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How to design a collaborative workspace for better productivity

Productivity is all the rage nowadays, and it seems to be the topic on everyone’s lips. However, being productive isn’t necessarily about working more. According to research, work overload diminished productivity by 68% in employees who feel they are too short on time to finish their work. And it’s not always about salary either. In fact, one of the most important factors for employee productivity and engagement is their work environment. Research has shown a well-designed collaborative workspace can boost productivity by 20%, which is a huge difference.


What is a collaborative workspace?

Collaborative workspaces are office spaces that are shared by a group of people. These spaces offer many benefits to both the employees and the companies they work for. Some of these benefits include increased collaboration, better communication, and reduced overhead costs. The idea behind a collaborative workspace is improving productivity by making it easier for employees to work together. These kinds of work environments also encourage creativity and innovation, which are essential for any company that wants to stay competitive in the market.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at how you can optimise your collaborative workspace for improved staff productivity.


Create a brainstorming area

collaborative workspace

Brainstorming is one of the most effective techniques for coming up with new innovative ideas. But that’s not all it’s good for. A recent study found not only can brainstorming be used to help a team buy into and implement a plan of action, it can also be used to simply build cohesiveness. This in turn, can reduce employee turnover and increase employee commitment. For this reason (although some of your staff may be working remotely) you should make a point of creating a brainstorming area.

They can use this space to get together and discuss new ideas without disturbing other employees. Getting an L-shaped sofa with additional seating elements is an ideal solution. This is both comfortable and less formal than stuffy conference rooms. Plus it can also double up as a space where people can meet up during breaks, enhancing a collaborative work environment.


Have a dining area

It’s estimated that up to 40% of office workers typically eat at their desk during the working day. For a start, this isn’t good for your staff’s health. Research has found that sitting too much is harmful to long term health and wellbeing. It also has a negative effect on their productivity levels. Being stuck to a computer screen all day, not giving their brain a break can leave employees feeling stressed and overwhelmed.

To counter this, why not create a dining area where staff can have their meals, interact with each other and share ideas? Doing this will allow them to step away from their work for a moment, clear their heads and catch up with one another, therefore improving office camaraderie. And there are plenty of solutions available that will work for your office to turn into a collaborative workspace. These range from booths and benches, to bar stools and tables which would not look out of place in your local cafe. Some companies even opt for pool tables in their office environments to provide employees with an environment designed to have breaks when work gets a little too stressful, and boost morale and company culture.


Ensure office furniture is set up correctly

office chair

Have you ever tried to work when you can’t sit comfortably? It’s almost impossible. You’re too busy concentrating on your discomfort rather than getting on with the job on hand. But more concerning is over time this can lead to back pain which could mean a number of your staff being unable to work. To overcome this, you first need to reconsider your team’s current desk and chair combination. But we’re not just talking about having a chair which can be adjusted to provide sufficient support. They also need to have a desk that’s not too high or too low. Ideally, it would be height-adjustable for each individual. Finally, you should consider introducing footrests to ease leg and lower back issues.


Insert some colour

There is plenty of research showing how colours can affect our mood and behaviour. Choosing the right colour for your collaborative workspace can affect your team productivity in a positive way and improve company culture recognition. In most cases, blue has been found to do just that. Now, that doesn’t mean you need to paint your entire office blue. For a start, it may not fit in with your brand guidelines… But you can introduce some blue items that will help to keep team members focused and relaxed. Flowers are a good place to start, but there are plenty of ways for you to be creative and add colour to collaborative workspaces!


Set an optimal room temperature

room temperature

This is a common debate in offices. The truth? In general, warm environments are better for creative thinking, while cooler workplaces are thought to help keep people alert during repetitive or monotonous tasks. But everyone reacts differently to temperature, so as a collaborative workspace, your staff may want to get their own personal fan or a heater.

Also, regardless of how cold or hot it is, you should encourage people to open windows a few times each day in order to let some fresh air in. This is because stale office air has been found to make team members less productive.


Create open spaces

While a private office design or cubicles have been designed to allow your employees to focus and have increased productivity in the same office, they can also have the opposite effect of making people feel alienated from one another.

A study published in the British Medical Journal backs this up. They found that workers in open offices (where there are no partitions between desks, or the partitions are low enough to see over while seated) on average, were over 30% more active while at the office than people working in private offices.

Using an open office coworking space can help your employees feel less isolated, creating a healthier working atmosphere, especially when a percentage of your staff works most of the time at the business’ physical location, as well as, when remote employees enter the office for team meetings.

You should also consider installing different types of spaces, such as lounges, kitchen areas, and workstations, to allow people to find their most productive environment.


Organise and keep control of your data

drag and drop dashboard builder

It’s not just your physical workspace you need to keep on top of.

You also need to ensure your data is organised in a way that allows collaboration to flourish between your staff and your external partners as part of your project management process.

The problems start when your teams start using separate “shadow IT’ cloud tools to store documents, send out surveys and manage key business processes.

This creates multiple data silos, making it harder for your staff to collaborate and more worryingly, you have no idea whether your data is stored safely or not.

Instead, use online collaboration software to keep all of your data secure in one online platform with the right tools.

Your staff can then collaborate and share knowledge without exposing your organisation to any risk.



Collaborative workspaces are not just a trend. They are a necessity in today’s workplace. While the trend may have begun with startups and small businesses, it has now reached enterprise levels. It is an important collaboration tool that can be used by any organisation in order to take advantage of what everyone has to offer. Collaborative workspaces also provide an easy way for remote workers to feel like they are still a part of the team and feel connected to the company culture through their shared space and collaborative environment. This removes the need for long commute times, which is both time-consuming and expensive on the environment.

Having a well-designed collaborative workspace will not only make your workforce more productive, but they won’t dread the feeling of spending eight hours each day inside a bland and generic cubicle.

Implement as many of these tips as you can and you will see the difference in no time. Good luck!

Author Bio:

Cathy Baylis is a freelance content writer who provides the dissertation writing service out there, as well as paper writing service reviews. She loves sharing her interests with readers, and she has something to say, for sure.

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