How Your Workplace Performs: Enhancing Collaboration

Workplace issue #2: Enhancing Collaboration

Enhance Collaboration as a Natural Way of Working

Leaders today want innovative teams. That innovation is the result of collaboration when people work together solving problems and developing new insights and solutions.

According to this article, collaboration yields several different benefits:

  • Access to Skills and StrengthsWhen companies or departments collaborate, they are able to utilize the strengths and skills of everyone involved. The more people involved, the more skills you have access to! 
  • Develop Employee Skills - The company and employees benefit from collaboration because as a result of sharing ideas and working together, they see how others think, negotiate and operate. The skills and knowledge that each employee can pick up from others can be utilized or taken back to their own department to make improvements or enhancements. 
  • Solve Problems and Innovate Faster - What may take you three months to solve on your own may only take three hours to solve in a collaborative workplace. Access to several employees with unique expertise and viewpoints will most likely allow you to come up with ideas and solutions that you may not have thought of on your own at a faster pace. 
  • Work Efficiency (Divide and Conquer) - Collaborating in the workplace allows businesses to complete important projects and initiatives in a more efficient manner. With multiple individuals or departments involved, work can be distributed more evenly and efficiently to those who have the time and expertise. Instead of one or two individuals working on something for months, a team of six or eight individuals could each take a small specialized part and accomplish the entire thing in a week.  
  • Job Satisfaction and Employee Retention - Working with others in a meaningful way helps employees feel good about what they do. When you can share your 'wins' with other people, you often build a sense of team. Employees are more likely to stay at a job or company longer when they have strong bonds with others around them and feel they are a part of something important.

According to Julie Barnhart-Hoffman, design principal with WorkSpace Futures, the Steelcase research and design group, “Collaboration relies on social networks, informal connections, how many interactions you have during the day. The variety and type of spaces where you work — workstations, hallways, cafés, team spaces, lounge areas, etc. — have an impact on how well you collaborate.” Benching workstations, technology-enabled meeting spaces, social spaces like work cafés and a good mix of tables and writing surfaces help build community and encourage collaboration. Barnhart-Hoffman adds, "If you want people to collaborate, you have to give them a range of workspace options.”

This article contains information from Steelcase's paper on the Interconnected Workplace. You can read the entire research paper by clicking here or on the image below:


About the Workplace Performance series (see links to the whole series below):

Performance reviews are an expectation for today's workers. It's common for employees to meet with a supervisor and review pre-set goals, results and feedback regarding performance on at least an annual basis. This is good for keeping your people accountable, but there's another performer in your office that may be flying under the radar... your workplace. Do you know how well (or how poorly) your work environment is performing for you? Most managers wouldn't hire an employee without setting expectations for their performance, but very few set goals for their new workspace. The likely reason is they don't know what goals to set or how to measure them. Today, we're going to share one of these secrets with you below.


Based on research by Steelcase, the leading manufacturer of furniture for offices, hospitals, and classrooms, there are five common issues in the workplace that can be addressed by the design of your space. 

  1. Real Estate Optimization
  2. Enhancing Collaboration
  3. Attracting, Developing and Engaging Talent
  4. Building the Company Brand
  5. Improving Wellbeing

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