The Writing’s on the Wall for Collaborative Workspace

Here’s an idea on how to level-up your collaboration score with write-anywhere walls — and give your meeting rooms a paint job at the same time.

There are certain things in life that will whisk you back to your school days in a flash. The sight of chalkboards, flip charts or the smell of dry marker pens might do the trick. For most of us (notwithstanding Generation Z), technology has moved on in leaps and bounds since then. But not every modern workspace has chosen to keep up.

The whiteboard – that staple of the 1990’s office – still has its place in today’s meeting spaces. And that’s not likely to change anytime soon. We are creatures of habit, and when a good idea comes to the surface it’s natural to grab a pen and write it down – particularly during meetings and idea-storming sessions. It’s all part of healthy collaboration, after all.

But that doesn’t mean your whiteboard can’t move with the times, particularly if it’s beginning to show its age (I’ve yet to see a whiteboard that doesn’t bear the faded stain of a permanent non-erasable pen).

If that’s the case, perhaps it’s time for a paint job.

Bulgarian company Escreo thinks it has the answer. The Sofia-based startup produces a special type of paint that turns any wall, door or flat surface into a dry-erasable whiteboard surface.

“International software companies are our most popular clients,” says Escreo co-founder Elena Nikolova, who explained that software programmers need large collaborative spaces to write down complicated software architecture.

On top of that, Escreo’s dry-wipe walls are appearing in large corporate offices — not just in meeting rooms, but in shared and private offices, in communal areas, and even in corridors.

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“These companies have already embraced the fact that the office is more than just physical space. They are looking to create a unique space as part of their corporate identity and make their employees feel happy, creative and productive.”

A step up from the traditional whiteboard, the paint comes in a variety of colours and can be adapted to different shapes and flat surfaces. So long as the surface is smooth for writing, the paint can be used virtually anywhere – walls, doors, floors, ceiling, even on the furniture.

Elena explains that the product transforms any workspace into a more collaborative environment, which encourages knowledge-sharing and innovation. Indeed, just look at the offices of corporate giants like Google – they’ve filled their spaces with write-anywhere walls to encourage collaboration and innovation in even the most unlikely of areas.

One flexible workspace company that uses write-anywhere walls is Alliance Business Centers. Staff in Monterry (pictured) have access to a meeting room with dry-wipe walls for easier collaboration.

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Alliance meeting room

Of course paint isn’t the only solution. British company Magic Whiteboard, which won the TV entrepreneurial series Dragons’ Den in 2008, produces a dry-wipe whiteboard on a roll that can be carried around and pinned up anywhere. The idea came when co-founder and former NHS worker Neil Westwood became “fed up carrying the flipchart stand around the wards in the hospital”, and eventually designed his own portable lightweight solution.

There are other alternatives too. For the frugally minded, sheets of plexiglass reportedly work well, as do acrylic-coated sheets of hardboard or MDF. At the other end of the scale, digital smartboards are becoming popular in classrooms and meeting spaces alike.

However, they are still large physical objects that need fixing or holding in place. As an alternative, solutions like Escreo’s paint are flexible and help to maximise available space without confining a wall or an entire room to a specific purpose. It’s a more hybrid approach to workspace, opening up collaboration and smoothing the way to innovation. Not bad for a lick of paint.

*Feature image via Escreo Instagram

Disclaimer: Officing Today is wholly owned and operated by the Alliance Business Centers Network.

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