Gone are the days of impromptu conversations by the water cooler. In an effort to foster innovation and increased productivity, organisations around the world are taking a more collaborative approach to designing their workspaces.
The need to conserve time is one of the biggest challenges modern work culture faces, according to Robbie Robertson, partner and head of Spatial and Brand Experience at Deloitte Australia. “Increasing demands from colleagues, clients and brands led to the need for innovation and creativity to be fast-tracked,” Robertson says.
Here are three companies that have rethought their workplace:
1) Hardhat Digital
“Our office is our temple,” says Justin Kabbani, co-founder and managing director at Hardhat Digital. “I don’t like to think of the workspace as just a place of work,” he says. “It’s a place to live and thrive.”
Kabbani credits the rise of the knowledge economy for the success of Hardhat Digital’s office design, which took out first place in Design 100’s corporate interior design award category. It was also a finalist in the ArchiTeam Awards of 2015.
But Kabbani offers a word of caution to those set on pursuing a collaborative office design. “You can’t just throw people into a collaborative workspace and expect them to know how to function within it – it needs to be part of your company’s cultural mindset,” he says.
“Your employees need to be open to understanding differing learning styles and personality traits. It’s equally important that your senior staff still feel confident in their position, even if their desk doesn’t say it.”
2) Stone & Chalk
With the aim of developing and accelerating world-leading financial technology (FinTech) start-ups, Stone & Chalk provides a collaborative workspace for more than 50 full-time start-ups –under a single roof.
“At Stone & Chalk we’re a community – we have residents starting running clubs and yoga groups,” says community manager Annie Le Cavalier. “And if your staff feel connected to each other and towards the company, this engagement will drive motivation and foster innovation.”
Le Cavalier finds that a sense of belonging makes all the difference between collaborative and traditional workspaces.
“A major challenge for larger corporates is that they’re traditionally so siloed,” she says. “I’ve worked for organisations where you don’t know the pod of people who sit next to you everyday and there’s this clear disconnect between the corporate and their workforce.”
Increasing demands from colleagues, clients and brands led to the need for innovation and creativity to be fast-tracked.– Robbie Robertson, partner and head of Spatial and Brand Experience, Deloitte Australia
Bloomberg Business touted Deloitte’s Amsterdam headquarters as “quite possibly the smartest office space ever constructed”.
“Our Netherlands headquarters is a smart building with a five-star energy rating,” says Robbie Robertson, partner and head of Spatial and Brand Experience at Deloitte Australia. “It has an app that does everything from finding you a desk [they’re all hot desks] to tweaking the environment to your exact light and temperature preferences.”
With espresso machines that remember how you take your coffee and televisions that can sync wirelessly to any device with internet connectivity, Deloitte’s headquarters were built with an agile and modern workforce in mind. Central to the success of this space is the infrastructure of the workforce, Robertson says.
“You can have a great space, but if your staff are tied to their desktop devices or your wireless capabilities are limited, the space won’t function to its full potential.”
Idea in brief
- Smart organisations are opting for more collaborative workspace designs
- Collaboration comes from a cultural mindset facilitated by the right workspace
- Collaboration design fosters innovation and increases productivity
- Best-in-class infrastructure is essential to an effective, collaborative workspace