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DATE: 02/25/2016

Ok, do you really need collaborative office furniture? No. But could you benefit from it? Most definitely.

Last year, we saw an unprecedented number of traditional offices continue the switch to more collaborative set-ups. The trend is likely to continue in 2016, and for good reason.

Despite the onslaught of media backlash against the open office – emphasizing complaints of constant interruptions, lack of sound privacy and inability to focus – most employers haven’t been dissuaded from moving toward a more collaborative concept.

Though some are undoubtedly enticed by the possibility of lowered costs (less private offices means less square footage, and less square footage means less money spent on lease agreements), others are simply interested in creating a more youthful company culture. Regardless of initial motivation, open offices do offer significant advantages to the companies that pull them off:

Innovation Nation

Creativity. Collaboration. The sharing of new ideas – our country was built on such concepts. It was several great minds coming together to make something new. Sadly, the cubicle farms of yesteryear made such discourse fairly uncommon. Workers largely stuck to face-to-face conversations within their own departments, and there was very little understanding of how their individual roles related to the company as a whole.

Conversely, collaborative workspaces encourage employees to interact with people they normally wouldn’t. Such “collisions” often result in increased ideation, enhanced productivity and a stronger sense of ownership for all involved.

Take Boeing’s Renton factory for example: The company reportedly experienced 50 percent productivity gains due to the collocation of engineers and mechanics under one roof in what was a monumental collaborative office redesign. While it’s hard to predict the exact gains a business can experience by switching to an open office concept, the possibilities are endless.

Attract Top Talent

Experts predict the market will continue to favor passive and active job-seekers alike. For various reasons, today’s workers are demanding increased autonomy, flexibility and lifestyle amenities in exchange for devoting themselves entirely to one company.

You can position yourself to attract the best by furnishing your office with modern designs. Create a collaborative office environment that feels fun to work in and you’ll have a better pool of candidates to choose from.

Stay Relevant

Every business eventually has to “change with the times.” Case in point: You’ll be hard-pressed to find an office today that doesn’t house computers. Smartphones, tablets and collaborative software have once again changed the way we work. Translation: The traditional office is on the verge of extinction!

With the ability to work from anywhere with a WiFi connection, the reasons for having an assigned desk are becoming less clear. While transitioning to a completely open office might not be right for your company, chances are it would benefit from incorporating some collaborative elements.

A common misconception is that an office design is either completely open or closed – and that is simply not true. You can maintain several private offices, while simultaneously incorporating collaborative spaces for various team members. Keep these factors in mind when redesigning your office in 2016, and you’ll keep the momentum going all year long.

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