A few thoughts on redesigning the workplace
February 21, 2012
Everyone has a different style of working. Some may thrive in chaos and disarray, while others need peace and tranquility to remain productive. Whatever your modus operandi, you should take into consideration the habits of your colleagues and coworkers.
It's time to forget the bland, archaic cubicle landscape and embrace something more engaging. It may not seem like the most lucrative investment, but redesigning your workplace to fit company culture can pay off in the form of a more engaged workforce. To that end, begin by rethinking your idea of a conducive work environment - and remember, what works for you may not for others.
"It need not be a huge, crazy remodel or construction job; it's more about configuring the space so that it suits you, and then using it in a way that suits you," Georgia Collins, managing director at consultant DEGW North America, told Entrepreneur magazine. "It's important to think about [space] in a much more fluid and flexible way. Once you configure something, there's no reason you can't reconfigure it."
Then go back even further and think about form, function and ergonomics. The desk, for example, has its use: It seats one and provides adequate space for completing most individual tasks. But is that the best way to structure a work environment, especially one that relies on collaboration and involvement with coworkers? You may want to consider rethinking the apportionment of desks to each worker and instead create work "areas" where no single desk, computer or chair belongs to anyone.
"Getting these kinds of spaces right is not always just about the space, but about what kind of protocols you set," Collins added.
Essentially, you should look at your workspace not so much as a spatial layout but as an operation, a core business asset or function just like any other. Like your payroll, you need to cultivate it and invest in it to see it grow and yield returns.
Once again, every workplace is different, and these contrasts are starker between industries. So before you even consult an external designer, think about the specific needs of your enterprise and your market. And, of course, align your workspace design with your business' realistic growth trajectory.