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Designing for change

Organisations across all sectors and sizes are increasingly investing more into the design of their workplaces, re-configuring them to better attune the work processes and work styles of their employees.

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The concept is simple – create a more pleasant space to work in, integrate features that influence innovative work practices, your staff enjoy being at work and feel appreciative of their new workplace and are more motivated to perform.

A recent survey by the International Interior Design Association found a direct correlation between office design and designing for smarter ways of work and the bottom line of an organisation.

So what design decisions can you integrate into your new workplace design or refurbishment project that will help you to influence new and more effective ways of working.

Create neighborhoods for better productivity
When thinking about how to plan your new space think of the layout in terms of ‘neighborhoods.’ Neighborhoods are areas where workers with similar needs are accommodated.

Carefully consider how each department is spread amongst your floor plan, allowing those who need to collaborate to be close by to each other.

Furthermore by positioning work stations, collaborating groups and equipment in logical locations each employee can save a few seconds or even minutes on everyday tasks.

Create better communication flows through hot-desking
While the concept of hot-desking might seem scary to some, in workplaces where collaboration is key – such as creative environments, hot-desking allows for project teams to come together and work on projects as a team for the duration of the project, allowing for easier flows of communication.

It can also help to improve your workplace culture by allowing departments to mix and help employees learn what other around them are working on, understand company wide goals and realise how each team can help to achieve these.

Additionally hot-desking can result in cost reductions in relation to your new space, having said to reduce space requirements by up to 30% in some instances.

Create accountability through open plan environments
Issues concerned around work ethic can often be ironed out by introducing more open plan ways of working.

Not only does this allow the employer greater control and insight in the way their team is working but it creates an air of accountability given the simple fact everyone can see one another. By bringing the office walls down in an workplace the space gets filled with accountability.

Even in a workforce where people work autonomously the concept translates – when surrounded by hard-working people will likely change their ways of work and perform better.

It also eliminates opportunity for other distractions such as social media or distracting phone calls to take place. In an environment where people can see all and hear all, your staff should become more conscious of their work outputs.