With this new era of hybrid working, we run the risk of losing those ‘water cooler’ moments that are a key part of office working. Serendipity, the occurrence and development of events by chance in a beneficial way, has been a key feature of the workplace for many years. It’s the reason collaboration in this way has been encouraged.
However, hybrid working has meant that these serendipitous conversations have become less common – through increased homeworking or lack of social spaces in the office. By their very nature, serendipitous moments cannot be scheduled in the diary. As a result, creativity becomes a solitary process, leading to less developed ideas, a higher chance of burnout, and less effective productivity across the board…
So how can office design accommodate these serendipitous moments?
From making a cup of coffee, bumping into each other in the lobby, or simply passing in the corridor, there are so many natural moments for conversation in the office that we all used to experience daily. However, these natural moments are limited with hybrid working and the only time for open collaboration is usually scheduled.
Through office design, you can reintroduce these serendipitous encounters. There are many products designed to accentuate different activities and styles of working. Each of them can help you regain these moments in different ways.
Communication and Collaboration
Core environments where colleagues have open communication and access to collaborative workspaces enable them to build stronger networks. Both within and outside traditional team structures, these networks can then help to encourage productivity and creativity amongst and between your teams.
One way of encouraging communication is through the creation of social zones throughout the office. Products like the Bubba Connect system provide a space for people to gather in groups and chat to each other, often outside of meetings, helping them to develop important relationships in the workplace.
Whilst working from home, many of us have begun to miss being able to collaborate in person rather than through a screen and the need for creative spaces back in our offices has become apparent. Relationship Buildings® encapsulate this concept, creating flexible and imaginative spaces that can stimulate your teams, facilitate these vital interactions and reinforce the organisational culture.
Contemplation and Concentration
Contemplation and concentration are often well suited to homeworking. To create a successful hybrid environment, there needs to be the potential for individuals to focus in the office too.
Having a mix of work environments ensures individuals are getting the balance they need. For focused tasks, products like Coppice help to facilitate individual work away from distractions when needed, providing a means to get away from the commotion of the rest of the office.
Another way of encouraging individual contemplation or concentration is making use of phone boxes: one or more individual pods away from distractions. This is so much better than taking a call in the stairwell or corridor. On the QT phone boxes also encourage a comfortable posture for online meetings, providing space to make notes, and work without distractions.
Creating an office environment that works for everyone
In a modern working environment, the needs and working styles of our workforce need to be accommodated, providing each team member with the necessary tools and resources to work effectively. Open plan offices, whilst promoting healthy collaboration and communication, can also be distracting for those who need thinking time and space to get their work done on their own.
Creating the perfect hybrid workplace is by no means easy, especially when you want to incorporate the 4Cs of Agile Working. However, products like these definitely make it easier to accomplish, and being able to create this balanced working concept will noticeably improve your business productivity, creativity, and general efficiency.
If you need advice or support with improving your office in this way, get in touch.