So how do you truly collaborate when you have such a diverse group of people? How do you design a collaborative space that allows everyone to get involved?
Maz: But do they all need to get involved?
Gaynor: You have to develop a variety of spaces that cater for different needs. We’ve been doing a lot of collaborative spaces recently – and it’s not just about the formal collaborative spaces, it’s about the areas that are very informal, which we call ‘collision zones’; places where people are walking to and from places or grabbing a drink. For those people who don’t like the idea of formal collaboration or don’t sit very well in a group of people, this gives them an opportunity to approach people, grab a coffee and chat with individuals.
Sarah: Anywhere and everywhere can be a place for collaboration.
Muz: We’ve even made the corridors collaboration space – and we’ve pulled meeting rooms apart to create a pathway through them; these are the real intimate zones that people crave.
Sarah: When people feel comfort, then they communicate – and when people communicate they are collaborating.
Maz: That’s why, when people just perch on a desk, they are still collaborating.
Charlotte: This is why I like to work in open plan. For my job I need to be around everybody, to know everybody’s needs – but I do need to be comfortable.
Sarah: People need to be comfortable – because only then can you be you! If you can create spaces for everyone to be comfortable then you will have success – because then you’re happy and then you’ll come out of your shell…
Tim: You can collaborate and not be co-located though. That suits different personality types.
Emily: You have to take those opportunities to make the corridors wider and to make breakout areas more comfortable, to create spaces to relax in, because that journey around the office could be an opportunity to bump into and chat with someone who might not be so comfortable in a formal setting.