Top Menu

header_qs

An Emphasis on Privacy

 Collaboration in Excess Takes a Toll

In organizations all over the world, people are facing brand-new problems that require sharing information and putting knowledge together in new ways. For all the right reasons, collaboration has become the big engine for progress and innovation. Although workplaces today make it seemingly easy for people to collaborate, most leaders remain dissatisfied with the pace and frequency of breakthroughs. Uncertain of what to do next, they hire new talent, carve out trendy group spaces, add technology or step up team training efforts—but still don’t see the gains they desire.

Paradoxically, most efforts to fuel more successful collaboration are only making it worse. New Steelcase research has revealed that, while togetherness at work is vital for value creation, in excess it’s a killer. Throughout the world, too much interaction and not enough privacy has reached crisis proportions, taking a heavy toll on workers’ creativity, productivity, engagement and wellbeing.

Without question, successful collaboration requires giving coworkers easy access to each other. But it also requires giving each individual the time and places to focus and recharge, and too many workplaces today aren’t delivering on privacy as a necessity.

“The need for privacy sometimes—at work as well as in public—is as basic to human nature as is the need to be with others,” explains Donna Flynn, director of Steelcase’s WorkSpace Futures research group. “The harder people work collaboratively, the more important it is to also have time alone—to be free from distractions, apply expertise and develop a solid point of view about the challenges at hand. People also need privacy to decompress and recharge.

“A key takeaway from our study is that the open plan isn’t to blame any more than reverting to all private offices can be a solution. There is no single type of optimal work setting. Instead, it’s about balance. Achieving the right balance between working in privacy and working together is critical for any organization that wants to achieve innovation and advance.”

— Donna Flynn, Director of Steelcase’s WorkSpace Futures Research Group

The Key? Create a space that reflects the diversity of the business and enables people to connect more easily.

Here are some thought starters:

 

Resources:

Products:

, , , , , , ,