DATE: 01/14/2016

You may be wondering – what is a “chance encounter” and what does it have to do with redesigning my office space?

A chance encounter is when two employees, who would have had no reason to dialogue otherwise, end up having an interesting conversation – that may or may not yield beneficial results for the company as a whole – based on a random meeting.

What was once considered idle “water-cooler talk,” is now seen as a vital part of maintaining an innovative company culture. Facebook, Yahoo and Samsung are just some of the companies utilizing collaborative spaces as part of their overall strategy.

A recent Harvard Business Review article quoted Samsung vice president Scott Birnbaum as saying: “The most creative ideas aren’t going to come while sitting in front of your monitor. (The new building) is really designed to spark not just collaboration but that innovation you see when people collide.” So, is there any evidence that these sorts of encounters actually work?

After collecting a wide range of performance data, researchers at Sociometric Solutions resoundingly say absolutely.

The firm’s research suggests orchestrating unplanned employee interactions does in fact improve performance. While the reasons for this appear to be multi-faceted, one thing is clear: Spaces can be designed to produce specific performance outcomes. By studying success metrics such as total sales, production volume or speediness of completion, a knowledgeable interior solutions team can help determine how design could be helping or hurting “the bottom-line.”

Here are some tips to begin promoting “chance encounters” in your San Antonio office:

Shift Your Perspective

Instead of thinking of the office in terms of real estate, begin to see it as a communication tool. This means moving away from always prioritizing cost savings and moving toward prioritizing design strategy. Much like you are willing to invest in reliable, top-notch IT support (because you know they will help you produce better work and make more money long-term), you should see your office design as an asset.

Make It Tech-Friendly

Smartphones, laptops and tablets have been around for awhile now, which begs the question: Why haven’t more offices accommodated mobile working? Today’s employees value autonomy; that means working how, where and when they prefer. Update your office with accessible electrical outlets, tech-friendly furniture and mobile work devices that make it easy for employees to work away from desk stations.

Create Multipurpose Spaces

Finally, strategically design community spaces that encourage employees to interact. This can include anything from a cafeteria to a coffee shop to a lounge. The important thing is to make it feel warm and inviting. Further, include a “purpose for congregating” such as a show-stopping piece of art, the world’s best coffee or a beautiful bird’s eye view.

As you can see, designing your office to promote chance encounters doesn’t just happen. It takes careful planning, deliberation and creativity. If you’re ready to redesign your office, we’re here to help.

Click Here for a free consultation.