Increasingly interior architects and workplace designers are tasked to design space that does more than house innovation and value-creating activities. Their goals are increasingly to do with ‘creating communities’ which facilitate collaboration. According to Julie Wagner and Dan Watch “through design, architects are essentially being asked to re-wire the social, if not organisational culture, as much as adhere to strict building codes.
This approach to design involves building a workplace design strategy that truly reflects the organisation’s culture and involves analysing work processes, technology, environment, brand and business drivers. The goal is to discover how to improve the overall quality of life of the specific workplace community. Does an organisation need more areas designed to encourage creativity? Does the company want to create an increased sense of openness and flexibility? Is the trend toward more “unassigned” space in the workplace applicable, and if so, how could it be implemented to help keep people connected? How can technology such as improved facilities for virtual connection and videoconferencing help deliver better communication? Is wellness an important value for the organisation?
The last decade in design has indicated a renewed imperative to strengthen the human dynamic when we think about workplace design. It is this thought process which is giving rising to a the concept of co-working and it leads workplace designers away from a preoccupation with style towards a focus on strengthening a sense of community in the workplace through focusing on the human dimension
Workplace features such as personal work areas, meeting rooms and lounges reflect the people that work there and the goals they work towards. As workplace designers, the logical next step is to build on these ‘features’ to create an explicit tie-in and buy-in to a sense of community at work. Practically, this involves deploying a full range of design ‘tools’ – management of traffic flows, correct use of natural & artificial light, colour & texture and the management of adjacencies of different space ‘types’.
Such considerations reinforce an organisation's philosophy and goals and send the message that 'we're all in this together.'