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01-Feb-2018

Collaboration furniture in the workplace

By ADP

By Katie Thompson

Katie Thompson discusses the benefits of investing in Collaboration furniture in the workplace

Why invest in a collaborative environment?

It’s widely recognised that collaborative areas are becoming an essential part of the workplace landscape today. The following points help highlight why it is important to invest in providing these environments.

Innovation and recognising the value of collaboration furniture

Companies are embracing current thinking about agile working and collaboration areas, and are now investing in creating alternative spaces for people to work and collaborate with colleagues and clients.

By creating the right environment and choosing appropriate furniture, these areas can provide stimulation and a focal point of interest; a communal heart. They can enhance the company brand, and most importantly, help facilitate improved communication and innovation.

Creating a suitable environment

A financial investment will be required in finding the right solution, but the benefits of investing in the right kind of furniture far out-weighs any negatives.

Most major furniture suppliers recognise the importance of collaborative furniture and have responded well in recent years, with a wide range of products. Costs can vary depending on the furniture supplier, so different budgets can be accommodated.

A collaborative space is more than just another meeting room. Meeting rooms will always be an essential part of any business, but not all discussions need to take place in a separate room, and may benefit from a barrier free environment. Creating alternative opportunities in how to work within the workplace creates choice for staff and encourages them to interact in a more dynamic and flexible way.

Furniture types and ideas

Below are a number of typical types that would help to facilitate a collaborative approach:-

•Circulation areas: Furniture located around circulation routes for example, provides opportunities for informal, chance meetings to take place, and also provides different opportunities for quick discussions.

•Collaboration bench: Locating a large collaboration bench table somewhere centrally can be used in a number of ways. It can accommodate informal short meetings simultaneously, as well as be used for a large collaborative meeting. It’s more flexible, allowing the table to be used for a variety of functions, including being utilised by staff at lunchtime. It could become a communal heart to the office, like a large kitchen table in the home.

 

  • Timba Table, Bane
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    •Open pods and high backed soft seating are great solutions for creating a separate meeting / soft seating zone away from the desk. Pods are great acoustically, shielding adjacent areas from noise, while also providing privacy. Open pods also help to create zones visually in an open plan area, helping to designate different activities in the office.

     

  • Railway Carriage seat, Spacestor
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    •Shaped furniture can be used for more dynamic meetings away from the desk.

    •Writable walls: Entire walls can be painted or clad with appropriate writable surfaces using a specific wall coverings or paint finishes. Suspended or mobile whiteboards enable a more creative approach.

     

  • Clear Erase,Tektura
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    •Mobile furniture: is great for a flexible environment, enabling the formation of different group sizes depending on the task.

     

  • Pixel, Bene
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    •Bespoke approach: Using fixed and bespoke furniture designed specifically for a space, is also an opportunity to create a feature collaborative area which helps define the space.

     

  • Collaborative research room at University of Bristol
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    Technology

    Power enabled furniture makes it easy to create a collaborative environment. Furniture designs and integrated power solutions continue to evolve as users demand more flexibility in how they work.

    Wellbeing and staff investment

    It is important that staff are happy with the environment in which they work, and have a sense of belonging. Moving away from the desk, when the task allows, helps change focus and is good for wellbeing. Staff are therefore encouraged to be more active and less sedentary. ‘Sitting is the new smoking’.

    Having a positive social connection, and staff engagement, leads to motivation and better productivity.

    Retaining staff is key to the success of a company

    If staff enjoy where they work because it’s a stimulating environment to be in, and it allows them to carry out their job well, they are less likely to leave. A well designed workplace also helps attract new staff.


    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Katie Thompson

    Katie Thompson

    Katie joined ADP in 2006 and has experience in many areas of interior design including Education,
    Retail, Corporate, Healthcare,
    Leisure and Residential.

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