Collaborate or Die: Open up Your Workplace and Grow

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At Stroll, a next generation education e-commerce company, we’ve put considerable effort into creating a work environment that fosters collaboration, interaction, and communication, within aesthetically pleasing offices. Oversized couches beckon in our breakout area. Large, trader-style desks signal efficiency and output. White boards reflect ideas, activities, flow charts, and results.

We take to heart the idea that performance is tied to work environment, and that a collaborative and creative space is essential to team success. But in some organizations, that’s just talk, and in others, it’s not even talk. You don’t have to look far to find companies with row after row of isolating cubicles, windowless offices, harsh lighting, drab wall coverings, and no comforts of home — except perhaps in the lobby to welcome customers.

If you’re reading this in your cubicle or dull corporate office, I encourage you to learn more about the benefits of collaborative work environments and how to create one in your company. You don’t have to be drastic to improve collaboration in your organization. Simple tweaks can go a long way.

Here are just a few of the core aspects of our work environment that have been crucial to increasing performance. For every one of these ideas you implement, you can achieve a positive effect on employee morale, communication, and creativity.

1. Open architecture to increase employee interaction. Rethink your boxy cubicle and closed-door office setup. Most of our work stations have an open layout with trader-style desks, which don’t have sides or walls. This setup helps facilitate interaction among team members and maintains an open dialogue throughout the office, so new ideas are being shared on the fly. If we had our druthers, our senior management team would also sit at open work stations. However, they have offices out of necessity to provide privacy for handling confidential matters. Nevertheless, our senior managers keep their office doors open most of time, whenever private matters are not being discussed.

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