too large can make small groups feel uncomfortable and discourage their usage. To support informal interactions in small groups, meeting spaces should also offer a relaxed sensibility – the ‘casual feel’ is one of the more important characteristics of successful collaborative spaces (1). Bringing people together is only half of the solution of collaborative spaces. The business must support the employees and the spaces through the use of resources and corporate culture (3). The problem with some overtly social spaces within a work context, is that they do not feel or look like places where legitimate work is conducted. Thus, employees may avoid using these spaces for fear of looking like they are not working. In these spaces, casual social interactions must be protected by offering a ‘seriousness’ of the look and feel that projects a place where work gets done (1). The design of these sorts of spaces therefore needs to balance both the casual feel and a seriousness to meet the objectives. Gyprex tiles Non-perforated tiles with a sleek, smooth or textured finish for a minimalist look and easy to clean surface. Also available with our Bio antibacterial finish for hygienic areas. 57 Creating the space Collaborative spaces must offer auditory privacy for people to feel comfortable creating and sharing content or having frank discussions (1). The same is true of creating acoustic comfort in and around busy open plan environments to enable people to concentrate and not disturb others whilst collaborating with colleagues. To improve acoustic comfort in the workplace acoustical engineers and consultants traditionally use a method called “the A, B, C’s” (4). This convenient acronym describes the three factors that need to be controlled to achieve good speech privacy i.e., Absorption of sound waves (such as by using a high performance acoustic ceiling tiles), Blocking (such as by using high performance sound reduction partitions, walls, and windows, etc.) and Covering (such as adding a source of low-level background sound to counter the office noise). Gypsum-based plasterboards can enhance the interior aesthetic, including flexible boards for creating attractive curved walls and ceilings and drywall solutions with a choice of smooth or textured finish to complement the interior design (5). While straight walls deliver crisp, clean lines and are easy to work with, curved walls offer something rather different. They may not be as common, but walls that curve and bend automatically bring a sense of flow and energy to a room (6). This could be ideal for spaces where informal, social and creative interactions are desired.

Read on

Download full article

The combination of shifting employee expectations of group work interactions and the evolving needs of organisations is driving the need for better collaborative workspaces – benefiting employee engagement, operational excellence and the organisation’s innovation effort.