Over the years, workplace design has evolved to become more and more flexible. Today, we see the workplace not only as a space in which to execute given tasks, but also as a place in which to interact, communicate and foster creativity. Different work environments call for a variety of different needs; and, one thing seems to be most consistent — design for flexibility.
DON’T FORGET THESE FEATURES
The article entitled “Design for the Changing Workplace” does a good job of describing some of the most popular qualities in the more successful work environments that we experience today. The following is a list of a few of these qualities as described in this article (1):
more teaming and informal interaction spaces more supports for virtual individual and group work integrated features for learning in the everyday flexibility in work locations relaxing features to help reduce stress bringing a sense of community to the work environment
THE PROACTIVE WORKPLACE
All in all, I think the following quote sums up a lot about today’s workplace designs —Fit the workplace to the work rather than visa versa. (1) As one’s work needs actually change throughout the day, it is helpful to have a workplace designed so the space can support the work. For instance, you might design flexible spaces that foster creativity, focus, interaction, community, relaxation, communication, interaction and virtual interfacing.
As you can see, today the workplace calls for a wide variety of working styles and business needs. Again, the secret is to design a workplace that is proactive –- where the workplace fosters the work.
Seemingly simple aspects of a space like personalization, control and flexibility all contribute to environments that encourage healthy productivity, efficiency and creativity — significant factors that lead to a better business culture and ability to meet more business needs.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Do you have any suggestions that would help other designers create better workplace environments? What new design ideas have you seen integrated into successful workplaces? How do such design features contribute to your business needs?
(1) Design for the Changing Workplace.. WBDG Productive Committee. July 3, 2009.