Collaborative workspaces have their merits; they encourage team work, reduce needless e-communication and foster a culture of inclusion. However different people like to work in different ways and a collaborative environment isn’t always the most suitable. Depending on their role, personality, current mood or task, the most suitable environment for an individual will change.
In an open plan office which promotes collaborative working it is important to find ways to allow for quiet time and privacy, facilitating your team to work at their best. Here are our top tips to create quiet:
Encourage the use of signals: Encourage your staff to use headphones, earplugs, desk signs and even body language to clearly signal that they do not want to be disturbed. The system of signalling needs to be respected by the team and managers to work.
Establish protocol: In a truly open plan office where quite zones cannot be separate spaces, rules or protocol such as quite times or no email times can be implemented – limiting distraction from within the team. Any protocol such as this needs to be well communicated with rational.
Designate a quiet zone: If the office layout allows for it, a designated quite room with hot desks can add real value for the whole team. Like a library, a quite zone in a workplace needs to adhere to strict silence, once the rule is abused the value of the room is gone.
Allow for flexible working hours: When suitable allow people to choose hours that provide the best environment for their needs. If the office is quiet in the early morning or late in the evening and this arrangement can work for an employee allow them to choose their own hours.
Make remote working part of the culture: Allowing for flexibility in working environments can boost engagement and productivity. When it is suitable allow for remote work be that at home or the café down the road. A change in surrounds can have a high impact on productivity.
Add outdoor spaces: While they might be weather dependant, outdoor spaces can provide great alternative workspace and solitude for those seeking silence. Claim whatever out door space you have available and make everyone aware that this is an option.
Intelligent furniture: Re-evaluate some of your furniture choices. Where possible replace some standard desks with privacy pods. While these can help provide seclusion for an individual, they don’t go against the concept of an open plan collaborative environment.
For a collaborative environment to be effective, flexibility in the working environment must be an option. Try new things until you find what works for the majority and for the business.
At Wrkit we specialise in the creation of better, healthier working environments using our online suite of data driven employee engagement and retention tools – Surveys, Recognition, Wellbeing (POWR), Learning and Lifestyle Savings. Headquartered in Dublin (Ireland), with offices in London and Boston, we serve local and multi-national companies around the globe.
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Author: Sara Glynn, Marketing Manager, Wrkit