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Workplace Design for Improved Performance

Workplace Design for Improved Performance

12th December 2014

The RICS has recently published an article about the effect of workplace design on business performance. Titled ‘The Google Effect: how workplace design drives business performance’. The article by Les Pickford, former Editor of the RICS Construction Journal, examines how a workplace should be designed around the needs of the business as well as the needs of the workforce.

Companies like Google who have long adopted this belief, argue that designing a workplace around the needs of the workforce as well as the requirements of the business provides the most efficient and effective dynamics. This is particularly true for large creative companies such as Google but some of the key elements of teamwork, idea sharing, problem solving and co-operation which they aim to create through workplace design are qualities that every business could benefit from.

An increasing trend of thought and mounting academic evidence, including a Harvard Business Review article, supports the theory that a well-designed work environment which is flexible and of the ‘right’ quality will enable staff to perform better.

The Challenge for Facilities Management:

Head of Group Property and Facilities for EC Harris, Stephen Shallcroft FRICS, comments that “facilities management departments need to understand the requirements of both the business and also the workforce in order to provide the most effective workplace.”

It stands to reason that providing the ‘right’ work environment will get the best out of your staff. However, the ‘right’ work environment will be different for each business and different departments of the same company may have different needs. Of course, the other challenge is that people as individuals have so many different work styles and personalities too.

Pickford suggests that workplaces should focus on activity-based working - supporting the different activities that need to be carried out and creating the right ‘workplace experience’ for each. This involves the physical, digital, social and service elements of each activity, not just the environment.

Thinking back to the Google example, their business aims to develop new ideas, relies heavily on creative thinking and team projects and expects a lot of hours from their employees so their workspace reflects this.

  • Fully funded cafes and restaurants so their staff never have to leave the office to get food
  • Sleep pods so staff can take a nap then continue working (often very long hours)
  • Break-out areas which don’t need to be booked for small spontaneous meetings
  • Bold colours and interesting shapes in the furniture and décor to stimulate creativity
  • Open-plan areas for idea sharing and team-working

To create the ideal workplace and achieve the ‘Google’ effect in your business, think about the requirements of your business and the needs of your staff then consider how you can help your workforce meet your business objectives. For help in sourcing the perfect workspace for your business, contact Sibley Pares email property@sibleypares.co.uk or call 01622 673086.