home Blog Building a Collaborative Office: A Design and Layout How-To

Building a Collaborative Office: A Design and Layout How-To

The best collaborative workspaces are designed with employees’ needs at the heart. They blend in-office work with remote work and enable everyone to participate regardless of location.

They also allow companies to scale quickly without the inflexibility of a traditional leased office space. This flexibility is important for attracting and keeping top talent.


When planning your collaborative workspace, you’ll need enough space for everyone to move around comfortably and have their own area if desired. Collaboration spaces typically feature open floor plans that are free of cubicles and doors, with seating for groups and individuals. This promotes interaction and allows for a fluid work flow without interruptions. It also provides a visual display of teamwork, fostering an environment where employees feel comfortable sharing ideas and building strong relationships within the company.

While an open plan may seem daunting, companies that have implemented this type of workspace have seen positive growth. Identifying your business’s ideals for collaboration is the first step, and then communicate them to your workforce to encourage buy-in. For example, a common belief is that cross-functional projects are key to success, as they help each employee experience a broader range of problem-solving methods from colleagues in other departments. This builds camaraderie and enables the development of more efficient processes, which can save time and money in the long run.

Once you’ve nailed down your vision for your collaborative workspace, you’ll need to ensure that the layout and design elements will meet your needs, incorporating small office space strategies. This includes making sure the space reflects your company culture and that it’s equipped with all the essential tools for collaboration. If you want to keep the room productive, you’ll need to include comfortable furniture and a good selection of technology.

If your collaborative workspace has a lounge or coffee bar, for example, consider adding in oversized pillows and bean bag chairs to encourage people to relax and focus on the task at hand. You should also make sure that you’ve included quiet areas for those who need a bit of privacy to complete solo work.

Another important element of a successful collaborative workspace is the availability of ongoing technical support and training for all employees. This will help them get acquainted with the new digital tools that they’ll need to be productive, and it will also ensure that everyone has access to a quick fix for any issues that they encounter.


If the collaborative office is to work properly, the space needs to be bright and comfortable. This can be done with plenty of natural light, acoustic privacy screens that look good and block sound without being slapped in the face, and ergonomic chairs and desks.

In addition, if people need to collaborate with colleagues in other parts of the world, the collaborative workspace should be designed for flexible working. For example, if a team member in Texas needs to work with someone in New York, the collaboration workspace should be configured to allow both employees to share the same screen on their computer. This way, the New Yorker can easily see the Texas worker’s comments and respond.

Another important aspect of the collaborative workspace is a strong sense of community. This can be achieved through design, technology, gathering spaces and social activities. For instance, hosting networking events where staff meet each other outside of their departments can help build a more cohesive workforce. Likewise, creating cross-functional teams that work on projects that use different staff skills can foster more efficient problem-solving methods and stronger professional ties.

Collaborative workspaces can also offer businesses an opportunity to explore new business opportunities with minimal risk. By reducing the need to maintain costly offices in multiple cities or states, companies can explore new markets without having to commit to long-term leases. By partnering with workspace providers, a company can occupy collaborative workspaces in cities across the country while they investigate whether their products or services would be successful in a new market.

The most obvious benefit of collaborative workspaces is the improved workspace utilization they provide. By removing walls, cubicles and other barriers that interfere with collaboration, collaborative workspaces typically use office space much better than traditional layouts. This is especially true of collaborative strategies that encourage more fluid and open communication, such as ABW or office neighborhoods. This is because fewer obstacles mean that workers are always talking to each other and sharing ideas, rather than tucked away in their offices and stuck in their email inboxes for hours on end.

a group of people working together - Building a Collaborative Office: A Design and Layout How-To

The best collaborative spaces need to be equipped with efficient technology to enable productive collaboration. This includes video conferencing, as well as audio, so that employees can communicate with colleagues both in the office and from home. This is especially important for teams that are blending in-office and remote work, which is common in today’s workplaces.

Comfortable furniture and adequate storage are also essential for collaborative workspaces, as is an appropriate acoustic environment that minimizes distractions and noise. Good lighting is another key factor in collaborative areas, as it can improve mood and concentration while reducing eye strain.

In addition, collaborative areas must have the right type of wayfinding to make it easy for employees to locate them, and to find the technology they need to work efficiently. They should also have flexible seating, so that employees can hot desk or hotel into collaborative areas as needed. In many cases, collaborative spaces need to support a wide range of work, from impromptu team meetings to in-person client calls, so on-the-fly meeting scheduling software is an essential tool.

The flexibility of collaborative spaces can also help to cut costs by allowing companies to use them only for the time that they need them. This is a useful alternative to a full-time office lease, which can be a significant overhead expense in times of economic volatility. Collaborative workspaces can be a much more cost-effective way to give employees the flexibility they need to stay motivated and productive.

The collaborative space that you choose should also provide all the necessary infrastructure for collaboration, including comfortable furniture, whiteboards, and the right amount of storage to keep files organized and accessible. Many workspaces offer a variety of services and pricing options, including a monthly membership fee for access to the space, which is then credited with minutes that can be used for phone or video calls. Other models include dedicated collaborative rooms that are available for booking by the hour, as well as workspaces that allow customers to simply walk in and start working. These types of flexible workspaces are a great way to encourage collaborative work in your organization, and can be a valuable resource for businesses that need to stay competitive in today’s economy.


In a collaborative workspace, employees must be comfortable to communicate openly and creatively. The right layout and furniture is key to this type of workspace. Popular collaborative office concepts include circle seating that encourages a free exchange of ideas, as well as modular office furniture that can be reconfigured to accommodate different working configurations. Moreover, collaborative work requires meetings, both formal and informal, and these require conference rooms equipped with audiovisual technology. Additionally, it is important to have a dedicated space for storing supplies, such as pens, markers, and Post-it notes.

Having a separate collaborative space for these tasks eliminates the need to leave the workspace to go back to one’s office, and it helps minimize the risk of germs being spread in the common area. The best collaborative spaces are also equipped with comfortable, high-quality ergonomic chairs and desks, a whiteboard for brainstorming and ideation, and huddle spaces for informal discussions and meetings.

Collaborative workspaces can be located in a traditional office building or a shared-office space. The latter provides a flexible solution to companies looking to make the most of their space without locking themselves into long-term leases. Moreover, it allows a company to scale up or down its staff and workforce without having to relocate the business, which can save a considerable amount of time and money.

Collaboration can be an effective tool to break down silos and boost teamwork within a company. For example, cross-functional projects that bring together employees from a variety of departments can help expose employees to new problem-solving methods, and it can build stronger bonds between colleagues.

As with all workspaces, proper communication and collaboration requires the latest technologies. Integrating collaborative software, videoconferencing tools, and office booking apps into a collaborative workspace can enhance productivity, improve employee satisfaction, and enable workers to stay connected no matter their location or work schedule.

Additionally, it is important to establish clear protocols for utilizing the collaborative workspace. These could include a policy for booking rooms and other workspaces, along with the use of mobile device management software to ensure secure access. It is also beneficial to conduct regular surveys of all users of the collaborative workspace, so they can provide feedback and share their experiences with others in the company.