Open floor plans have taken a bit of beating in the last few years. Right now, the consensus seems pretty resolute about their failure as productivity enhancers, though the concept is still green enough to gain new wind if a worthy approach should come along. Enter Charles Teague, CEO of the successful health app called Lose It!, who believes, inspiring collaboration and creativity requires more than just architectural layout, it also requires some imagination on the part of employers.
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Diverse physical spaces
Teague has spent over a decade in the belly of the startup scene and has since emerged with several pertinent tips and tricks for maintaining a productive workspace by implementing forethought and variety. One of the tips, that he shared with Ladders, highlights the potential benefit of the infamous open office design: DIverse physical spaces. A variety of different kinds of areas to work and collaborate go along way to mask the invariable monotonous plague of professionalism. “From quiet desk areas to our airy cafe and lounge space, people are more efficient because they have the chance to work together in a space that adapts to different kinds of collaboration,” Teague explained.
To strengthen the element of heterogeneity, Teague’s employees, switch up seats every quarter, which he says has led to improved organic communication and collaboration across the company, “keeping our ideas, (and desks) fresh.”
The psychology of a healthy office culture
Obviously, employee-employer communication is key, but it important to be dually mindful of tone. When employers make the “Why” as important as the “how and when we are going to get this objective accomplished” employees are more easily motivated toward shared goals.
They understand why choices are being made, and are less likely to feel arbitrary. “We put together plans in eight-week chunks—one-week planning and seven weeks executing—which gives us a progress checkpoint every two months and the flexibility to reset and pivot our strategy if needed,” Teague explained.
Teague’s staff is constantly in the know, which unifies members of different branches. The virtue of trust is established, from the beginning, serving both productivity and team synergy. “I take a lot of time talking to employees and explaining why we’re doing things, which creates trust across the company so that teams can act more autonomously to fulfill their goals.”
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