Co-working spaces are quickly becoming a normal way of life for the small business owner or freelancer who prefers a brick and mortar location to their home office. But co-working also has another inherent perk – the collaborative nature that results from gathering dissimilar minds under one roof.

Thankfully, other businesses have taken notice of this, and seek to evoke the same spirit of collaboration from their own employees. We’re going to take a look at four effective ways businesses can curate their spaces to increase employees’ participation and sense of purpose.

Letting Go of Cubicles

There are better ways to provide space for everyone to work without having to involve the humdrum uniformity of cubicles. Their walls lack stimulation and prevent communication, which seems like it would assist in focus and productivity. However, studies show that intrinsic motivation increases as people experience cues of an invitation to work together.

As for concentration, the irony of cubicles lies in the fact that people are walled-off from providing the necessary social cues to communicate whether they are intently focused on their work – leading to multiple interruptions at inopportune times. The better scenario is for a workplace to provide an open environment where people can demonstrate their frame of mind with their own body language. This provides a chance for coworkers to discern a better time to hold a conversation or ask questions.

Design is Key

We design rooms to design ourselves, whether we know it or not. When a room- or workplace- has carefully curated details that enhance the environment, employees simply perform better. Ideally, companies seeking to increase collaboration between employees will embrace comfortable seating options, natural light, and cheerful colors.

Creating a relaxing, organized, and functional environment not only helps employees feel more at ease with one another, but it also reduces the feeling they may have about work being a place they can’t wait to leave.

Accessibility to Information

Comfortable environments that encourage participation have a significant impact on productivity, but just as important are the resources employees need to accomplish their tasks. Employees spend about 25% of their time looking for information, hindering them from their completion of more important responsibilities. Providing access to information with software tools like project management apps, customer relationship management software, and efficient cloud-based storage systems dramatically improve their daily performance.

Various software programs ensure cohesiveness with working together and completing complex projects, without the need for shuffling files or asking the status of a particular stage of a project.

Effective Zoning

Another key component to complete a collaborative workspace resides in the zones of the space itself. It’s not only necessary to provide good lighting, comfortable seating, and functional desk space; it’s also essential that spaces be defined.

Effective office spaces will have areas for teams to meet and share ideas, desk space for individuals to focus on their work, and open areas for socialization. When these spaces are clearly defined, people have the ability to choose what setting works best for them with their ever-changing needs. Supplementing those spaces with whiteboards, chalkboards, and presentation materials make for some serious strides in productivity.

Whether it’s a large corporation or a small business, having workspaces that encourage collaboration directly correlates with the company’s success. If you follow these tips, you’ll improve your employees’ performance and allow them the tools to complete their work efficiently, and like it!