Communication is coiled in the DNA of every successful business venture. Why? Aside from being integral to our own genetics, good communication is what binds together great leaders—and ideas—in an increasingly globalized workplace.
But understanding this concept and putting it into action are two separate things. All too often, business environments are structured to enclose us. Offices have doors. Cubicles have tall panels. Even communal kitchens sometimes feel private, given their narrow, railroad-style architecture.
So rather than stick to the status quo, we’ve drafted up a list of expert design ideas that are guaranteed to improve communication around the workplace.
Consider a “Dedicated Communication” Area
Regrouping with colleagues shouldn’t have to involve scheduling a meeting room. Instead, you should think about designating an open area that’s more conducive to big groups, and lively, informal gatherings. This can be an island, shared table or central space that might better serve as your spirited ‘communication lounge.’ For groups concerned with privacy, high padded seating and shelving units may also come in handy. They help to buffer sound and create a sense of intimacy, without shutting employees out entirely.
Be Flexible With Space
Cubicles and private offices undoubtedly serve a purpose, but they shouldn’t be relied upon 24/7. The best way to foster employee communication is to switch up the floor plan to establish a number of different working zones. Think of meeting pods, quiet booths, huddle spaces, small and larger meeting areas, and so forth. By setting up spaces that fulfill a host of needs, employees will learn to better adapt to an array of working environments, while focusing on the given task at hand.
Studies have shown that sunlight and exposure to greenery can contribute to a 15% increase in creativity, and a 6% increase in productivity. That said, don’t shy away from incorporating fresh plants and flowers into your workspace. This not only will improve office air quality, but also help foster a sense of enthusiasm among employees—one that encourages communication in a brighter, open area.