Fueling collaboration through workplace design

office-space

With so many collaboration tools available, it’s often difficult for enterprise decision-makers to choose the one that will work best for their employees.

One good way to avoid making a bad purchase or commitment is to seek employee input before choosing a collaboration platform. You can have what you believe to be the best collaboration software available, but if your employees don’t use it, then it’s essentially useless.

Even though more employees are working remotely, there are ways to enable collaboration beyond deploying technology. Over at Facility Executive, a site for creating intelligent buildings, contributor Luis De Souza argues that, done right, building and office design can have a big impact on collaboration. Unfortunately, office space typically isn’t designed with the needs of the end user in mind.

“This is because designers tend to design by their own experience and perception even though the standard processes have been thought through when creating the space,” De Souza says. “Organizations and their facility planners may not always describe what’s right for the end user as well.”

One result of this flawed process is unnecessary spending, De Souza writes:

Today tablets and smartphones have become the most common informal collaboration tools. For example, tablets are ideal for drawing ideas and concepts to quickly share with others. Dashboards and analytical tools make it easier to read data, while swiping a tablet or phone in your hand is often more engaging than traditional tools on a desktop or AV screening tools.

Organizations would benefit from reviewing their investments in high-end meeting rooms fully equipped with technology — the evidence is clear that smaller rooms may offer a better solution for collaboration.

So not only can enterprises save money by avoiding investments in fancy meeting rooms, they also can save money while enabling collaboration by letting employees use the self-purchased collaboration tools of their choice. Talk about a win-win!

Just as the best software is built around the needs of the end-user, workplace design is most effective when it begins from the user’s perspective and needs. Anything else is just guessing.

Is your workplace designed in a way that meets user needs for productivity and collaboration?

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