The concept that “one size fits all” when it comes to working environments has shifted. It is not about open vs. closed spaces anymore; each organization is different and has a unique set of requirements needed to achieve performance goals. Offices should reflect the needs of their employees by evaluating what type of unique areas will create the best environments that support the overall goals of the business. For example, Washington REITs considered two aspects of their business when executing their workplace design. On one hand, the nature of their business requires that they discuss confidential financial information. On the other hand, it was important that they have open areas to facilitate collaboration and teamwork. Thus, they designed a space that satisfied both needs – semi-enclosed spaces for private conversations and larger open areas to promote greater collaboration and the sharing of ideas.
Additionally, organizational spaces are becoming more flexible. Alternatives to traditional offices or open seating include co-working areas, activity-based workspaces, unassigned seating and ‘resimercial’ spaces. This is defined as a combination of “residential” and “commercial,” that incorporate elements of the home with office spaces. When well-executed, these types of office designs can have a positive impact on organizational well-being and increase the overall health of employees by reducing stress and depression.
These workplace design strategies are quickly becoming trendy as organizations evolve and create spaces that allow employees to better collaborate across all levels and in various different ways. Additionally, there is a strong link between collaboration and motivation at work because it helps fulfill a core need for relatedness. This is the feeling of being close and connected to others in the workplace – that you matter to others, and that they matter to you.
Read on to discover more benefits of collaborative spaces in the workplace.
Collaboration Leads To Greater Efficiency & Productivity
Typically, the higher the level of collaboration, the faster tasks or projects get completed. If the sharing of views and information is better facilitated between employees, individual contributors, departments and leadership, then work at all levels moves smoother and efficiency improves. Increased energy amongst employees is also an added benefit of a more collaborative workspace particularly in fast-paced environments. The absence of a joint working environment may lead to less momentum.
It Helps Fulfill Critical Internal Needs & Promotes Motivation
The benefits of combined and flexible workspaces bolster the fulfillment and support of three core psychological needs: autonomy, relatedness and mastery. And, these needs feed overall motivational quality at work. As mentioned, collaboration is particularly key in relatedness fulfillment – defined as having meaningful connections and a sense of belonging with others. The need for relatedness is perhaps the strongest psychological need amongst individuals as humans are social beings, and require healthy relationships to thrive in the workplace. Workspaces that promote collaboration enhance the way people connect with their peers.
Beyond the type of space you might collaborate in, if you feel a lack of relatedness with your co-workers, here are some recommendations you can take to improve:
Acknowledge the effort of peers. Make sure to tell them you appreciate them – giving a head nod as a way of saying “good job” can be a very easy step.
Managers, devote attention to your employees. One way to do this is by setting up a weekly one-on-one meeting to check in and understand what is going well, and what isn’t. Or, simply to make space for dedicated catch-up time.
Ensure employees feel valued and significant. For example, if an employee is a subject matter expert for a particular topic, allow them time to share their knowledge with others in the company.
More simple options include: Bringing a snack for team members, mentoring a co-worker, demonstrating appreciation for managers or suggesting a team outing such as lunch.
Collaborative Spaces Encourages Innovation & Creativity
Environments that facilitate employees to work openly together can encourage them to bounce creative ideas off one another to come up with a fresh perspective for tackling business obstacles. By championing the unique ideas of employees, a greater sense of diversity, inclusion and belonging is fostered. Employees can leverage their differences and identify how they can complement each other’s strengths to execute the best strategy or plan.
Curious to learn about other strategies for boosting motivation at work? Check out: 7 benefits of mindfulness in the workplace.