Three ways to take us to the future of working together

The 'how' of workplace interaction is changing faster than ever, which means the 'where' and 'why' we work has to adapt to keep up. One thing that will stay consistent though, is the need to collaborate. We take a look at the next chapter for three areas we’ll all be experiencing collectively.

1. Put the space in workspace

Keeping collaboration levels up and nurturing a strong team are directly influenced by how you build your space, says Haworth office design’s senior research strategist Dr Michael O'Neill. It can be as simple as making sure there are a high proportion of group spaces vs. individual or enclosed spaces, or as much fun as headphone and audio company Skullcandy’s approach. At their office in Zurich, desks literally fit together like puzzle pieces, allowing them to be reconfigured as the collaborative needs of the team change. 

2. Get flexible

Research firm Gartner speculates that the average worker is active in five informal ‘teams’, sustained by a complex mix of face-to-face and remote interactions. These increasingly flexible ways of working not only offer greater opportunities for collaboration, but also for how we set up our workplaces.   

The Future of Work Institute argues that expensive ‘physical’ offices are now best suited to being open environments for workers to schedule physical interaction with colleagues, to complete specific tasks only when necessary. This reduced need for physical office space, with remote and cloud-based working taking up the slack, has big potential for cost savings. For one FTSE 500 London-based company, every desk reduction represents a £10,000 p.a. saving, not to mention data-energy savings from reduced office-based networks. 

3. Network smarter

Good business is still all about relationships, and the opportunities for networking have never been more exciting. The latest apps go far beyond online business communities and professional matchmaking: They can help with more fundamental issues like the most efficient place to meet up, remembering people’s names, and being at all the right events. Try ‘Happening’ for professional events near you, ‘MeetMe’ for halfway point meeting venues, or ‘Namerick’ to help you put names to faces. Your smartphone is set to become an even closer business associate.