Workspace design can impact creativity, productivity, and innovation. For facilities managers, the key is to create an environment that best suits the diverse needs of today’s workforce, and implement the right communication tools that stimulates effective collaboration.
An article on HubSpot, a leading inbound marketing and sales platform, shares several innovative ways companies are creating a work environment that serves as a strategic playing field for productivity, collaboration and growth.
Thanks to wireless technology coupled with desktop and mobile applications like Skype for Business and Polycom RealPresence Mobile, employees no longer need to be bound to a single desk. Instead, they can move around their workspace and collaborate with in-office or remote working peers from different departments with technology in tow. This has led to many firms implementing a no assigned seating environment – known as “hot-desking” – to help create movement and promote greater collaboration within the workplace.
Square, a financial services and mobile payment company, experimented with a “hot-desking” environment and found that the setup improved workplace collaboration. According to Maja Henderson, Square’s global facilities manager:
“We do not want our employees sitting in one chair all day, because that’s not good for them and it’s not good for collaboration. We just get these really great intersections of people and ideas … Suddenly and randomly, we’ll have these conversations with people from finance, legal, design, and you get these collaborations that wouldn’t otherwise occur.”
Another example of a firm that has implemented a no assigned workspace is Goodman Group, a leading global industrial property management company. At their Sydney office, the company incorporated an Activity Based Working (ABW) environment called “Space to Work,” which supports specific employee activities they perform throughout the day – e.g. collaborate with peers, or think in isolation. Their ABW 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.
Of course, not all workstyles are the same. Some employees prefer to have an assigned workstation with the option to move their station with them as they please. Skullcandy, a Utah-based company that markets audio headphones, implemented a work environment in which employees can move and attach their desks to fit together like a puzzle. If employees want to work collaboratively with their peers or in isolation, then they can easily attach or detach their moveable desks.
Then there are the employees who do not mind having a shared desk with the entire company staff, also known as a “Super Desk.” The Barbarian Group, an interactive marketing firm, built a 4,400 square foot super desk that weaves through their 20,000 square foot office and can seat up to 170 people at once. For employees who prefer to work in a quieter area, this super desk lifts into large arches that have seats built underneath them.
While these modern office concepts help promote collaboration within the workplace, it is imperative that these environments also have the best communication tools in place to collaborate effectively face-to-face with remote working employees.
High-quality enterprise-grade video conferencing solutions, such as RealPresence Centro, are highly effective in open, larger space environments. RealPresence Centro comes equipped with a 360° camera, which provides high-quality panoramic viewing capabilities that capture everyone in the room. Employees can sit, stand, and walk around the room without ever worrying if they are still on camera or not. There are also four monitors, one on each side, which can display far-end participants.
More and more companies, along with the political and military alliance NATO, are building out spaces with the RealPresence Centro solution to create a more comfortable, intimate and natural means to collaborate and ideate. RealPresence Centro embraces natural human instincts and advanced technology to draw people together into a powerful, collaborative circle while serving as a collaboration and content-sharing hub.
Designing a workspace to meet the dynamic needs of today’s workforce is no easy challenge. Facilities managers must configure workspaces that enable employees the flexibility to move around, and implement the appropriate technologies to enhance collaboration, creativity, and productivity.