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Tools & Tips

Encouraging Collaboration with a Startup Environment

Coworking Spaces are great locations to start a business in a collaborative environment (Picture: BentoMiso, Toronto)

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Slowly but surely, the startup environment is growing in popularity throughout the business world. From Googleplex to the more modest, unfinished office spaces in Palto Alto, this environment brings a slew of benefits to the company as a whole. However, some businesses may struggle with the balance between productive and creative, and how that fits in with encouraging collaboration effectively.

Kelly Meeker of OpenSesame wrote in the Huffington Post: “Creating an office space that supports productivity is a balancing act between enabling focused work and supporting collaboration between creative people.” Meeker was eventually inspired by the Agile Development Manifesto for their OpenSesame offices – but, from office furniture to overall design, how can you incorporate the startup ideals of creativity and collaboration into your current or new office?

Open Concept Design

The number one required aspect of a startup environment is the open concept. If you look at any .com business – Google, Pinterest, and the like – their offices are completely open. That means away with the cubicles and in with clustered seating and shared space. If re-designing, there are still some other ways you can incorporate this open concept.

Clear walls: Instead of closing off your conference rooms, use windows for walls. Studies show that simply seeing others working inspires creativity, collaboration and productivity.Provide variety: Instead of assuming your employees only want to work at their desk, offer some other options. From couches, to pub-style tables and benches – employees may want to step away from the group to collaborate, without needing a conference room.

Responsibilities for All

Generally, getting in on the ground floor with a company, means being willing to take on a variety of responsibilities. While that may be stressful, it also builds loyal employees who become brand advocates for the product and the business as a whole. Not to mention, more responsibility often lends itself to collaboration.

If you’re content team is also running your social media, they may need to collaborate with sales on how to position a certain product, or connect on with the product team on verbiage in ad-copy. By allowing employees to take on multiple positions, not only are they pushed to over perform, but have more reason to work with co-workers in other departments.

Putting Fun in Business

Finally, the most talked about feature in startups are their games. The startup environment is not only about business, but ensuring employees are happy as well. Your employees don’t necessarily come up with their best ideas while staring at the computer screen. Some of the best concepts happen outside of the desk.

Design experts at HonigKat.com suggest, “Having fun during work allows one to be relaxed and that’s where one tends to get inspired with wonderful ideas.” Bringing in Ping-Pong tables, cards, board games and the like allows your employees to engage in their creative brain together.  

The startup environment is wanted by many, but not used enough. Not only does this space invite collaboration, but greater productivity and overall effectiveness improves as well. Whether you’re starting from scratch or looking to re-design you can add a touch of startup into your business.

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This is a guest post from Jessica Sanders, an avid small business writer. As the marketing copyeditor of ResourceNation.com, she touches on a range of topics including office design and social media. Find them on Google+ and Facebook.

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