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Collaborative Workspace Design: How to Create the Open Space Office that's Right for You

Coworkers collaborating around a table

Gone are the days when each employee had their own individual cubicle where they spent the majority of their day working away in solitude. An open space office is not only trendy right now, but also is designed to inspire productivity and creativity through spontaneous collaboration—all things that are important in industries like advertising, media, architecture, and pretty much any tech startup.

Whether your office is open concept or not, it's important to have a designated workspace devoted to brainstorming. Here's what you need to keep in mind while brainstorming your collaborative workspace design and create the kind of space that encourages collaboration and keeps the ideas flowing.

Find the right collaborative workspace furniture

Brainstorming sessions are meant to be a chance for every idea—no matter how out of leftfield—to come out and breathe. That means it's important to keep your workspace open and inviting so every employee feels relaxed and comfortable bringing up any idea they might have. Because you never know what one passing thought could turn into.

Instead of the standard long boardroom tables and formal office chairs, consider a round table to make things a little more intimate. If you can get away with skipping the table altogether, you can keep the space open with collaborative workspace furniture, including comfortable chairs like these Safco® ZenergyTM chairs surrounded by dry erase whiteboards to jot things down. Try some pops of color or unconventional shapes to get the creative juices flowing.

Something to write on

Sometimes seeing ideas written down in front of you can help spark something that wouldn't have occurred to you otherwise. Dry erase whiteboards and chalkboards are the obvious choices for informal brainstorming meetings because you can scribble point-form notes without worrying about it looking good.

Coworkers sharing creative ideas on a glass wall

An easel or presentation board is a good way to present the results of a brainstorming session in a more cohesive way that still inspires feedback. Don't forget to stock up on all the accessories like chalk, dry erase markers, and erasers—there's not much point in a brainstorming session with no way to write your ideas down.

The option for privacy

Privacy may seem like the last thing you want in a collaborative office environment, but, in reality, a lot of employees like having the option to either work with others or on their own. Many open-concept offices have no separation between the main desk area and the meeting area, which means every time there is a brainstorming meeting going on, everyone has to hear about it—even the people who aren't involved.

Consider designating a separate brainstorming workspace so groups or individuals can have some privacy to work on their projects. Portable room dividers are one way to go, or you can choose furniture that separates the room, clearly defining the space. Think about using shelving to block off the area so no space is going to waste.

Bring technology into the mix

Large TV screens are usually used to allow remote employees to video-call into meetings, but they can also be used to access the internet. After all, sometimes it helps to Google some of your ideas, either for inspiration or to see if they've already been done before. Group chats and online sharing platforms like Google Docs are also useful tools for those times you can't all be in the same room hashing out an idea.

Videoconferencing in a bright modern workplace

Whether it's based on furniture, office equipment, or technology—or a mix of all three—a successful collaborative workspace design facilitates creativity, giving employees the flexibility they need to do their best work. Put these tips to work so you and your employees can reap the benefits of a collaborative workspace.