Research has shown a long-established correlation between employee happiness and productivity. However, recently, a link between office layout and motivation has been established. A study conducted in 2016 by Cornerstone and the Harvard Business School entitled "Who Sits Where at Work" reveals that a simple way to boost performance lies in the layout of workspaces. The key to success? Bringing together productive workers and quality workers.
Startups are leaders in this kind of workspace, but many traditional companies seem determined to follow suit. According to a survey conducted by TNS Sofres for Actineo in 2011, 86% of respondents perceive the workspace as having a very important impact on their well-being, efficiency and motivation. No more closed offices – open spaces and comfortable facilities are designed to reduce the stress of employees. Gardens, fitness rooms and having a concierge are no longer enough in the professional world.
In 2004, creative design agency Mother, created a collaborative work space in their offices in Shoreditch. They took inspiration from the most important piece of furniture in the kitchen – the table – and designed a 200-seater table in the centre of their office. Their corporate culture is built on openness and they wanted to replicate that in their office layout.
That said, the difference between work time and personal time can be confusing in these new, open plan work environments. The space must reflect a working environment while having spaces for people to relax. If the workplace becomes too relaxed, people will not perform to the best of their ability. Thomas Zuber once said in his book The Open Space Killed Me: "In open-space, we always feel the need to justify ourselves. Some will remain there until 8pm."
For a workplace revamp to work, there must be some kind of corporate culture existing already, and the leaders making the change should also consult the people working in the office day to day as to what their needs are.
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