Psychology Explains: Do Collaborative Workspaces Work?

The study of psychology tries to understand why humans behave the way that they do. As we have evolved, so have our work habits; instead of swinging from vines, we now work at desks. Psychology tries to understand this evolutionary change and how humans have adapted to it. For instance, how do humans respond to work environments, what makes them feel comfortable, and what factors encourage workflow?
In this blog, we will be discussing how a collaborative workspace can psychologically encourage your employees to work better and faster.

Established Sense of Community

Even before your workers get started on their jobs, they need to know that they are being ushered into a welcoming work environment. More importantly, your business should establish that new workers can go to other workers to ask questions about their job. When you foster a more inclusive environment, you are much more likely to give your business a comfortable feeling. Workers who are ignored or punished when they ask questions, are less likely to feel like their work environment supports them. Businesses should learn to support their workers, especially when they are learning how to do their job. Expecting that someone is hired and doesn’t require a learning curve isn’t realistic.
Aside from establishing an inviting community, you should also make sure that you show off the sense of community that your offices can bring. One of the major benefits of a collaborative work environment is that socialization among co-workers is increased. By having an open area to work, employees feel more inclined to converse with each other, not just for business-related topics. Of course, this can be a double-edged sword, as socialization in business can also diminish productivity. However, with a better sense of community, workers can feel more comfortable to work, which can have an effect on the overall quality of their work.

Increase Communication and Idea Creation

In collaborative environments, ideas are able to be shared. Communication in these types of work environments is also magnified, as workers don’t have to travel or dial a number to contact their co-workers. In an open space, workers can communicate effectively and create new ideas. Better still, these ideas can be built off of each other, which can catapult ideas from small thoughts to real-life innovations.
Though collaboration can be an exciting prospect for businesses, psychology also warns about natural human behavior. For instance, the psychological phenomenon, Groupthink, is always a concern for businesses. This means that a group of people wish to agree on the same things in order to maintain a sense of unity and conformity. As a result of this, ideas and thoughts can be skewed to benefit the group and can alter decision-making processes.
Groupthink can be a dangerous concept for businesses, especially ones that expect to thrive and innovate. However, there are ways to make sure that groupthink does not happen to your office. In corporate businesses, collaborative workspaces can keep people engaged to think of new ideas. Though groupthink can occur, with a community of workers bouncing ideas off each other, it is less likely to happen.
Also, collaborative workspaces can combat groupthink using diversity. As a business, hiring many diverse people is important. When you only hire one type of person for your business, this is when groupthink can be risky. For instance, if you hire the same demographic of workers, they are likely to think similarly. Because of this, collaborative workspaces won’t work to innovate or encourage alternative thought. Instead, your business is likely to only think one way, and very strongly.

Workers Have More Control Of Their Jobs

With collaborative environments, workers generally feel as if they have more control over their jobs. In many collaborative workspaces, they are typically open 24/7, which means workers can utilize their own space when they have a deadline or when they want to show their own progress. And, open work environments also encourage workers to take breaks. In many businesses, work can be difficult and mentally taxing, by offering an open space that encourages breaks, you are subconsciously letting your workers know you care for their well being. This can help employees feel well-supported at their job and have a better handle on their workload.

Thriving Rates and On-Going Studies

According to Harvard Business Review, researchers have studied the effects of collaborative workspaces and gathered that these spaces encourage productivity. Though co-working environments encourage breaks and socialization, they also improve a workers quality of work-life. According to a survey in which workers rated how much they were thriving at their job, collaborative workers rated their environments a six-out-of-seven. There is currently on-going research happening to try to pinpoint exactly what about co-corking environments improve employee enthusiasm.

Fractal: Business Offices for Rent

At Fractal, we offer both collaborative workspaces for rent, as well as individual desks and offices. If your business could benefit from a workspace that encourages creative thought and collaborative processes, Fractal Coworking has something to offer you. Contact us today to learn more about our office plans.