Collaboration is not just a buzzword or trend; it's a way of doing business that's here to stay. Whether you're in an academic setting or a multi-national corporation with a worldwide workforce, collaborative interaction is part of life. Here are just a few ways to make collaborative workspaces at your business or school more effective.
1. Set Up a Collaborative Orientation
To start, set up workspaces in a way that will facilitate, or even encourage, working collaboratively. Individual cubicles or lecture-style layouts have their place, but not when creating a space for people to work together. While this mostly deals with the orientation of tables and chairs, consider placement of audio and video equipment as well. Use of wireless presentation systems or video conferencing interfaces must be accounted for in such a way that everyone can participate comfortably, including having their ideas viewed and heard. Also consider the needs of both local and remote participants. The days of everyone being in one room at the same time are fading fast.
2. Keep it Simple
Choose hardware and software tools that are simple to use. We’ve all been there: wasting valuable time trying to figure out how to use a program or find the right cable. There are resources that are well-suited for a facilitated environment, but for collaborative workspaces, choose easy-to-use tools. Few things will quell one’s creative ambition to share like being intimidated by the wireless presentation or collaboration tools. When dealing with a physical work space, be certain that access to A/V equipment connections and power outlets does not create a hindrance.
3. Keep it Open and Secure
In today’s climate with globally dispersed workforces and supplier/partner relationships, it's important to have a communication framework that can openly and securely enable collaboration anywhere, at any time, on any device. Openness and security are two sides of the same coin — it cannot be one over the other, it must be both. If your solution is not open and supportive of multiple device types such as PC’s, Mac’s, Android/iOS/Windows tablets, and smart phones, you risk losing valuable input by alienating participants. But if you don’t keep it secure, you risk losing valuable information and people possibly becoming reticent to openly share their ideas.
Whether a board room, a classroom, or a project meeting in multiple rooms, collaboration enables participation from more people in every setting. From a single location or multiple sites across a campus or across the globe, the generation and sharing of information and great ideas is vital to driving business forward. A simple to use, yet full-featured, robust tool set, combined with an overall unified collaboration and communication platform, taking advantage of secure networking solutions is the way to go.
Need help determining what to include in your conference room or classroom to encourage collaboration? Contact us today to schedule a consultation.