The global workplace effectiveness standard
The global workplace effectiveness standard offers well-founded empirical statements based on a 2010 study carried out in a total of 50 countries at 1,450 workplaces and with 165,000 employees. The study shows that complex constructs such as workplace effectiveness must be considered as an integrated system and cannot be reduced to (easily measurable) external factors. This data was used as the foundation for an effectiveness index comprising a combination of the following four key areas: Employee activities, Physical amenities, Design, Services. For each of these key areas, specific activities were defined, such as handling routine tasks, learning from others, creative thinking, conducting audio or video conferences, etc. In addition, respondents were asked how strongly each of these activities are supported by the workplace.
The workplace effectiveness benchmarking tool
Many studies have shown that our immediate surroundings directly influence our work or learning performance. Using the global workplace effectiveness standard as a basis, I would like to summarize below the key principles affecting efficiency and innovative strength in the workplace. The study shows that complex constructs such as workplace effectiveness must be considered as an integrated system and cannot be reduced to (easily measurable) external factors. Thus, prior to any design work, I would recommend first communicating with employees to identify concrete workplace activities and then, based on those, designing the physical environment, including furnishings and useful services.
To involve employees in the design process early on and actively address their ideas, the following points should be considered:
#1: Co-create with your staff
Actively communicate about the project and include employees in the design process. It is important that everyone involved be able to contribute their ideas and needs.
#2: Set up various working environments
Design different work areas for different activities (quiet zones, kitchens, telephone/Skype conference rooms, collaboration and creative spaces, lounges, outdoor areas, etc.)
#3: Pay attention to working conditions
People are very sensitive to external influences in the environment, such as daylight, artificial lighting, shade, heating, cooling, air quality, and acoustics. Provide the optimum conditions.
#4: Create a feel-good atmosphere
Make sure the combined effect of furnishings, shapes, and colors creates harmony. Combining a variety of work materials or alternating stylistic elements helps create a creative and inspiring atmosphere. Dimmable lighting and generous use of plants make for a pleasant ambiance.
#5: Use multifunctional furniture
Agile and creative activities, in particular, call for more movement, activity, and variety. Accordingly, creative spaces should have multifunctional furnishings to permit various work constellations (group work, presentations, discussions, design-thinking settings, etc.) to be implemented quickly and easily.
#6: Provide tools and services
Work processes change constantly. Support your employees with specific digital and analog tools to help them manage their diverse daily tasks and, at the same time, to help boost the fun factor at work.