Near the top of the wish list in almost every office design project these days is space for small-group collaboration. Business leaders know that creativity flourishes and ideas spark when people have access to the right environments for conversation and teamwork.
The traditional office—each person at a desk, meetings confined to conference rooms—is giving way to new styles that reflect contemporary ways of working. Today’s spaces are more inviting and flexible, less constrained and prescribed.
Here are five tips for creating versatile spaces that bring small groups together across functional areas:
1. Start with a great table: Many small groups gravitate toward a communal tabletop—a welcoming place to set their stuff or prop their elbows. That’s why even in open-plan offices, great collaboration spaces are often designed around great tables. Whether it’s a lounge table or a conference table, it represents a gathering waiting to happen.
Our strong, slender Potrero415 Tables—available with round, square, rectangular or boat-shaped tops—can be sized and customized for any space, any application.
2. Make it relaxing: Inspiration often comes via relaxation. When a team gets together to share insights or generate ideas, a comfortable setting can launch them forward. Functional laid-back spaces invite colleagues to linger and let their ideas cross-pollinate.
3. Offer options: Venue preferences vary from person to person and from meeting to meeting. So give workers inviting choices. Provide a variety of collaborative spaces, some casual and others more formal. No matter the space, options are a worker’s friend.
Colleagues meeting in this collaborative space can pick between a CH07 Shell Chair and a spot on the sofa. Design by ASD. Photography by Mariko Reed. See more photos from this space on Office Snapshots.
4. Encourage spontaneity: Given today’s nomadic workforce and collaborative work styles, people need spaces that support impromptu meetings. For common areas and group spaces, choose seating that’s easy to move around. Park a couple of ottomans or guest chairs nearby for a quick way to pull up and perch. Or consider a reconfigurable furniture system. Workers gravitate toward versatile, customizable spaces.
5. Put media in the mix: Collaborative groups don’t always have the luxury of having everyone in the same room. When team members find themselves in far-flung places, media capabilities bring people together. Well-designed group spaces always have workers’ technology needs in mind.
The Enea Café Stool completes this media-centered collaborative space.
Need more inspiration? See our creative collaboration planning ideas.