By Lloyd Coldrick, MD of Cobus
Although co-working spaces have been around for many years, it is only recently that they have come into the spotlight, mainly due to more providers entering the market to meet the needs of an increasingly fluid workforce.
Gone are the days of the traditional 9 to 5 job, as more employees stay connected to their work around the clock through digital technology such as smartphones and tablets.
The shift away from more traditional office spaces has aided the rising popularity of collaborative working environments.
More so than ever, co-working providers are seeking to create ‘a destination workplace’ – a space where people want to work.
Therefore, it is fundamental employees have a workspace environment that safeguards their health and wellbeing.
The old expression ‘you get out what you put in’ is very accurate when creating a positive workplace environment. For instance, if a business lounge is designed to reflect the needs of those using it, it can reap many rewards. Ultimately, designing a space to promote wellbeing will in turn boost company growth.
Looking at current trends, one of the key drivers around open plan spaces is to improve productivity. Collaboration comes more naturally in a workspace where there are no barriers and the frequent sharing of ideas significantly boosts productivity and team spirit, thus enhancing wellbeing.
Research from the Harvard Business Review has found that open and shared workspaces are shown to reduce stress and depression, while also increasing employees’ overall mood. As much as 83% of employees reported that they have felt less lonely since joining a co-working space, while 89% reported they have been happier since joining one.
This comfort, in turn, leads to greater productivity and quality of work, all while protecting and promoting employee wellbeing.
An open office can also enhance employee motivation, as working with like-minded people in a fast-paced environment can nurture and inspire their emotional drive to succeed.
Steve Jobs once said, “Ideas don’t happen in the boardroom, they happen in corridors” – a statement which we find to be very true and one that endorses a more open way of working.
Meeting pods for example, provide a setting for intimate consultations between colleagues or with clients, encouraging a ‘speed networking’ approach to get things done and reach the point of the matter; while being incorporated into an open plan office discourages idle chatter – a potential side effect of an enclosed meeting room.
With productivity amplified, project deadlines are more easily achieved and output increases, while staff wellbeing is improved through morale and a sense of camaraderie.
A breakout zone offers similar functionality, allowing colleagues to collaborate without disturbing the wider workforce, while also affording greater privacy than meeting pods if more sensitive issues need to be discussed.
Having an area where employees can relax away from the wider workspace will improve wellness and alleviate stress, while also encouraging movement and fostering interaction among colleagues. These spaces can also be used as ‘quiet areas’, where employees working overtime can unwind and break up their shift.
Overall, we’ve come a long way from the boxed-up cubicle-style workspaces that were commonplace in the 80s and shifted towards spaces that value groups over individuals.
A thriving collaborative environment brings with it people who are all striving towards common goals and objectives, whilst nurturing wellbeing and enhancing productivity.
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