Though it’s not an immediately obvious connection, workplace design plays an important role in helping organizations to remain relevant and ahead of the competition. When facilities teams implement optimized work environments with the right collaboration technologies, enterprises fully unlock creativity from their employees to help drive faster innovation.

Workplace experts suggest three key areas of investment companies are making to enhance workplace collaboration: culture, technology, and intelligent workspaces.

With regards to culture, according to Forrester Consulting research, one of the top problems companies face is that teams are not as productive or engaged as they could be. This is causing a slowdown in the idea-creation process, which leads to the inability to develop innovative solutions fast enough.

Creating a collaborative culture is a primary focus among enterprises to help drive business forward. To help build a collaborative culture companies should focus on celebrating the unique attributes of individuals and rewarding group outcomes, such as team wins. Also, with more and more enterprises operating with globally dispersed teams, it is imperative that both in-house and remote employees have access to the same technologies to bridge communication gaps and keep this culture alive.

Help Scout, a popular web-based help desk designed for a great customer experience, uses video for effective internal collaboration to enhance employee relationships and culture among their remote work teams. The company features a fun, weekly video series that keep the remote team up to date about latest features for their customers, company-wide news, birthdays, and more.

It is also important to promote a culture in which all employee voices are heard for different viewpoints and ideas to be brought to the table.  Video is an excellent way to support a more honest and vocal culture as this environment has been proven to increase productivity and collaboration.

When it comes to the second imperative – technology – great facilities leaders understand the imperative of moving technology from being a feature of the workplace to being the foundation of it. Providing technologies employees are familiar with that enable a seamless mobile experience will help drive more efficient workplace collaboration and greater user adoption. Solutions like Skype for Business and Polycom RealPresence Mobile are essential tools for keeping a workforce connected, especially as employees move out of traditional offices and workspaces.

Forrester found that 41 percent of employees now spend more time away from their desk than they did two years ago. This means workplace design needs to incorporate technologies that allow for multiple employees to come together and ideate at the same time, regardless of where employees may be located. These collaboration technologies also need to provide a high-quality experience that enables more effective interaction to capture better what is actually being said around the room.

The Polycom RealPresence Centro is an example of some of the innovative ways technology can make the distance between local and remote employees less relevant. Instead of hanging remote participants on a wall to be forgotten, remote employees are displayed on the four monitors in the center of the meeting space.

For far end participants, instead of seeing the “bowling alley” effect of the local participant at the end of long conference table, they see a 360 degree view of the room. When someone in the room starts speaking, the RealPresence Centro provides a larger, more detailed view of the speaker. The result is a level-playing field for people in the room and across the room allowing participants to be more active and engaged in their conversations and drive collaboration forward.

For the third imperative – intelligent workspaces – facilities leaders must address the fact that employees work on a variety of projects and teams throughout the day. Today’s best workplaces understand the way people work and collaborate with each other, and they offer flexible choices based on the task at hand.

A recent article here on WorkSpace Today highlights a few examples of firms that have incorporated modern office designs to promote better collaboration. Companies such as Goodman Group, a leading global industrial property management company, incorporated an Activity Based Working (ABW) environment called “Space to Work,” which supports specific employee activities they perform throughout the day. 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.

Designing a work environment with the right technologies is a tall order for facilities teams. By focusing on creating a collaborative culture with the right tools and intelligent work spaces, facilities teams can help employees drive more meaningful collaboration and creativity, which helps enterprises drive innovation faster.