Knowledge Sharing in the Workplace

Having researched the things that influence team productivity, we know that social cohesion is the most important factor. If we like our colleagues and know them well, we are more likely to trust them and participate in knowledge sharing. It therefore follows that in order to establish a workplace culture that enables higher workplace productivity and fosters employee engagement, the workplace must have places for social interaction to occur.

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At Advanced Workplace Associates (AWA), we believe that there is a range of specific workplace experiences and office environments that are required to enable people to get to know each other and share information. While this might be done by installing a bar or ping pong table, it’s also about having a workplace built and designed to encourage and facilitate collaboration between knowledge workers. Does your workplace encourage knowledge sharing for these types of employees?

Knowledge workers are people that think for a living and it is the coming together and fusing of their knowledge that delivers new ideas, solutions and innovations. As a wise man once said, “two minds are better than one”, and in truth working collaboratively can solve problems faster and to a higher quality. McKinsey and Company found that in most cases, businesses incur substantial savings when employees work as a team.

The McKinsey study showed that a mere 25% of employees felt that their company was effective at sharing knowledge across team boundaries. This statistic is alarming, as the loss of potential innovation, workplace productivity and idea building is significant. As a senior leader you need to ask yourself – Are my employees building and developing socially cohesive networks and sharing their knowledge with others? Do we have adequate places for these interactions to take place?

When designing the workplace, there is often a tendency to try to maximise desk utilisation within the workplace, without considering the impact this has on the productivity of employees. To improve workplace productivity and employee engagement, your staff need a range of spaces in which to interact, bump into and socialise away from their office workstations. Incorporating these into the office design experience can sometimes be difficult but the rewards are there in terms of the productivity of staff and meeting business objectives.

Additionally, AWA recommends that you support knowledge sharing within the workplace with the right organisational culture. Consider this, how much trust do your employees have in their management and team? Do they feel comfortable sharing information or is the landscape a competitive one? If a workplace behaviour change is needed, we recommend enlisting the guidance of a workplace consultant in order to maximize efficiency and success of the workplace change management initiative.

Advanced Workplace Associates are connoisseurs of designing effective workplace experiences that increase workplace productivity and employee collaboration. We blend science and experience to ensure workplaces are designed to support knowledge workers and guide them with workplace change management to embed new habits and behaviours that will act to increase knowledge sharing within the organisation. For more information please refer to our work on social cohesion. Alternatively, contact an AWA workplace management consultant on +44 207 743 7110 or email info@advanced-workplace.com and we will get back to you as soon as possible.