13 Ways to Make Your Office Space More Collaborative
Question: What's one tip you'd give to an entrepreneur who is designing a new office space that promotes a collaborative company culture (e.g. ping pong tables, cool meeting rooms, cubicles, ect.)
Create an Open Work Space
"Create an open work space. We have one conference room for the occasional meeting, but otherwise, we have a wide open workspace. The team invests in headphones when they are heads-down, but the openness promotes collaboration between all areas: engineering, marketing, content, etc."
Keep Everything Configurable
"Ditch the large conference table that's too heavy to move, and keep everything small, nimble, and configurable. When we had our office, we kept the floor plan open with configurable desks and shelves. That way, the teams can build their own working area or collaborating space based on their needs at the moment."
No Assigned Seating
"Let the work spaces be flexible and allow groups to form and reform as needed. If you find after a while that seating has stagnated, you can mix it up and get team members from different disciplines to sit together."
Stage Sofas for Napping
"Make sure you have some sofas or beanbags for napping, especially if you intend to organize Hackathons and if you're a business that is not dependent on regular working hours."
Ban the Cubicle for Video Games
"We recently completed an office renovation to create an open office environment with no walls. It promotes interaction among the team throughout the day and tends to keep the environment positive and energetic. We also have an arcade game (NBA Jam), an XBox, regularly grill out, and play street hockey as a team."
Make It Fun Somehow!
"I encourage any type of fun in the workplace, so my recommendation is to set up the office environment to enable this. Set up a break room that’s actually a fun/learning room, with ping pong tables and learning tools like training courses, books, etc."
Include an Outdoor Space
"An outdoor space is crucial. Being outside fosters innovation and community. Each fall, we have a few “work outside” days, where we line up on the street and work on laptops."
Grab That Ideapaint
"In order to extract everyone's creative side, equip your office walls with IdeaPaint
, which is a wall paint that serves as a whiteboard. Not only is it fun to have around, it looks sleek, and inspires the entire office to share their ideas wherever they want to."
Put in a Kitchen
"Put in as much of a kitchen as you can ma
nage and encourage your employees to use it. Whether it's at home or in the office, people naturally congregate around food. A good kitchen, usable for more than just storing and eating lunches, can be a great opportunity for collaboration."
Make a Zen Room
"Any office is big enough to have a Zen room. We've got a couch, bonsai trees, an herb garden, tons of sun, long floor pillows for napping, and a loose "no talking" rule so it can truly be an escape!"
Focus on Tribal Tools
"It's easy to put in cool stuff like ping pong tables, video games, etc. But, remember that "cool" can only go so far. What most people are looking for is to be a part of something, part of a tribe that is going toward as specific mission. Build things into your space that bring the tribe together: community chalkboard, a manifesto display, quirky pics of staffers on a wall, etc."
Welcome to the Bar!
"Build a bar area. We have a bar area that allows us to have social events in the office. We can host events that allow employees to drop their guard and feel more comfortable around co-workers."
One Entrance Only
"As your company grows, it becomes harder for everyone to know each other. Ensure that there's a single entrance/exit that everyone is expected to go through. We've seen this at Zappos, Weiden + Kennedy and others. Bloomberg L.P. takes a similar approach -- they offer free food, but all of the food is on one central floor instead of a variety of kitchens. The goal should be serendipitous meetings!"