The Hottest Spot for Collaboration? Desks.
To get an accurate, current picture of how facilities can better support collaboration, Herman Miller conducted research in the U.S., U.K., India, and Australia. Among other things, we learned that 70 percent of collaboration happens at the desk. Knowing this, companies interested in encouraging collaboration may want to consider providing large screens, adjustable monitor arms, and a side chair or a cushion-top pedestal that can serve as an extra seat.
Here are some other things we learned. Collaboration is primarily spontaneous and sometimes even a little chaotic. It's quite often unplanned and undefined. On average, collaborative events are short (34 percent lasted fewer than 15 minutes and 60 percent were done in under 30 minutes), consist of only two or three people, and use few tools. Also, people seek out meeting spaces when they need more privacy or different tools or because they are worried that the meeting will take long enough that it will constitute a real disruption to colleagues around them.
In short, when people want to collaborate, they seek out the simplest, most convenient solution. If their work area has everything they need, they'll use it. If it's not big enough or they need a certain kind of technology, they'll go to the nearest meeting space that has it—and where they know for sure the technology will work.