“Innovate or die” is the mantra for business success today. Any company can come up with one or two great ideas, but to consistently innovate takes more than just hiring the right employees. Companies need to invest in creating a work environment that supports innovation, which includes proper workspace design and collaboration technologies to foster critical human interactions.

Gensler & Associates, a leading American design and architectural firm, recently published an article explaining results from their annual workplace survey on the relationship between workspace design and innovation. Their study findings revealed that “48 million U.S. workers are working in an environment that is not set up to help them innovate, which is costing companies billions of dollars in lost revenue each year.”

Three critical goals to help bridge the gap between workspace design and innovation include:

  • Supporting the individual
  • Supporting the team
  • Supporting the community

To best support the individual, companies need to focus on creating a work environment that helps employees get their work done more efficiently. Noise management, limiting distractions, and ease of access to resources and amenities are important things to consider when designing an office that caters toward individual needs.

Another important aspect to consider when designing a work environment is meeting rooms, and how these spaces are arranged with the right furniture and collaboration technologies to support innovative teams. The once standard conference room with a large table and matching chairs are vanishing within companies. Innovative enterprises have modern meeting rooms that encourage collaboration, which inspires greater innovation.

Lastly, companies need to design their workplace to support the internal community workforce and their efforts to innovate. Many enterprises recognize that not all work styles are the same, which is why more companies are designing work environments that better address various work activities while providing the latest technologies that encourage collaboration.

Gerson Lehrman Group (GLG), a global leading platform for professional learning and knowledge is an example of a firm that benefits from the design of their workplace that best supports the community. GLG incorporated an Activity Based Working (ABW) environment at their corporate headquarters, which relies on the premise that no employee owns or has an assigned workspace. Instead, the ABW environment inside GLG headquarters provides employees with variety in the office – known as “neighborhoods” – to support specific activities employees perform throughout the day.

Goodman Group, a leading global industrial property management firm, is another example of a company that benefits from a work environment that better supports the workforce. Similar to GLG, the company incorporated an ABW environment at their Sydney office to better support varying work styles called “Space to Work.” This environment also comes equipped with a complete end-to-end unified communications platform with Microsoft® Lync and Polycom video conferencing solutions to enhance the overall collaboration experience between colleagues located in disparate regions.

Collaboration and innovation feed off each other. As Gensler’s research revealed, “innovators work away from the office 26 percent of the time” and, “higher performing, more innovative workplaces are 10 percent more collaborative than less innovative workplaces.”

With more and more employees working remotely, companies need to ensure workspaces incorporate the right collaboration solutions to achieve greater innovation. This is why enterprises continue to leverage video as the de-facto communication standard when employees cannot meet in-person, but need to collaborate.

Companies such as AOL (acquired by Verizon), Prologis, and MBlox have created these type of “Workplace of the Future” environments with video communication platforms to transform collaboration and innovation from within. A recent Polycom e-book entitled, The New Facility: A Guide for Creating Workspaces that Work shares how many enterprises have designed their environments to achieve greater innovation with the aid of video collaboration solutions.

Companies cannot be competitive if they don’t have the right people, office infrastructure, and technologies in place. To better support individuals, teams, and the internal community workforce, enterprises need to incorporate efficiently designed workspaces with the right collaboration solutions to achieve greater innovation.