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What is the future of workplace design?
Office work spaces are currently making major headlines. Yahoo has banned telecommuting in order to bring each worker in physical proximity to one another. Designs for Google’s new headquarters incorporate features so no employee is farther than a two-and-a-half-minute walk away. Some companies are consolidating office spaces, but the primary reason isn’t to save cash, it’s to encourage employee interaction.
There’s no arguing that engineering employee collaboration through workplace design is a hot topic. From elevators with trivia games that spark conversation to common areas that provide a comfortable reprieve for brainstorming sessions, businesses both big and small are taking note.
This trend got me thinking: In a world where technology makes communication quick and easy, is the unforeseen backlash a lack of employee collaboration and relationship-building opportunities? Let’s face it, most people have emailed or instant messaged a colleague just a few feet away rather than picking up the phone or taking a quick walk for a face-to-face conversation. It’s no wonder so many companies are taking a fresh approach to office space design.
A recent article in the Wall Street Journal titled “The Science of Serendipity in the Workplace” explains the many strategies companies are using to encourage interaction, and therefore innovation. While the piece features some really cool high-tech strategies, not everything mentioned is complex or costly. From special team-building events to seasonal desk swaps, even modest companies are making efforts to bring colleagues together.
Various studies correlate creativity, productivity and positive workplace cultures with how offices are designed. At LinkUp, we are preparing to move to an open office format in the next couple of months. We hope this makes the company an even more awesome place to work. Stay tuned for updates.