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9 Ways Office Furniture Can Make or Break Teamwork

Office furniture is useful for more than just providing employees with a place to work and making your office look good. With the right pieces, it can also promote communication and collaboration, which will help your business thrive.

When shopping for furniture, keep these nine tips in mind for pieces that can make (or break!) teamwork:

Make it:

1. It’s easy-to-move: As office design evolves away from closed-off offices and conference rooms into open space floor plans, the concept of traditional meeting space has changed as well. In order to accommodate the new trend of ad-hoc, as-needed gathering spaces, office furniture needs to be lighter and more mobile. That means tables, seating and whiteboards on wheels (or at least light enough to carry) to whatever space is open and inspirational.

Rise from Allsteel’s Gather collection can be used in many different ways.

2. It’s multifunctional: As conference rooms disappear and offices become smaller and more space-efficient, furniture designers have re-imagined pieces used for teamwork and have found creative ways to maximize how a single piece of furniture is used. Take Rise from Allsteel’s Gather collection: The piece resemble stadium seating and can be used for sitting, lounging and leaning; the steps provide both seating and work surfaces.

The Motiv sofa by Bretford can be ordered with built-in power sources.

3. It’s plugged in: You’d be hard-pressed to find a gathering these days that doesn’t include a laptop, tablet or smartphone being used to share information and collect ideas, so it’s essential that meeting spaces have access to power. Luckily there are plenty of new pieces that are designed with built-in outlets, like the Manny ottoman from Sparkeology and Bretford’s Motiv sofa.

4. It’s everywhere: Meeting spaces aren’t only confined to conference rooms anymore. More and more employers are recognizing that impromptu meetings are occurring in surprising locales, like in front of the refrigerator in the break room, in the stairwell and in hallways. Rather than force people to meet in one spot, make it easy to meet where ever they are but adding seating or worksurfaces. Remember, it doesn’t have to be anything fancy; put a bench in a hallway or high tables in lounge areas that invite team members to chat a little longer.

5. It’s round: The Knights of the Round Table were onto something, according to new research from University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business. Their study found that people sitting at round tables were more group oriented and less antagonistic than those sitting at tables with angles.

6. It’s fun: Nothing kills creativity quite like a drab, colorless and poorly lit office. Inspire your employees by incorporating bright colors, unique artwork, plants and natural lighting into your design. Depending how far you’re willing to go to make things fun, you could even consider adding a little table tennis or air hockey to the mix (who knows what new ideas might bubble up during some friendly competition?).

Break it:

7. It’s unavailable: In traditional offices, the space used for collaborative work is often a conference room. Which is okay, except when you have several teams who need meeting space and have nowhere to gather when all the conference rooms are in use. Truthfully, any office furniture that can comfortably accommodate a meeting of two or more minds helps promote teamwork; it just can’t be locked behind a closed door.

8. It’s closed off: While walls and partitions protect employees from noisy brainstorming sessions and prying eyes, it also stymies the flow of information within a workspace. High-walled cubicles do little to promote casual conversations and chance encounters, more often they put individual employees in silos that are useful for work that requires high levels of concentration, but not so much for idea sharing.

A place to lean on and set down a laptop, like Allsteel’s Hedge, is all you need to make a quick standup meeting more comfortable.

9. It’s uncomfortable: Employees aren’t going to be too interested in sticking around for a long meeting if they’re posterior falls asleep 20 minutes in. When trying to create a collaborative office space, it’s good to have a mix of softer, cushier seating options for lengthier brainstorming sessions and easy-to-access pieces that might be as simple as a bar to lean up against while chatting, like The Hedge from Allsteel’s Gather collection.

Shopping for furniture to promote teamwork in your office? Look no further than Arnolds Office Furniture.

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