The silo mentality is a very real threat to business growth and health. For too many businesses and organisations, the relationships between their own teams and departments is dysfunctional, with employees simply unable to work well with one another.
This is a cultural issue for businesses, but it’s also about the physical environment people work in. Can the development of breakout areas encourage collaborative behaviour and, in so doing, beat the silo syndrome?
Why Does the Silo Mentality Occur?
“Silos are not just about behaviour,” explains Ajaz Haq, Director of Sales and Marketing at Form Interior Contracts, who specialise in contemporary furniture and workplace design. “They also come from organisational problems.”
In businesses and organisations where departments compete against one another, or when at the individual employee level there is embedded distrust, then this can have serious consequences for business health and growth.
“The silo mentality kills productivity because there is a lack of collaboration and cohesion,” Ajaz points out. “Businesses require a unified leadership to build a common, unified vision of where they are heading, and to then get employees on board working towards a common goal.
“Any organisation should have an over-arching vision for itself and this vision should be expressed in how it is structured”
Encouraging Collaborative Working
One of the key ways of encouraging how people regard one another at work, and how they can more readily work across teams and departments, is in modifying the physical environment of the workplace.
“Breaking down silos is achievable by looking at the actual spaces people have to work in,” Ajaz states.
Breakout areas are a key space. This is a common zone that has a multi-functional purpose: it provides a space for staff to relax in, maybe to eat their lunch; it can be an area in which to meet and greet visitors; and it is where people hold informal meetings, gatherings and catch-ups.
“A well-designed, properly furnished breakout area is an efficient use of space and enormously valuable in fostering a collaborative environment”
It makes sense for businesses to use space efficiently and productively, with research suggesting that staff offered space and time to relax are happier employees,” Ajaz observes. “There are also health benefits to a breakout areas, allowing people to spend time away from their work space and to relieve stress.”
Businesses should design breakout spaces with a view to overcoming and preventing silo mentality while encouraging collaboration, and helping to keep their employees happy and motivated.
To discover how furniture and design and improve your workplace, please call Form Interior Contracts on 0161 410 0010 or visit form-furniture.co.uk to see their range of solutions.