Making the workplace… WORK

Published / 05/06/2015

Architects and designers have long suspected that office environments affect employer productivity.

In the late 1950’s a team of biologists were struggling to develop a cure for polio, working in a poorly lit laboratory in Pittsburgh, until Head Biologist Jonas Salk relocated the team to the beautiful surroundings of a medieval monastery in Assisi, Italy and the polio vaccine was developed.

More recently, scientists have found links between mental performance and factors such as the height of the ceiling and amount of natural light.

Design definitely matters 

Since the launch of the film ‘The Internship’ friends and associates (outside of the industry) often ask “do offices like Google’s” really exist? Well, in short “yes”, but more importantly do they work?

Google and similar organisations have become famous for their innovative and experimental approach to stimulating creative thinking, which in some cases have included installing slides, swings and other playground-esque equipment as part of the fundamental office design.

But as with anything once an idea becomes a craze it can very quickly become disconnected from it’s original purpose.

So in answer to the earlier question, No – having a roller-skate park in the middle of your office will not help you sell more widgets.

However, we know from many of the workplace surveys and workshops we undertake with our clients that over 65% rate having more flexible space as their number one priority.

So what does make for good office design?

  • People – Property and people are generally an organisation’s biggest assets. Understand and develop spaces which are reflective of how people work.
  • Evidence – Collect data specific to each team. Understanding how space is utilised by whom and when.
  • Culture – Use the office environment to reinforce the values of the organisation – use this as the starting post, as oppose to how do I fit ‘X’ amount of people in to this space?


Making the Workplace… WORK