The Liabilities of Collaborative Work Space


**Encouraging collaboration and inspiration – but also interruption**

I’m going to let you in on my deep, dark secret. _I had to retreat to my company’s training room to write this blog post_. As a longtime advocate of collaboration for fostering workplace productivity, I am feeling _very_ hypocritical at the moment.

Allow me to catch you up to speed… Towards the end of last year I knew it was time for a change. After many years marketing and teaching the sport of gymnastics (something that I _love_), I had reached a ceiling; there ceased to be room for further career advancement.

I love a good challenge though. My realization was also my exit cue.

Finding an organization that regarded this type of work environment as highly as I do was my **top priority**.

My main goal in selecting my next career opportunity: find an environment that would foster **collaboration** and **socialization**.

Having worked hard to create and encourage this environment with my former staff, I have witnessed the benefits it affords first hand. Finding an organization that regarded this type of work environment as highly as I do was my top priority.

## Isolation vs Collaboration

I had _no_ idea how difficult it would be to transition into a _consistently_ collaborative, shared work environment.

In my former position it was a _requirement_ to create content in a private, quiet, uninterrupted location. A routine I have unknowingly become _very_ accustomed to. Yet suddenly I consistently exist in a workspace full of unavoidable distractions and interruptions.

**Leverage** your highest level of **productivity** by **harnessing your ideal workspace**.

The very collaboration I so fiercely sought after has turned out to be the most challenging aspect of my new position. When it comes time to create, I often find myself longing for the level of concentration that I am only afforded by solitude.

It turns out my most effective work environment for fostering genuine productivity is dependent entirely upon the task at hand. Simply because I appreciate the ability to poke my head over my cubicle and request my co-workers’ assistance or chat with someone as they pass by, doesn’t make that the ideal work environment for me to sit down and write this blog post in.

**My work style and creative process vary depending upon the task I am completing. So why shouldn’t my environment?**

I came to the realization that if I don’t leverage the benefits of the physical layout of my surroundings it’s no one’s fault but my own. I felt the need to insert some control over my environment and began fostering a sense of place.

Where in my new space could I most effectively accomplish the projects I am tasked with?

## Working Where I Work Best

**First thing in the morning, that space is my desk**. This is when I appreciate my co-workers the most.

**When it comes time to create however,** those benefits no longer apply. So when all else fails… **I escape**.

We communicate on the latest industry news, company changes, everything and anything project management. This collaboration aides tremendously in the content mining and information sharing that has become my morning routine.

**When it comes time to create however,** those benefits no longer apply. So when all else fails… **I escape**.

As I finish this post I am sitting alone in the training room (which I reserved for myself this morning) appreciating the solitude and the creativity it lends to my writing process.

**Lesson Learned**: If working at your full potential means utilizing more than one workspace _do it_.

## Productivity Through Variety

Regardless of the tasks on my to-do list during any given day, sometimes a break from my cubicle and typical surroundings is the fix I need to leverage my highest level of productivity. For example, I often sneak down to this very training room to stretch and do a little gymnastics. Nothing like some handstands to aide in untangling a nagging project away from your desk!


If you take one thing away from this post and my experience let it be this: **Your surroundings are essential to maximizing your productivity, and should aide in the completion of whatever task you are working to accomplish**. Whether that task demands solitude or team collaboration is for you to decide and act on.

As I bask in the quiet solitude for one last moment… I realize there’s not a single task on my remaining to-do list for the day that I can complete without the assistance of my coworkers. So as I finish my thoughts I prepare to return upstairs and join them in the office. But not before one last handstand.

Showing 15 comments
  • Kimberley hill

    Really enjoyed this article! Very informative with helpful advice. Great writing. Thanks!

  • Jo Ann Chappell

    Nice job!!! I only wish I had a place to exit to, makes perfect since. I especialy enjoyed seeing the handstand photo, Nothing like turning upside down to redirect all energies to refocus. great idea!!! ejoyed your blog s much thaks for sharing!

  • dkenedy

    This is very insightful…whenever i take personality tests they come out equal parts introvert/extrovert. This hits the nail on the head. wish i could escape more….

  • john

    I found this blog to be very helpful indeed. I like how variety is added into much of your writing while at the same time it gives very useful pointers for all of us out in the business / marketing fields.. Great job!!

  • Katie G.

    I compeletly agree with this! It’s seems so obvious and simple that the type of environment you work in can be beneficial or detrimental depending on the type of work your doing. So obvious, but often times overlooked. Great blog!

  • jeff Epperson

    It is always nice to have a place to work in solitude

  • Sherri D

    I couldn’t agree more! There are times when my team and I must work together to get our goals accomplished, and other times we need to go our separate ways in order to make progress. As telecommuters we’ve had to find ways to virtual ways to work collaboratively…video and teleconferences, instant messages and email exchanges work great to keep us motivated, inspired and productive. Other times I need to sign out of all of those wonderful modes of communication and focus, finding the answers in the solitude and silence.

  • Jill Finley

    I really appreciated the points highlighted in your post. Often when teaching (my profession) we have seperate work spaces or environments for students depending on the task at hand. Movement is important and often when working with kids I see doing both movement plus a task works well with their brain development as well as working with other students. Other times that quiet seperate space is just what they need.

  • Margaret

    Great piece! It can be so difficult to find a good balance between collaboration and time alone to get in the zone. Will need to practice my handstands 🙂

  • B Little

    I love this article. It is very well written and as a former gymnast myself, I can totally relate!! Nice work!

  • Pamela Cournoyer

    Nicole, LOVE, love, love the article! I am a total extrovert and because of that, I have to go somewhere quiet to think and work, otherwise I would be chatting all day. Right now I am sitting in the solitude of my villa overlooking the sea and appreciating the quiet to allow me to work. Once my work is done, I’m hitting the pool with a fu-fu drink, a fun chair and absolutely nothing to read because I know better – talk is king!

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