Want to Boost Innovation? Make it Easier for your Team to Connect.
Workplaces everywhere are setting the stage for innovation by placing renewed emphasis on developing startup culture through team building, great perks and inspiring workplaces. At the core of these efforts is the recognition that social interactions and organic connections cultivate a collaborative culture that can lead to creative thinking.
With intentional planning and thoughtful design, workplaces can take steps to promote the kinds of natural interactions needed for disruption and true innovation.
If you are looking to boost innovation, start here:
Break-Out spaces are informal zones intended for quick team meetings. Generally consisting of a table and a few chairs, they bring a more casual, “living room” feel to the office. Add a sofa, ottomans and coffee table to complete the space and make break-out spaces a great option for socializing or doing informal work. Typically adjacent to workstations for spontaneous team meetings, adding marker boards and flat screen TVs make these spaces suitable for casual presentations or extra room to spread out during project work. While these areas are not necessarily walled-off spaces, bringing in high-backed sofas or screens help to create visual boundaries.
Kitchens, like those at home, quickly become the heart of the office. Kitchens draw people together for informal conversations, making it easy for people to socialize with the entire team — especially those with whom they may not directly work — spurring new thinking that can lead to innovation. And amenities such as healthy snacks and happy hour attract a multi-generational staff to gather, share knowledge and build social networks, relieve stress and promote a change in postures.
Make sure your kitchen provides a full range of seating options including both communal tables and smaller, individual café tables and booth seating. Bright colors, clever graphics and new materials make the space attractive and energizing. As you’re planning your space, consider whether the kitchen can or should also open into a bigger space for larger gatherings such as town hall meetings.
The Town Hall
The town hall may not be a designated space in the office, however, it can be a collection of break-out spaces or an extension of the kitchen which opens up into a bigger open space intended for a town hall meeting. If the space has a centralized staircase surrounded by an open community space, for example, this open space might be large enough for town hall-style gatherings. Use stackable seats or tiered seating and equip it with technology for presentations. Close proximity to food and beverage for entertaining is an added convenience, too.
As you’re planning your gathering spaces, remember to add power for easy plug and play, and be mindful of natural light and office views, too. A solid connection to the outdoors is important to staff wellbeing and maintaining a positive outlook on coming to the office.