As leading workplace design consultants we are constantly researching how societal and demographic changes across the globe are affecting our clients and how we can interpret these changes to shape best-practice in workplace design.
Tony Schwartz writes ‘in today’s knowledge-driven economy, the best measure of productivity is no longer how much time people invest. Rather, ‘it’s how much energy they bring to whatever hours they work – and the value of the work they produce as a consequence. The challenge for employers is to free, fuel and inspire their employees to bring more of their potential to everyday work’
…. ‘The better people’s needs are met, the more healthy, happy, engaged, productive and loyal they become. Take care of them, and they’ll take care of the business’
Interpreting this human-dimension into workplace design involves understanding the following:
· Collaboration on-line and off-line. Building a strong team isn’t easy, however it’s even harder when there’s no collaboration or understanding between people. Balancing this with respect for personal sovereignty in the age of social media is a key priority for workplace design professionals.
· Knowledge sharing and talent access. Information and data are the lifeblood of a business and human talent has become the only sustainable competitive advantage for many companies. Good workplace design is a key driver for unlocking talent and enabling the sharing of information across organisations.
· Good culture is crucial to employee retention. Cultural inclinations are well entrenched, for good or bad. When the goal is to improve the culture, leaders have to focus attention at a granular level – that is the individuals. For workplace designers this means that thorough analysis of ‘people’ must be at the heart of every design decision.
· Flexibility and de-siloing. Traditionally, a silo mentality is seen as a top-down issue, beginning with management and trickling down to individual contributor employees. It may also be seen between individual contributors when the employment situation feels competitive. Workplace design can be the most visible force in combatting a fractured silo structure within an organisation.
· De-layering the hierarchy. Senior leaders and managers need to be connecting more than ever with teams as ‘active participants’ in the working day. The principles behind de-layering; a greater emphasis on team working, cross-functional working and employee involvement and empowerment should be embedded in the DNA of business through best-practice in workplace design.