New global research, from workplace experts Steelcase*   , has revealed that team-based work is fundamental to modern businesses with 55% of the UK spending their time working with others but workspaces are actually unable to support collaborative work.

This global trend toward collaboration is critical for organisations that need to quickly generate new ideas and solve complex problems. Failing to support collaboration stunts innovation - and has a direct effect on the business bottom line.

Not only do workers themselves believe that collaborating is important for innovation, but a lack of productivity has a direct effect on their financial wellbeing too, with stagnant productivity growth estimated to cost workers £5,000 in lost earnings per year.

Anisha Patel, Applied Research Consultant at Steelcase commented,

“Despite the rapid transformation of the nature of team based work, most workplaces are still designed for a linear work process. Where teamwork was once like a running relay, it is now much more like basketball or football where instead of handing off a task to the next person in line; work is hyper-collaborative and interconnected every step of the way.

"In order to properly support our new ways of working and reap the benefits of collaboration, teams need to be able to adapt their workspace to their needs. A workspace that empowers teams to innovate is crucial for UK businesses to remain competitive and turn the tide on stagnating productivity.”

With productivity rapidly declining in the UK, companies need to provide their teams with the right tools and spaces to really innovate and remain competitive.

Yet, Steelcase’s research suggests many workplaces do not support team-based work; it found that 71% of people in the UK said they work in traditional spaces and 75% said they work in enclosed rooms. Additionally, 81% of collaborative work in the UK is scheduled, and only 19% of respondents say their collaboration is at least somewhat spontaneous. And yet, 91% of UK workers believe working with others is essential to creating new and better ideas.

Teams are also being hindered by a lack of access to the right tools and information they need to succeed. Three quarters of UK workers are unable to contact the right people required, 72% don’t have access to the information needed in real time and only 37% of non-C-suite employees are provided with the interactive digital devices they need to collaborate effectively.

The best workplaces support the activities of the team while nurturing the needs of individuals. Teams need a home where they can surround themselves in their project and display their thinking and ideas. They need to be able to quickly switch between collaboration and focused work. And they need control to rearrange their space at any time, on their own.

* Steelcase Active Collaboration Study 2019 in Australia, France, Germany, Japan, UK and US of more than 3,000 office workers.

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