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Building A Collaborative Work Environment


When you think of the typical business environment, you probably picture a maze of cubicles and rows of offices against each wall. But, that’s all changing. These days, more and more companies are encouraging collaboration and team building at work and in turn, designing workspaces that are conducive to such. Partitioned desks and enclosed offices are falling to the wayside while shared desks, lounge-style seating and gathering areas are taking precedence. Office layout planning is an important part of any business. If you’re thinking about reworking yours to create an open, collaborative work environment, take a look at these suggestions to remodel and the small business banking options to fund the change.

Say goodbye to cubes.

The hallmark of the collaborative work environment is the lack of walls and partitions. Forgo the classic cubicle in favor of “pods” of desks where teams of people sit together. Any dividers between work stations should be short or easily movable to encourage conversation and teamwork among coworkers. You should also include plenty of common areas and break-out spaces for brainstorms and meetings. These can be anything from restaurant-style booths to chairs and couches surrounded by white boards.

With most workers using laptop computers, e-mail and instant messenger more frequently than phone calls, it’s not always necessary to be tethered to a desk. That’s why it’s important to make work stations as mobile as possible. Desks and chairs that can be easily moved or wheeled around for impromptu meetings make collaboration less of a chore. The key to this style of office layout planning is to keep the office as open and conducive to collaboration as possible.

Consider noise level.

While team building at work is the main goal when designing a collaborative work environment, privacy and noise level should still be taken into consideration for those who need quiet to concentrate or are working on a solo project. Whether you dedicate some areas equipped with more private work stations, or incorporate the use of white noise (soft noise that sounds like a ventilation system) to block out voices, some level of privacy should be made available for the people and situations that need it.

Plan your budget.

Whether you’re relocating to a new office or overhauling your current one, chances are you’ll have a bit of renovating to do in order to create a contemporary, open environment and foster team building at work. Don’t let the expense deter you if this is an important change you want to make for your business. Look into business banking solutions that can provide you with the funds you need. Small business loans provide one of the best options for purchasing new office furniture. However, you can also consider a small business line of credit or credit card if the changes are minor. Once you’ve designed your layout, compared costs from multiple companies, and have an estimate of how much you’ll need for desks, chairs and other essentials, visit your bank to inquire about the small business loans available. Your lender will help you decide what kind of small business loan is right for you and determine the amount and payment structure that will work best for your needs.