Designing for a collaborative environment

Question: How many meetings do you attend a week? The answer might actually surprise you.

The fact is we all participate in many meetings every day, whether we realize it or not, and building a collaborative environment is so important.

Here’s an eye-popping stat: Did you know that 75 percent of all meetings last five minutes or less? And most meetings only involve two or three people at a time.

Now answer that initial question. How many times a week do you share ideas with a co-worker? How often do you collaborate with colleagues?

Consider all the planning and work that goes into designing a formal meeting room. Making sure you select the right type, shape and size of the table. Choosing the appropriate seating and making sure you have all the proper technology for the presentation without it being too confusing to use. All of these things are necessary when designing a suitable meeting space.

That same type of care and consideration needs to go into virtually every area of your office design. With the adoption rate of laptops, tablets and mobile devices becoming the norm, our traditional concept of a meeting place has changed. Designing the modern office means considering every space a workspace.

It is a proven fact people are more energetic when they have access to sunlight, so make sure daylight is incorporated into not only the office areas, but also your meeting spaces.

iosblog3Non-traditional spots

How many times do you pass by someone in a hallway and mention an idea or set up a meeting? Ideas are shared as we stand around the water cooler or coffee machine and chat about a project. Break rooms themselves are hotspots for collaboration.

How can you help your employees collaborate? Designing small seating areas near hallways or alcoves where employees can sit down quickly and chat over ideas is a great way to encourage impromptu meetings.

Break rooms can be replaced with Café rooms that double as casual meeting spaces. Incorporate flat screen televisions and wireless video sharing and that café turns into a space where ideas can be shared via mobile technology.

IOSBlog2Small spots

For meetings with two, three or four people, smaller areas can create a fantastic working environment.

Depending on your work atmosphere, you can be very creative with these smaller spots. Booths are cool ideas. Not only do they give the collaborators privacy but they’re interesting additions to your office and allow for tables, comfortable seating and all the technology components necessary.

Other ideas can be simple. Two or three chairs with tablet arms in an open space around a circular table or long tables with benches or even bar stools around a circle table provide all you really need to get away from the pack and plan out a great project.


Big areas

When we think of larger areas, we often think of the traditional conference rooms. But that’s not the only option.

Any large, open area with plenty of lighting, comfortable seating and versatile furniture can become a great place for collaboration. Long tables with benches, sofas around a table, fit chairs in a circle all can be great spots for bouncing ideas around.

Even individual work spaces can double as collaboration spots. So long as the walls are lowered around desks and cubicles, co-workers can have plenty of opportunities to talk and interact while having the ability to dive back into their own tasks.


What are the keys to all three of these collaborative spots? Plenty of light, plenty of space, plenty of adaptors for tech gear and plenty of versatile furniture. But first and foremost, it takes planning and thought to how your team works well together and how your overall office can create the perfect environment to keep the ideas flowing.

whoweareAll of these ideas make up the modern office that IOS is helping design for so many clients. If you’re thinking about how to decorate a new office space, or want some great ideas for your office’s furniture, let us help. Get a free quote today and let our certified designers turn our concepts into reality.





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