Incorporating collaborative spaces in the office has been proven to increase productivity, so should we be doing the same for virtual collaboration?
A recent article by Workplace Insight argues that’s exactly what businesses should be doing. And, we’ve got to admit that it does make sense.
Coinciding with Work From Home Week in January, a survey published by Business Matters, suggests more than third (36.5%) of workers currently work from home for some of the time. But with 85% saying flexibility in work location and hours is important, we’re sure to see this number continue to rise.
It is also commonplace for businesses to be working with companies and colleagues across different geographies and time zones. According to the latest statistics from Cisco, nearly two thirds (62%) of workers regularly collaborate with people in other countries.
What are companies doing to help their workers collaborate in the virtual world?
While businesses might be providing their workers with the technology they need to collaborate with people outside of the office, it seems not many are providing them with the right spaces in which to work.
Video-conferencing is the most popular choice for workers to collaborate remotely, with 94% saying this particular technology increases efficiency and productivity, 88% highlighting its ability to increase the impact of decision, while 87% say it results in faster decision-making.
But technology company Polycom claims that conference rooms are the most-used environment for video-conferencing, with 79% of respondents saying this is where video-conferences take place in their office.
But traditional conference rooms are far from the perfect environment to conduct efficient video conferencing. The typical long tables can make it difficult for everyone to see the screen, hear what is being said or be heard themselves, while having a single monitor can cause difficulties when it comes to sharing digital content.
That said, making workers take video conference calls at their desks may cause distractions for those around them.
Instead, companies should think about introducing specific video-conferencing spaces in their workplace.
When designing virtual collaborative spaces, companies should consider:
● Developing a layout that ensures all users will be on camera and clearly audible
● Allowing people to move seamlessly from group to individual work
● Designing spaces that encourage workers to move so they can stay energised and engaged
● Providing a range of different-sized spaces, ensuring staff have a place to conduct one-on-one interactions as well as small group sessions.
● The acoustics in the office, making sure those not involved in the virtual collaboration aren’t distracted from their own work.