A Collaborative/Balanced Work Culture Is the Key to the Active Workspace

A Collaborative/Balanced Work Culture Is the Key to the Active Workspace

Using the three pillars we overviewed in previous blogs — movement, flexibility, and simplicity — businesses can create an Active Workspace™ that makes their employees happier, healthier, and more productive. But apart from these individual benefits, how does the Active Workspace transform a company’s culture?

Quite simply, it instills in a business a sense of energy.

This energy is the key to a collaborative and balanced office environment that — like the other pillars — promotes employee productivity and well-being, in addition to fostering retention, success, and stimulation. And it’s the result of a comprehensive strategy that facilitates an environment which maximizes performance by introducing activity-oriented changes, functional and flexibly furnishings, and an overall sense of community.

In 2016, for example, the Mayo Clinic sent a select group of employees to a specially designed workspace. They then scientifically gathered and analyzed their reactions to everything, including environmental factors like piped-in noises, fluctuating temperatures, and variable desk heights. This experiment provides critical insight into what real-world employees need in order to perform at top levels without losing their well-being or compromising their health.

Obviously, promoting movement, flexibility, and simplicity via dynamic furniture and other small changes is easier to quantify than creating “energy.” So how do you invest in an intangible office culture?

Boosting a Collaborative/Balanced Culture to Energize the Office

Time and again, it’s been proven that working cultures where people can freely exchange ideas and concepts without stumbling blocks or retribution see fiscal gains. Case in point: One piece of research showed that organizations which encouraged team-think thrived. In fact, companies that promoted these collaborative experiences had a five times greater chance of performing more successfully in the marketplace than their non-collaborating competitors.

Still, a collaborative/balanced culture doesn’t occur spontaneously. It’s a journey, not a destination, one that removes barriers and implements changes to create a relational work-life balance that workers can appreciate and value.

Take the idea of sit-stand desks versus sit-only options. Knowing that people tend to take the path of least resistance, many companies hedge their bets — correctly — that employees who are already up will find it easier to collaborate with their colleagues. Rather than emailing someone a few feet away, they simply take a few steps. Though such encounters seem relatively insignificant, they foster a team dynamic by creating more interactions and building rapport.

A One-Size-Doesn’t-Fit-All Approach to the Workspace

Obviously, workers are unique. Some prefer to sit during the day; others like to be in constant motion. A true Active Workspace simply gets out of the way, providing enough variety to satisfy everyone’s needs without taking a bite out of workflow. And all of this renders that energy that the most attractive (and active) workspaces seem to have.

To begin this journey for your own workspace, follow these steps:

  1. Be open to trying new things. At VARIDESK, we constantly take shots in the dark and make changes. The worst that can happen is that we go back to an old system after a week or two.
    Never stay locked into believing that what works for your team today will work tomorrow. The definition of collaboration and what it takes to balance a work culture will inevitably evolve as your employees change (through age, generational values, job roles, interests, relationships, etc.). See collaboration and balance through their eyes, because what works for your employees today may be different tomorrow.

  2. Know your employees. We’re a vibrant company, and we have a younger demographic than many corporations that have been around longer or have much wider scopes. But what’s good for our employees isn’t necessarily good for all organizational cultures. We know this, so we don’t try to imitate anyone else.
    Neither should you. Just as we discussed in previous blog posts, you want your culture to grow naturally by understanding and acknowledging who your people are and what they need in order to thrive. Ultimately, you’re trying to play sociologist by making small tweaks to the environment that maximize productivity. Whether it’s through scent machines, a social committee, or the environment that you’re putting people in, it’s all intrinsic to business, of which your people are the main driver.

  3. Don’t get stuck on one iteration. Unfortunately, you’ll never be able to enter the office one day and say, “We finally have the perfect environment with the perfect energy. Time to stop worrying about it.”
    Achieving a collaborative/balanced culture is a dynamic and prolonged journey, during which every worker has a voice and plays a part. And if you have a movement-centric, flexible, and simple work environment, you have tremendous elasticity to keep striving for better performance as a team.

Every organization has the ability to become a place where employees can’t wait to dive into each day’s work without giving up their humanity, health, creativity, or mental well-being. Because every organization can (and should) create an Active Workspace — one where movement, flexibility, simplicity, and a collaborative/balanced culture aren’t just pipe dreams, but rather a manifestation that makes your business the best it can be on all fronts.