Flexible Workplace

A recent workplace study in the US carried out by Capital One gives further evidence of the correlation between well designed workplaces and employee productivity. 90% of respondents considered there to be a link, with younger respondents expressing the strongest sentiment. But what factors of design are important? In respect of design features, access to natural daylight was considered to be the most important. However, a pervasive theme of the study was the subject of flexibility and adaptability. Flexible working policies came out top of the factors which drive talent retention, but this flexibility also crossed over into design features. 73% of respondents stated that they have their best ideas when they use flexible workspace options, which included the ability to adapt furniture settings to the task at hand. In part this might be because the workplace needs are increasingly dichotomous; 77% stated that they work better in collaboration spaces; whereas 88% felt that their best performance comes when they sit at settings that facilitate focussed, head-down work. This is unlikely to represent two mutually exclusive groups; rather it is indicative of the conflicting work methods of a single group. More than half of those surveyed felt that their workplace didn’t respond well to their needs. Clearly there’s work to be done. So, how do you please everyone all the time? Either you budget for much more space which allows the workforce to move around between settings (fine if money is no object). Or you create a truly flexible, adaptable office that can mould itself around the dynamic needs of its users.