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Celebrate Employee Appreciation Day by Considering What Employees Look for in Workspace Design


We talk with a lot of clients about what they want in their workspace design and are always keyed into the biggest trends influencing the industry, but what about the workers? Are employers building workspaces their employees want to work in? With Employee Appreciation Day just around the corner on March 4, 2016, it’s the perfect time to consider what your employees are looking for in a workspace.

Take the open-office workspace model, for example. While 70 percent of American offices use at least a partial open-office floorplan, too much open space can frustrate workers with distractions and alienate introverted workers. Now, offices with open floor designs are comprising by setting aside some quiet space workers can retreat to when things get too noisy.

Knoll Saarinen Executive Armless Chair With Swivel Base
Knoll Saarinen Executive Armless Chair with Swivel Base

At the Agile Workplace Conference in Virginia, reported on by BenefitsPro, Joyce Bromberg, vice president of innovation and design for Convene, suggested that modern employers should forget about what workspaces are expected to look like and instead focus on how workspaces can help employees do their job more efficiently and comfortably.

“Workspaces that meet an employee’s needs make that employee a happier, more productive one,” she said. “Corporate real estate has not changed. It’s still stuck in the 20th century. Offices, hospitals, hotels, schools — everything was built on the double barreled corridor. Including prisons, which should give us pause.”

Bromberg also discussed how millennials expect different things out of their workspace than older generations. “They’ve grown up with technology. They can work anywhere any time in any posture. They like to work in comfort. Why can’t they work that way in the office? Why can’t most offices accommodate them?”

It’s important to keep in mind that employees, like their employers, are looking for something different out of their workspaces based on their individual needs and personalities. To really figure out what they want, it may be best to just sit down and have a conversation with them. Does their work require more collaboration and communication, or do they need more concentration? Do they need to get up and move around a lot during the day? How often will they need to have access to people from different departments? What inspires them?

A good workspace design is one that makes everybody happy, including the employer, employees, clients and/or customers.

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