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The Secret of Great Workplace Design

By Maria Lorena Lehman — Get more articles like this sent to your email HERE.

Image Credit: © Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com | Flickr

Over the years, workplace design has evolved to become more and more flexible. Today, we see the workplace not only as a space in which to execute given tasks, but also as a place in which to interact, communicate and foster creativity. Different work environments call for a variety of different needs; and, one thing seems to be most consistent — design for flexibility.

DON’T FORGET THESE FEATURES

The article entitled “Design for the Changing Workplace” does a good job of describing some of the most popular qualities in the more successful work environments that we experience today. The following is a list of a few of these qualities as described in this article (1):

more teaming and informal interaction spaces more supports for virtual individual and group work integrated features for learning in the everyday flexibility in work locations relaxing features to help reduce stress bringing a sense of community to the work environment

THE PROACTIVE WORKPLACE

All in all, I think the following quote sums up a lot about today’s workplace designs —Fit the workplace to the work rather than visa versa. (1) As one’s work needs actually change throughout the day, it is helpful to have a workplace designed so the space can support the work. For instance, you might design flexible spaces that foster creativity, focus, interaction, community, relaxation, communication, interaction and virtual interfacing.

As you can see, today the workplace calls for a wide variety of working styles and business needs. Again, the secret is to design a workplace that is proactive –- where the workplace fosters the work.

Seemingly simple aspects of a space like personalization, control and flexibility all contribute to environments that encourage healthy productivity, efficiency and creativity — significant factors that lead to a better business culture and ability to meet more business needs.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Do you have any suggestions that would help other designers create better workplace environments? What new design ideas have you seen integrated into successful workplaces? How do such design features contribute to your business needs?

Reference:

(1) Design for the Changing Workplace.. WBDG Productive Committee. July 3, 2009.

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Maria: I came across your website through a reference in today's Architect Weekly ezine and am delighted I did. I'll bookmark your site and check back often. I read the first article and then the second and thirty minutes later realized how much time had passed. I've been practicing for thirty years and have always missed the stimulation of academia. I find each of your brief dissertations sort of like a day in design studio. Thanks for the inspiration.

Ron Ward
AI Group Design
I am excited to see you touch a vein of values in architecture, I have been chasing myself for years. Your depth of involvement in these very deep subjects is really beautiful and passionately dealt with and well written. Sound, color and value, shape, texture, scale, smell.... all definitive measures of the spaces we should be alert to. [...] I will savor the rest of your investigation of sensuality in architecture. I'm Glad I found you.

Dennis McLaughlin
McLaughlin Architect
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Maria Lorena Lehman is a multi award-winning visionary author, designer, and educator from the United States. Maria holds a Bachelor of Architecture with Honors from Virginia Tech and a Master in Design with Distinction from Harvard University Graduate School of Design. CLICK HERE to learn more.

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