Posted by: healingtheworkplace | June 20, 2009

Creating Workplaces That Foster Health And Collaboration

Hi there, as I mentioned the other day I always think of people skills when I think of collaboration in the workplace.

What do I mean by people skills?

  • the ability to communicate
  • the ability to work with a diverse group of people
  • the ability to be aware of how one is affecting other people
  • the ability to develop relationships quickly
  • the ability to work in a team
  • Etc. Etc.

But, after doing some research for this blog I learned that there are a few other things that are required for us to be able to collaborate at work:

  • a workplace environment that enables people to interact
  • technological tools such as wikis, blogs and social networking sites that connect people who need to collaborate but who do not work in the same building, city or even country for that matter

The March/April 2009 edition of provides an article written by Paul Whelan. The article is called Workplace Design for Health: Part 3 (somehow I missed the first two parts) and in it Paul talks about, “the relationship between workplace design and health.”

He also talks about the importance of workplace design in creating “collaboration space”. 

According to Paul (and I agree) workplaces must also have high-quality air and natural light.  Prior to becoming self-employed the last office I had was just the opposite–having no windows and poor ventilation.

Now I work from home and my office window faces south allowing lots of natural light and of course I can open the window any time I want to. But enough about me.

One interesting fact that I gleaned from Paul Whelan’s article,

“In Canada, typical office workers spend less than 50% of their time at their desks.”

To meet this need organizations should to have a variety of rooms that can be used to accomodate different work styles and needs. Here are some examples of “collaboration spaces”:

  • meeting rooms
  • stand-up meetings
  • touch-down spaces
  • project rooms
  • work lounges
  • cafes
  • technology (roaming telephones and wireless connections for laptops)

Today these ideas probably seem somewhat utopian to you but some organizations are taking them seriously.

If you work for an organization that is reorganizing, rebuilding or renovating you might want to explore Paul Whelan’s ideas in more detail.

Enjoy your weekend! Lesley

Oh, I just had another thought…there is a need to do something about workplace bullying and I wonder if these “new”  collaborative workplace environments deter bullying? What do you think???


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