The words “collaboration space” have been known to cause fear in the hearts of both high- and low-level employees. We get it. At Ervin & Smith, we recently moved from a more traditional space into our new open-concept office at Aksarben Village. Don’t get us wrong. The move was really exciting. It also meant many people would lose private offices, and departments would be forced to mingle. A graphic designer would sit next to a developer? The insanity!
There was also a certain amount of collaboration and communication we expected to have happen when we began sharing spaces. One thing we weren’t prepared for, however, was just how much the open-floor concept would improve us as individuals, co-workers and an agency. Additionally, it took our business values to a whole new level. For example:
When doors and cubicle walls don’t cut off individuals from one another, candor comes more naturally. You see what people are working on, and you’re more likely to stumble into the conversations of one another. People are more willing to express opinions, offer honest feedback on work and insert fresh ideas because the lack of isolation makes you feel closer to one another.
Research has found that having strong social connections in the workplace can actually boost your productivity—and your level of happiness. Liking the people you see 40-plus hours each week is a great way to start building those strong connections. Taking down the walls between desks and combining departments is the added nudge toward helping you create even more relationships with the people you work with.
When it comes to creating, taking risks is what helps drive us to be better. This is definitely a journey that creative professionals can take alone, but it’s much more fun to unlock big ideas or bounce back from setbacks with help from coworkers. Sharing spaces prompts innovation in a really big way by helping coworkers push one another to think bigger, reexamine ideas, be more creative, or take bigger risks.
The actions of a few individuals can have a big impact on a company’s success. Win or lose, it’s easier to see different sides of an idea when you get input on it. By sharing spaces, you’re more naturally inclined to ask the opinions of others, get feedback and better understand potential outcomes.
The last few years have ushered in a new idea of what business floor plans should look like. Taking down the walls and integrating various departments not only spawns collaboration and creativity, but it also increases the feeling of camaraderie among coworkers. It is those feelings of mutual trust and friendships that help businesses not only grow, but also create better work for themselves and their customers.