Better Teamwork Through Better Workplace Design – @Harvardbiz

Collaboration is the way we work now. In a 2008 BusinessWeek study of white-collar professionals, 82% reported they needed to partner with others throughout the day to get their work done. That means people don’t just work together in meeting and conference rooms anymore. Collaboration now occurs all the time at personal desks and in hallways, or virtually via internet or smart phones, and it’s often spontaneous and informal, rather than planned in advance.

Individual workstations separate people from one another, meeting spaces have to be reserved in advance, areas with audio privacy for video and teleconferencing are limited in number, and social spaces, if they exist, often lack power sources or WiFi. With mixed-presence team members, some co-located and other stationed globally and connected via technology, efficient collaboration is becoming a true challenge

Organizations can address this problem by redesigning their workspaces around the following principles:

  1. Focus on four main activities.
  2. Vary the size of workspaces, and the technology with which they’re equipped.
  3. Provide collaborative tools.
  4. Give project teams a dedicated space

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