Designing for “Hyper-Collaboration”

Tim Giles National Interior Design Director peckvonhartel

Tim Giles, National Design Director at peckvonhartel on how an increase in remote workers will lead to hyper-collaboration in the workplace and beyond.

Tim Giles, National Design Director at peckvonhartel on how an increase in remote workers will lead to hyper-collaboration in the workplace and beyond.

Since the evolution of agile working, the dominant ideology for workplace design has been founded in ‘task based centricity’. And while optimising workplace environments for siloed work, collaboration and connectivity is critical to empowering individuals and supporting productivity, our workforce now is placing great expectations on organisations to provide a compelling rationale to return to the workplace.

“To keep pace with the changing needs of our workforce, it’s critical for businesses to reassess the environments that produce high performance teams, and how they will respond to a new set of motivations influencing how their people engage with their work, and each other” says Tim.

For many returning to the office, the missing link has been collaboration and connection with co-workers – a desire for meaningful face-to-face interactions, watching to learn and creativity by osmosis.

Without these moments for interaction our perspective is shifting and pivoting us to place where we are valuing collaboration and connectivity more than ever. The next era of evolution for our workplaces is addressing the desire for ‘hyper-collaboration’. Playing out in the workplace, these new values propel us to reassess our workplaces to support a breadth of changing behaviours, from using the workplace as more of a ‘home base’ to connect and then retreat for siloed work, to supporting the creative self with project and digital spaces that influence curiosity and support innovation.

As a design practice we are seeing more and more of our clients return to us with ideas and strategies for supporting a consolidation, but using this newly created capital to create new experiences for their people.

The Liability in Standing Still.

Tim reflects that “it’s an exciting shift for many organisations who have realised that in an era of the remote workforce, cultivating culture can be achieved using the workplace as a tool for a high performing workforce, rather than the focus on people as culture creators. Using the workplace as a tool to attract and retain is a notion played out across hundreds of workplaces already, but the difference here is how we can draw people back and create a compelling reason for them to return. Ignoring these shifts in workforce expectations will undoubtedly result in a disengaged workforce and a sense of dissatisfaction in the investment towards new ways of working”.

Creating the balance between work and home, hybrid arrangements for organisations really means providing spaces to socialise, entertain, and collaborate beyond the occasional meeting spaces integrated within the workplace. “For the Department of Transport, some of these larger gestures included mezzanine level business hubs before the line of security to create safe spaces for easier connections’ says Tim.

Business Hub Conceptual Sketch

For asset managers the real adoption of ‘hyper-collaboration’ is developing through tenant demand for improved building amenity including guest collaboration spaces, end of journey facilities and the quality of the indoor environment becoming paramount.

Tim notes that “a strong focus for the Department of Transport has been realigning the base building – changing and reconfiguring the architecture with amenity that responds to new ways of conducting business, with the remit of retaining the tenant long term. Of course we are seeing this approach with many developers and asset owners at the moment, looking to capitalise on the opportunity to reposition properties and ensure longevity of their current tenants. Creating mixed use precincts that support new workplace values around collaboration and connectivity is a strong focus for many of our clients, who previously only operated across a commercial office portfolio”.