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Use These 5 Tips to Design an Office That Encourages Collaboration

The typical office worker sits at their cubicle all day long with headphones clamped on, completing tasks on their own. In an office like this, workers may interact with each other only at lunch — and that’s if they decide to sit in the communal area instead of taking lunch at their desks.

While many jobs require occasional solitude, research shows that collaboration encourages productivity in the workplace overall. One study published by Stanford University in 2014 found that when participants knew they were going to work collaboratively on a task, they kept working on that task 64% longer than peers who were told they’d be working alone. The participants who collaborated also reported lower levels of fatigue, higher engagement, and a better success rate.

Meanwhile, a recent survey by Steelcase found that 90% of people say collaboration is critical to formulating new and better ideas, and 93% of leaders believe teamwork is vital for generating ideas.

Creating a collaborative office requires more than an open layout and digital communication tools. Instead, you need to get creative with office design and inspire employees to work together and share ideas. Here are five tips that can take your office in a whole new collaborative direction.

1. Use Benching Desks

Two-person and four-person bench-style desking solutions are some of the most popular options to encourage collaboration among small teams. These setups offer personal space and individual storage while keeping teams in close proximity so they can communicate with ease. The best benching desks also offer optional screens that can help workers strike a balance between availability and privacy.

2. Install Multipurpose Rooms

Offices are fluid these days. One worker may sit in a meeting room to get some peace and quiet while another team congregates in the kitchen to chat about a new project. And the multipurpose room that characterizes so many modern offices shows us how office managers have learned to encourage collaboration.

A multipurpose room can serve all sorts of needs with various types of desks and chairs, a coffee station, a screen for presentations, and a television. Instead of dictating how employees work, a true multipurpose room creates an inviting atmosphere and offers open-ended use possibilities. By simply getting employees to share space and serving a multitude of needs, multipurpose rooms naturally encourage employees to collaborate.

3. Put Meeting Rooms Near Teams

Employees don’t want to book a meeting room and then schlep 100 yards to the room with everything on their desks in tow. Instead, make it simple for teams to meet and collaborate. One method involves putting small dedicated meeting rooms near the areas where teams work. This way, workers can easily switch back and forth between enjoying solitude and collaborating on projects as needed, all without any extra hassle and wasted time.

4. Use Breakout Tables

Stand-up meeting tables, also known as breakout tables, create natural hotspots in a collaborative office. Put these tables in rooms or nooks around the office, and employees will tend to congregate there over coffee or even take meetings standing up when they need a break from sitting all day. And encouraging employees to stand and move is always a good thing since it can improve creativity, motivation, and overall well-being.

RELATED: Why Every Manager Needs to Help Employees Get Up and Move

5. Offer Quieter Spaces

Collaboration doesn’t only include big brainstorming sessions and major meetings. Sometimes, it means two or three employees huddling up to discuss a task and share ideas for a few minutes. To foster this type of small-scale collaboration, you may want to create soundproof rooms that fit only a few people. This way, small groups of a few collaborators can work together in an environment that allows them peace, quiet, and the ability to concentrate.

How the Zen Social Spaces Collection From ZGO Solutions Fits Into Your Collaborative Office

The right furniture is essential when it comes to constructing a collaborative office. With modern desking options from ZGO Solutions, you can make it easy for your team to meet and collaborate in the ways that make sense for them.

The Zen Social Spaces collection from ZGO Solutions was designed with collaborative and ad-hoc meeting spaces in mind. This distinctive collection has benching desk solutions that allow several employees to readily collaborate without sacrificing customization and control. The Zen Social Spaces collection also uses our intelligent and innovative Smart System, so all the desks have height adjustable table frames and ergonomic tabletop designs with a place for a Smart Screen. Zen Social Spaces desks offer places to plug and hide your cords and cables, and the benching desks in this collection come with durable finishes in sleek colors that match the design concept of your office.

Ready to learn more about how ZGO Solutions can help you encourage collaboration in the workplace? Contact us today.


Coester, D. (2017, October 18). How to design workspaces that spur collaboration. American Press Institute. Retrieved from

New work. New rules. (n.d.). Steelcase. Retrieved from

Parker, C.B. (2014, September 15). Stanford research shows that working together boosts motivation. Stanford News. Retrieved from