Workspace Design for Collaboration and Better Employee Engagement

What are the elements of a collaborative workspace? How should you build your office to encourage employee engagement?

The way your office is designed impacts your business output, employee experience and engagement levels.

Today, offices are described as open or closed.

The evolution of corporate offices in the last half-century has been rapid due to technology advances.

This, in turn, has affected and redefined working experiences.

Think about the typewriter to personal computers, laptops and handheld mobile devices. Our mode of communication has switched up as technology changed with the times.

In an International Workplace Group (IWG) January 2018 study, it was discovered that 70 per cent of professionals are already working remotely per week. The percentage of remote workers is set to rise steadily and it’s predicted that half of the US workforce will work remotely by the year 2020.

If you could design a workspace for employee productivity and happiness, how would you get it done?

Office layouts can be instrumental for collaboration and innovation

Gensler, one of the largest architecture and design firms, has been publishing Workplace Surveys since 2005 to establish the connections between workplace design, employee productivity, and business competitiveness. In the last two Workplace Surveys conducted, they understood how workplace design contributes to collaboration and innovation in companies.

In 2013, it was highlighted that employees need a ‘conducive’ workplace. The definition of ‘conducive’ is a space that provides for effective focus, collaboration areas that uphold focus and lastly choices to work anywhere effectively, regardless as an individual or a team.

This desire for ‘quiet’ spaces came about after the decade-long trend of open-office plans that originated from Silicon Valley have shown to distract and frustrate rather than prove its original intentions for collaboration. — Gensler, Workplace Survey 2013

In 2016, their findings reflected and reinforced 2013 survey’s results of mixing up office plans.

We can conclude that there’s an unwavering almost absolute preference for a great workplace that enables employees to focus and autonomy to choose how and where helps them work best.

At Cogs, we embrace diversity. We believe that everyone is unique and that work should bring out the best in people. Our offices are designed to enable our staff to focus, collaborate and host discussions effectively.

Have a peek at our offices worldwide below…

  • Meeting Spaces

One of the most basic features of any office, the meeting room has evolved over the years to keep up with technological advances as well as changes in work culture and attitudes.

Meetings take up a lot of time.

An average employee can spend up to 35-50 per cent of their time in meetings at work. Some meetings can be productive but most meetings continue to be held with little fruition. Meetings can be a distraction for employees and when dragged on for longer than scheduled, it just becomes unproductive.

You could say the meeting room is the predecessor of all other workspaces. They vary in shapes and sizes and the way it’s outfitted can set the mood to a business discussion, even before any words are exchanged.

Our Hong Kong office‘s meeting room is more intimate in an enclosed area, allowing for privacy whereas our Singapore meeting room is situated in the loft above our office. This doesn’t mean we can’t host formal discussions at our Singapore office – the only downside is the sound in an open area interfering in your meeting. If silence isn’t for you, sounds add-on to a lively environment.

  • Breakout Spaces

Most people identify offices with breakout spaces as a modern or creative workspace. Breakout areas allow employees to gather and collaborate and can even be an alternative space for them to take time away from their workstations.

Recently, our London office just moved into a co-working space. The 6-storey building provides plenty of breakout area options in various styles for our team to use or host clients and candidates as and when they need. That is the beauty of a co-working space.

There are concerns that this would result in staff taking a break for too long in this space but fret not – it is proven that rest can actually boost productivity.

  • Workstations and Desks
Cogs Berlin Workstation
Cogs Berlin’s Desks

In the last few years, the type of workstation and desks have caused a stir among workers.

Closed cubicles or open-concept office desks? Which camp are you on?

The way workstations are designed is telling of the type of company culture you have and promote. It shouldn’t be surprising that people perceive the open-concept to a company that is modern, transparent, communicative and one that endorses egalitarianism.

Closed cubicle layouts have been associated with traditional, bureaucratic, silo mentality and have negative connotations with hierarchy. Of course, this is just a generalisation and there are some who actually prefer closed cubicles because it helps cuts down the sound and distractions.

Our Berlin office has a unique way of desk arrangements (see above picture).

Two years ago, the team was on the lookout for a new office. They finally found a perfect space- a loft in Oberwallstrasse, in the historic and central part of the city. With the help of an architect and an interior designer, Cogs Berlin was able to actualise their vision for an agile workspace.

When you first step into the office, you would notice the vast table(s) in the centre of the space. There are only 2 large tables that are communal and can seat 12 people at once, comfortably. Jan Pautsch, Berlin’s Associate Director shares the idea behind the workstation.

“Our 2 large tables are designed in such a way that the teams can be flexibly reassembled. Everyone sits at the join tables – whether they are Juniors or Directors. This accelerates the communication process. In addition, it’s possible to work in different spatial situations and remotely. In the future, we’re planning additional standing desks in order to be able to offer an even more flexible workplace.”

How do we innovate and design our offices for better culture, productivity and happiness?

There isn’t a secret manual to create a workplace that rivals Google, Apple, Facebook or Nike.

While you could instruct the architect and interiors to emulate their office features, it really comes down to your company’s culture and values.

Culture and values don’t just assist you in creating the best workplace. They are highly crucial in how you attract, hire and retain staff and customers, who are the driving force of any business.

 

Having trouble attracting talent and engaging employees? Speak to Chris Frost at [email protected].

Want to create a cohesive, collaborative and creative office? Reach out to Jan Pautsch or Kimberly Bohle who are behind our much talked about Berlin office.

Maybe you want to work in one of our cool locations, check all our open roles here.

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