You’ve probably heard (or used) buzzwords to describe today’s office worker — these “communicators” or “collaborators” might work in spaces we design called “huddle rooms” or “team areas.”
But in a world where the design trends are growing toward a consultant-based workforce, where does teamwork fit?
The consequences stemming from a lack of teamwork could be exemplified by the recent collapse of Dewey LeBoeuf. Multiple articles have chronicled the economic mistakes from the initial law firm’s merger five years ago until today.
But what ever happened to businesses running off of teamwork? As one blogger noted about the recent trend of law firm collapse’s:
“What every law firm implosion has shown us is that many partners have joined a firm in order to benefit from the brand strength, but have no interest or incentive in sharing clients or helping the firm as a whole succeed.” – Timothy Corcoran, Why Big Law Firms Implode
What’s important here is that even some of the most powerful companies in the world with the biggest profits — as well as the most qualified and hardworking employees — need teamwork to exist. Not only does teamwork indicate communication, efficiency, and creative solutions, but in today’s workforce, it’s an unquestionable way of life.
Anat Lechtner, an NYU Stern School of Business professor and consultant herself, recently stated in an article:
“Collaboration now occurs all the time at personal desks and in hallways, or virtually via internet or smart phones, and it’s often spontaneous and informal, rather than planned in advance.” – Anat Lechner, Better Teamwork through Better Workplace Design
Workspaces are beginning to reflect this mentality. Clients are starting to understand that instead of rows of cubicles and a couple conference rooms, they need a variety of different types of spaces to enhance collaboration of all types.
There shouldn’t be any more 10-year-old posters proclaiming “teamwork” and a teamwork day where everyone gets a day off from behind his or her desk. The working force today needs to be in an environment that enhances — not discourages — teamwork.
If one can have the private workspace, the area in their office that they can talk to and/or interact with one other person, and more spaces where they can interact with larger groups. This alone allows more variety of spaces to collaborate.
For example, check out the new headquarters for the Bill and Melinda Gates’ Foundation. It has been described as having, “Chance encounters [that] yield creative energy. And mobility is essential.”
The New York Times columnist goes on to record that 89 percent of the employees “confirmed that the buildings support informal collaboration.”(Lawrence Cheek, In New Office Designs, Room to Roam and to Think)
If one of the most well-known nonprofits in the world is building its headquarters to heavily support a variety of teaming spaces, shouldn’t we all take a look at how our workspaces boost our teamwork?