We all know heading off to work today is no longer about going to a cubicle or a closed office to put your head down and crank out your work. Those days are long gone in most progressive or creative companies. Modern office spaces must match up to the evolving needs and expectations of a changing work force.

There’s a real calling to shift from a “me” workplace to a “we” workplace. Companies must become more agile. More collaborative. More open and transparent. Ultimately, more productive. This means re-evaluating floor plans and work spaces, creating spaces that are conducive to fostering greater employee cross communication and employee satisfaction. However, one size does not fit all when it comes to collaborative workspaces. Every company has different needs based on the company’s social culture, productivity demands, and aesthetics.

So, the big question for today’s facility managers and commercial designers is, how do you get the most out of these collaborative workspaces? How can you be assured you’ve optimized these increasingly important shared work environments for your company? The answer might be simpler than you think.

Photo by Kevin Curtis courtesy of

Find the right partner. Team up with a company that shares your vision and passion for collaborative workspaces. Seek out a partner who not only offers the furniture you need, but also has a team who can bring valuable knowledge and experience to your project. In the end, these spaces are all about improved business outcomes. That’s why your company or your client is making the investment. You need a partner who gets this, and has a contribution to make.

VIOSKI collaborated with Kenneth Brown to design custom Mitosi Sectional seating for Hyundai Ad Agency Collaborative Workspace

There are some great companies out there who have developed strong skills in the optimization of collaborative space layouts. One example is  VIOSKI. They’ve developed a deep understanding of how to deliver optimal work spaces. Their modern furniture designs are all handcrafted and can be easily customized to meet the requirements of any collaborative configuration.

As Doug DeSantis, VIOSKI co-founder and COO, states, “Our partners constantly tell us that VIOSKI fits perfectly into the schematic of collaborative design spaces. The nature of our products, the style, the designs, the comfort, and our quality make us the perfect match. We’ve found what we offer our partners aligns beautifully with the evolving expectations and needs of a new generation of workers. The idea of closed-off offices is just not today’s reality. Millennials love the idea of open collaborative space. So do we.”

“I think it is in collaboration that the nature of art is revealed.”Steve Lacy
Jeff Vioski’s customization of the Nicholas I for Kenneth Brown Design

DeSantis goes on to say, “when you need to get a meeting together, the idea of walking into a formal, boring and uncomfortable conference room environment is highly unappealing versus relaxing in a living room type environment that’s conducive to the free flow of ideas.  A collaborative work space is airy, human, comfortable, and intimate. Add in some technology for presentations, or a mobile whiteboard, and it creates the perfect scenario.”

How do you get to that perfect scenario? Find the perfect partner. Here’s 7 tips on what to look for in a collaborative workspace design partner:

  1. A partner who understands your business and the outcomes you will need from a collaborative space. Make sure they listen well. They must understand the nuances of your project, and what success will look like when the project is completed. Give them clear direction and deadlines.

  2. A partner who is passionate about collaborative workspaces. Passion goes a long way in anything. Here passion means you have a partner who is immersed in the science and art of collaborative space.

  3. A partner who can meet your deadlines. With certainty. Not just talk. Look for proof. Nothing is more frustrating and disruptive than not having your deadlines met. On time delivery is a must.

  4. A partner who can deliver high quality furniture that will stand up to constant wear. It should be commercial grade. Look for solid wood frames. Handcrafted is best. Find out if every corner is reinforced for durability. The last thing you need is shoddy furniture in a couple of months. Make sure they guarantee their work.

    Our master craftsman and artisan Chuey doing his craft

  5. A partner who instills confidence. You need to know they can execute to perfection.

  6. A partner who’s easy to work with, one that understands how to communicate and when to communicate. They should understand the threshold for the perfect amount of communication. Too little can be disastrous, too much annoying. Make sure they have one point of contact who will see your project through from beginning to end.

  7. A partner who delivers on aesthetics. Their products must be a match visually and experientially. Their great design sense and the ability to bring your collaborative design to life beautifully, should be apparent from the start.

ID Group found the Vioski Palms II swivels to add elegance and flow to their public space


Once the installation is complete, how should you measure the success of your partnership? VIOSKI’S DeSantis says, “our measure for success is quite simple. The designer loves it. The facility manager loves it. Employees love it. It was delivered on time, and everyone is happy. We see customers come back to us. That’s as good as it gets.”

A space that meets or exceeds employee expectations provides not only a fantastic place to innovate and get work done, but also makes a profound difference in the overall work environment and the satisfaction of employees. When it all comes together in perfect partnership, there’s no doubt your collaborative workspace will be optimized for improved business productivity.

We’d like to hear your thoughts on collaborative workspace partnerships.

Photo by Shane Liem