Fresh Office Designs that Foster Teamwork

If you have ever seen movies or TV shows about older office environments, you probably know what one looks like. Closed spaces, hidden-away offices, and tall cubicles foster an individual environment where individuals work on their own and can't benefit from group productivity, collaboration, or creativity.

Today's offices are much more cognizant of the importance of productivity and efficiency, and the role teamwork plays in encouraging both. A modern office design is likely to incorporate an open floor plan, desks that aren't isolated, and furniture placements that facilitate top-notch teamwork. Here are some floor plans and furniture arrangements to consider.

Look at different arrangements of desks and seating

The standard idea is to fit as many cubicles as possible in square spaces in your office, but this kills creativity. Some offices are going with lines of desks where you can easily look down along the row to find a coworker and solicit some input. Others prefer clusters and groups of desks in different departments that can foster teamwork and collaboration. No longer is privacy the main concern – now, people need clear lines of sight to other employees. You might add glass in workstation walls so people see each other, which makes it easier to see if someone is available to talk or not.

Make your spaces multipurpose and save space

If you're in a downtown area of New York, you know how valuable space is. Instead of leaving a kitchen as a corner room that rarely gets used, change a room into a multipurpose space. A kitchen can also be a meeting room, and you can add workstations with standard connectivity (so you aren't cut off from the Internet when you're grabbing a bite to eat) to the space. Late-night workers aren't the only ones to benefit. You might find your employees get their best ideas when chatting over the coffee maker or near the fridge.

Hallways and staircases are more than transit methods

Instead of tucking away your hallways and staircases where people can't see them, make them front and center. People are productive and innovative when in motion, which is why standing and treadmill desks are increasingly popular in major offices. Make your stairwells centralized and visually interesting so people choose them rather than elevators. Hallways can be a space for couches and whiteboards, a great place to hold a conversation about strategy or charge your iPhone.

Make sure your lighting is not all artificial

When you're stuck in a whitewashed office with humming light bulbs, your best creative impulses are not going to shine. Make sure your building walls incorporate lots of windows and that all spaces possible within your building get natural daylight. Some offices harvest daylight with strategic walls and windows to bounce daylight around the office to cut down on their bills and improve their employees' mental health.

Focus is no longer about finding a private cubicle and tucking your work away where nobody can see it. In modern offices, fresh office designs and floor plans that encourage teamwork are all the rage. Teamwork is an important element of creativity, and if you separate your employees, you are limiting options for collaboration and group inspiration.

Victoria Crawcour is a retired interior designer who spends her free time blogging on the Web. Her article appear mainly on interior design sites. With over 25 years experience providing full refurbishment, as well as office refits for commercial and corporate clients, Desk Center's Refurbishment Services can bring a redundant office area back to life.