Why is Design Choice so Important for Workspace Design?
Choice is power in the workplace. The necessity to innovate and adapt in order to navigate the pandemic has opened numerous new pathways for corporations full of opportunity, ultimately giving employers and employees alike access to more choice than ever before.
The result of this newfound right to choose what a successful workplace looks like, is that ‘traditional’, pre-pandemic workspaces are outdated and no longer fit for purpose. Now, the most successful workplace designs encourage office customization, office personalization and foster great flexibility; offering real design choice.
In a world where almost everything about our work lives has changed, ongoing needs for workspaces are ever-evolving, which is why design choice is key for businesses to be truly future-proof.
Now, as businesses across the globe return to hybrid patterns of working; it’s clear that no two weekdays in the office will be the same; that level of freedom and autonomy must be reflected in workspaces. By creating an environment with great design choice, corporations know that they can be agile and navigate any curveballs while still maintaining a space that has the ability to work best for a diverse and ever-changing workforce; because this way, said workers can choose what suits them.
In this article, we’ll explore how corporations can implement great design choice, why they should and the business-critical outputs they can expect as a result of doing it well.
A good level of design choice can generally be categorized by enabling any of the following four elements: personalization, customization, configuration and flexibility.
The idea of personalization is twofold; firstly, referring to having a dedicated space in which to work, which is a big win for health and safety, with a return to the traditional open-plan office unlikely to be seen in the near (and distant) future.
Secondly, personalization in the workspace enables a completely bespoke and personalized work experience. Every worker has different schedules, styles, aesthetic tastes, and physical limitations that affect their ideal workspaces, and the best companies pay attention to these details.
By offering the option for employees to personalize their workspace according to their individual preferences, workers are shown a great level of trust and given ownership of their work environment making them feel heard, increasing employee engagement and strengthening their sense of loyalty.
Office customization is a form of personalization but allows these design choices to be altered on a daily basis. This can be a more collaborative experience, with the option for customizable pieces to be embedded into daily activities such as ‘war rooms’, ‘huddles’ and ‘scrum spaces’, offering opportunities for teams and individuals to express themselves, their goals and clearly communicate this.
Configurational workspace design offers increased choice too, accommodating for impromptu interactions at a moment’s notice. With the current number of people in a workplace at any given time dynamic, the workplace needs to be able to accommodate large groups and small teams alike, and configurational, modular pieces such as our bleachers, offer stylish solutions that facilitate creative collaboration and socializing while still offering the opportunity for independent work and focus.
Great flexibility and agility in workspace design used to be a great benefit, but now it is a key requirement, with workspaces needing to evolve quickly and be ready for anything. Flexible and scalable office design solutions, such as Verandas empower organizations to make quick decisions and stay reactive to changing needs, by allowing spaces to transform overnight, scaling up or down at limited cost to the organization.
Having a workspace that adapts to rapidly changing personal, professional and business circumstances is what it takes to have great design choice and is something that we live and breathe through all of our products at Spacestor. See for yourself by taking a look at our customizer here, where you can personalize and customize any of our products because choice really is power.
The most important thing about great Design Choice is that it pays. It pays on a human level, boosting moods and contributing to better levels of mental health. It pays on an economical level, the longevity of a choice-based workplace makes it a sustainable and cost-effective solution. Though, perhaps most interestingly (and thoroughly researched), it’s a great business investment, tackling many of today’s major corporate challenges and making companies more attractive, profitable and efficient.
Productivity is directly impacted by our surroundings, and the right to choose and amend our work environment boosts it further by giving colleagues more control and autonomy to make their own decisions.
Workdesign Magazine looked at the impact of choice in the workplace with the support of Environmental Psychologist Sally Augustin, who said; When we don’t feel in control of what happens to us in a place, we are stressed, discouraged and frustrated. Feeling in control is the key here; we don’t have to actually exercise control to reap psychological benefits.”
Proving that just knowing that we can adjust our environment to better suit our needs on that specific day makes a huge difference in our ability to be productive.
Over the last couple of years, companies across the globe recorded record-breaking low levels of employee engagement, meaning that more professionals were leaving their roles, changing their careers entirely or simply underperforming.
As we predicted in our Top 8 Workplace Trends 2022 article, the onus this year is on companies to treat their employees as customers, and companies that foster a caring, supportive culture with great autonomy, control and freedom in the workplace can expect greater commitment and engagement from employees, improved retention levels and attract top talent; which will be key in the ongoing ‘Great Recession', where the war for talent is hotter than ever before.
So, why is design choice so important right now? Because it’s the only way that a fixed location can remain a viable option for businesses and a preferable option for employees.
Although many workers will continue to request greater flexibility and hybridity in their work patterns, it’s clear that just as many people are now actively seeking a sense of community in their work lives and crave interaction in an office-based environment.
Only by welcoming workers back into a workspace full of design choice backed up with a great company culture, can organizations become workplaces of the future.
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