For better or worse, the design, appearance, and functionality of your workspace communicates a lot about your company culture. Proper alignment between workspace design and company culture can be inspiring, motivating, and promote the values of an organization.
What do you see when you look around your workplace right now? Are people inspired? Effective work place design starts with first identifying the core values and goals of your business before formulating the physical design elements and aesthetics of your space. While a specific piece of furniture may look great, it’s important to consider whether or not it will actually serve the needs of your team members. In thinking about how to approach workspace design, it is often prudent to future-proof your space. Look at the current reality of your company and think about the design. Be sure to contemplate how your design will achieve your company’s core values and culture, now and for the long-term. Do you need your employees to be competitive and independently efficient? If so, the cubicle culture might be for you. If not, you may want to consider additional options.
You might be asking yourself, so why does this even matter? Company culture is extremely important for an organization’s success. According to a recent study by top consulting firm Deloitte, 94 percent of executives and 88 percent of employees believe a distinct workplace culture is important to business success. Workplace culture affects employee happiness, engagement, and productivity; and ultimately, bottom line profitability.
Core Values and Design Implications
If collaboration and problem-solving are core values of your company, an open floor plan may not be the best approach. Open floor plans are are a great idea in theory, but often end up sounding more like a library versus the collaboration and comfort found in offering private office spaces. Solutions like common gathering areas may be a welcome addition and change of scenery for employees both in private offices and in open floor plan environments. Thinking about how spaces encourage creativity and spontaneity, the style of working should inspire the style and design of furniture and overall office flow.
Another strategy that can help support company culture is to prominently display your core values throughout the workspace. There are many ways your organization’s core value statements can be integrated into the workspace design – from low cost vinyl lettering to attention grabbing neon signs. The key is to provide visual reinforcement of your values and what drives your business in an aesthetically pleasing and cohesive manner.
If creativity and inventiveness are major drivers of your business, your architect and designer may want to consider incorporating biophilic design elements into workspace design. Recent studies have suggested that spending time in nature can lead to enhanced creative thinking and even improvements in problem-solving abilities. While outdoor workspaces may not be practical or even possible for some businesses, integrating natural elements such as a living wall, live plants, unfinished woods, and natural tones can be cost effective options for inspiring creativity and inventiveness.