December 9, 2017
Why Smart Office Design Should Focus On People
POSTED BY Dahir
We’ve all heard the expression countless times before: your people are your greatest asset.
It’s a popular saying because it’s true, right? Without the skilled, intelligent, innovative people working the front lines of our businesses, we’d have no business to speak of.
And while most of you probably agree with this sentiment, there’s more to it. For business owners, finding the best talent is the easy part; creating the ideal work environment in which these people thrive poses the greater challenge.
Unfortunately, whether you like it or not, design factors like desk layout, ergonomics, natural lighting, and air quality in the office really do matter.
The Harvard Business Review puts it plainly, exclaiming that people are indeed not our greatest asset. Rather, it’s how we “empower” them that makes the difference.
A key step in the process of empowering employees to work effectively is the provision of a well-designed workplace.
Think about it. Without an appropriate place to get the job done, it doesn’t matter how great your people are. No amount of talent or creativity will override the lack of a functional, stimulating workspace.
People Need an Appropriate Space to Effectively Do Their Job(s)
In knowledge-based industries, few people (if any) spend their days focusing on only one task. The majority of workers bounce from one responsibility to the next, and then back again. CABE, the British Council for Offices (and design advisor to the British Government), suggests that the more unique tasks a person is responsible for, the more important it is for them to have a variety of workspaces to use.
The research supports the recommendation that multiple, activity-specific settings should be provided for workers. In one particular case study, the results of adopting this office format were impressive: a 13 percent improvement in performance, a 15 percent increase in communication, an 18 percent more collaboration, and a 10 percent boost to creativity.
Despite these statistics, which undoubtedly benefited the company’s bottom line, organizations simply aren’t prioritizing their people how they should be.
The Benefits of Balance Vs. The Consequences of Control
A large workplace survey conducted by Gensler, which involved over 2,000 randomly sampled knowledge workers, found that “only one in four US workers are in optimal workplace environments.” The rest, Gensler stated, “are struggling to work effectively, resulting in lost productivity, innovation, and worker engagement.”
Needless to say, when 53 percent of workers experience disturbances while engaging in focused work (with 42 percent even going so far as to use “makeshift solutions” to minimize distractions), it’s time for business owners and operators to take a hard look at how they use office design as a tool for empowering their people.
Organizations that provide balanced work environments – those that equally value individual AND collaborative work – get it.
Using smart office design to put people first (as opposed to exerting control and dictating how people should work) comes with rewards. Not only are workers more effective, but they’re more satisfied than their counterparts as well. And in this case, when employees are content at work, they’re also more likely to boast about the innovation and creativity of the company they work for.
Create Your Smart Office Design
Your people are a great asset, but if you’re unsure about how your office design can maximize their talents and abilities, we can help. Our team will collaborate with you to gain a deep understanding of your business so we can create an exceptional workplace where your people thrive. Touch base with one of our consultants today.