How can the design of an office foster better collaboration between employees?
The physical workplaces of today are undergoing radical change. The once ubiquitous cubicle farms, meant to keep workers separated and focused on their individual tasks, are being swapped for open, sometimes playful spaces that are intended to break down the barriers that exist between employees. These open layouts improve communication and promote greater collaboration. Many large companies such as Google, Facebook and Zynga have designed their campuses with employee interaction in mind, believing that great ideas are spawned from unplanned encounters. Apple’s co-founder Steve Jobs said of his animation company Pixar’s headquarters, “If a building doesn’t encourage collaboration, you’ll lose a lot of innovation and the magic that’s sparked by serendipity.”
Jobs was especially adamant that Pixar’s great atrium- seen by some as a waste of space -serve as a central hub where all employees, regardless of role or seniority, could gather and fall into ‘unplanned collaborations.’ To ensure that workers would get up from their desks, venture outside of their departments and meet one another, Jobs even went so far as to locate the cafeteria and the majority of the building’s bathrooms just off this open space, essentially willing his vision into existence.
With this thinking as the backdrop, we’ve highlighted several other innovative offices that are designed to spur collaboration.
PSFK is asking readers to submit their favorite places to work alongside their fellow employees. Is it a conference table, couch or cafe?
How does your own workplace stack up in comparison? Are there specific places where you go in your office to feed off the buzz generated by your fellow workers or do you prefer to do your best thinking over lattes at the local cafe? We’d like to hear where collaboration occurs in your own work day, so share your photographs, amazing examples of inspirational spaces and any other ideas we should be tracking.
Over the next 4-8 weeks we want to start a conversation around what you see as possible in the Future of Work. Be sure to follow the conversation on PSFK and participate in the daily competitions.