Six Benefits of Collaborative Workspaces
By Jeff Revoy
Chief Operations Officer
Like any good business decision, the shift to a collaborative workplace should come on the heels of a benefits analysis. Is it worth making changes to the way your employees work? How will they specifically benefit? What’s the value proposition for the company? All are important drivers in the decision-making process. Thankfully, there are no shortage to the perks of collaborative workspaces.
Determining the benefits of a new collaborative floor plan also sets the standard by which you can measure them. When you know what you stand to gain, you can be proactive in measuring it. Take a look at six of the key benefits associated with collaborative workspaces.
1. Better space utilization
Collaborative workspaces bring people together in a shared environment. In doing so, they consolidate the amount of physical space needed to individually accommodate employees. In turn, it reduces cost, maximizes available workspace, and encourages better use of floor space.
Before changing your floor plan, calculate a space utilization rate and benchmark it. Then, look at the pure cost savings of shrinking your space, coupled with the new utilization rate after making the transition.
2. Improved employee socialization
Socialization is key bonus of a collaborative work environment. It’s much easier for employees to get to know one another and develop personal bonds when they share the same immediate workspace. Companies should encourage this type of informal communication, too. The close-knit friendships developed through daily collaboration lend themselves to a higher standard of work, both individually and as a member of the team.
3. Better business agility and flexibility
Collaboration space supports workers as they keep pace with the fast-paced business climate. Employees can tackle tasks quickly alongside peers. The graphic designer can get a copywriter’s input without sending an email. The front-end developer and database engineer can work together on a problem—instead of separately booking a time, date, and location .
Collaborative work environments speed up problem solving and productivity, while helping the business stay flexible and adapt to changing work.
4. Increased productivity and motivation
One of the great benefits of collaboration is the inspirational factor for teams. Isolation is a damper on productivity and motivation. Taking employees out of individual offices restores a team dynamic to the workplace and inspires positive feelings that overtake lethargy. Instead of struggling to stay awake in the early afternoon and counting the minutes until the end of the workday, employees in a group are more apt to stay engaged and alert.
Employees who are surrounded by others being productive is also a great source of motivation. The drive to contribute and pull their weight, as well as distinguish themselves as a valuable team member, is a force for betterment for many workers.
5. Pooled talent and insight
Collaborative workspaces are often purposefully diverse. The cross-exposure of skills, knowledge, and job duties highlights how employees’ work impacts the workplace a whole. The more workers know about their peers’ responsibilities and contributions, the more it improves their own jobs. Slowly, this streamlines work and encourages personal professional development.
Pooled talent also plays a role in problem solving. As the name implies, a collaborative workspace is an opportunity to attack problems at all angles and levels. It’s a real-world example of the old adage “more hands make less work.” The more people collaborating on a problem, the quicker the best possible resolution will arise.
6. More emphasis on workplace culture
Workplace culture is important, and largely determined by employee sentiment. Grouping people closer together and encouraging daily collaboration have a profound effect on how workplace culture is shaped. Socialization, problem-solving, and talent-pooling create a close-knit group that’s more likely to hold true to the values it deems important. Suddenly, your workforce becomes a community.
Companies that recognize collaboration’s effect on culture and embrace the ideals of its workforce will see positive growth. Strong culture attracts and retains workers, fosters positive sentiment at work, and encourages meaningful contribution.
Benchmark and grow through collaboration
These benefits are only afforded to companies that correctly approach collaborative floor plans. Identifying the benefits of collaborative workspaces is the first step. Understand how your employees and the business stand to prosper from the change. Then, communicate those ideals to encourage employee buy-in.
Don’t forget to benchmark the variables your business is seeking to improve—then measure against them over time. To what degree has collaboration improved X at your company? Realize that simply making the switch to collaborative workspaces isn’t always enough. Tweak and change the way your workplace functions or how your spaces are organized. Refine the way collaboration is executed to reap the best possible results.
Keep reading: learn the ins and outs on "what is a collaborative workspace"?