Collaborative Office Design: Balancing Me & We in the Office

I think that by now we already know – or at least have an idea – that the best concepts usually come as a result of two or more people rubbing their minds. Then again a lot of the time, to even think of an idea at all, we need alone focused time. How do we balance this?

The future of work is collaboration. I know that to get things done, sometimes we need a quiet space without distractions where we can focus and come up with ideas. Other times, interacting with people and being in a more communal environment serve as a better inspiration for generating ideas. I guess our preference majorly depends on the type of task to be achieved.

The future of work is also having a choice. Since the last major pandemic *covid* where we had no choice but to work remotely, more companies have found that work can indeed be done without having to come into the office and sit at your desk 5 days a week.

This has made companies adopt a hybrid work system where employees get to decide where they want to work on particular days. Because of this and also to encourage people to come into the office, the workplace has gravitated from just being a rigid desk and chair to a flexible environment where users can curate their own experiences. This is why Spazio Ideale designs for comfort and incorporates different design options to foster collaborative or focused work.

One company that has successfully implemented collaborative office design is Kuda Bank, a fast-growing digital bank in Nigeria. Kuda Bank’s office space was designed by Africa’s leading Interior Design Firm. According to Tosin Oyetade, the marketing manager at Kuda Bank, the Spazio Ideale design is “cozy, intimate, and allows for human interaction.” The open layout of the space, which intentionally avoids cubicles, encourages employees to engage with one another throughout the day.
This design choice also eliminates any false sense of privacy, creating an environment that fosters interactions among team members.

Kuda bank Open Office Space by Spazio Ideale

Similarly, Areoluwa Fakorede, the Head of Communications, recognizes that the Spazio Ideale design promotes mingling and subtle interaction, which helps to strike a balance between individual and collaborative work.

Kuda Bank Lounge/Kitchenette by Spazio Ideale

The benefits of collaborative office design are many. First and foremost, this category of workplace design promotes teamwork and collaboration. By creating spaces that encourage communication, collaboration, and the exchange of ideas, employees are more likely to work together to solve problems and achieve common goals. This type of work environment also promotes creativity and innovation. When employees are encouraged to share their ideas and work together, they are more likely to come up with new and innovative solutions to problems.

While collaborative office design has many benefits, it is important to remember that it is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Each company’s needs are unique, and the design of the office space should reflect these needs. In addition, it is important to strike a balance between collaboration and individual work. While collaboration is important, it is also important for employees to have spaces where they can work independently and focus on their tasks.

Another company designed by Spazio Ideale that has successfully implemented this is the Paystacks Lagos Office. The space fosters both collaborative and focused work. The design was to create a collaborative work environment that would have a positive impact on the employees by stimulating their creativity and fostering a more satisfying work experience.

Paystacks open office by Spazio Ideale

Understanding that employees might need some “me-time” in the office, Spazio Ideale included some ideas to help with privacy, such as nooks in the Lounge area, as well as Booths, where employees can have private meetings when needed.

Paystacks Lounge area with booths included for privacy designed by Spazio Ideale

Kuda bank Outdoor lounge by Spazio Ideale

A balanced environment where everyone gets work done regardless of the type of work is a main focus in workplace design. Find below five design tips that will enable you to effectively balance individual and collaborative work in the office:
1. Have multiple options to choose from: Having a mix of individual and collaborative settings allows users to choose where they want to work depending on the work they have to do. Consider having a mix of individual workstations and collaborative arrangements in the same space.
2. Pay attention to comfort: Having little details which make users more comfortable goes a long way in ensuring optimum productivity. E.g. soft seating surfaces, throw pillows
3. Lighting matters: Lighting accommodates both individual and collaborative tasks, as it can prevent eye strain, headaches, and fatigue, while also affecting the mood and ambience of the office.
4. Embrace music and other elements which create a light atmosphere
5. Include various writing surfaces.

Collaborative office design is a powerful tool for promoting teamwork, innovation, and employee satisfaction. By creating workspaces that encourage communication and collaboration, companies can foster a culture of teamwork and achieve their goals more effectively. However, it is important to remember that this type of office design is not a one-size-fits-all solution and must be tailored to meet the unique needs of each company.