We’ve evolved to a world of custom workspace design which is radically changing the way we work, but can the same be said about our workplace behaviours?

Where we work may be changing but how humans work hasn’t. I’m not referring to the increased use of technology or the new methods we may use to get our work done, I am referring to working styles that come naturally to humans and foster efficiency and job satisfaction.

This is causing a shift in working behaviour, which in turn is creating a shift in how we approach the design of our workspaces, to maximise performance. Workspace is increasingly seen as a way to redirect people to the work that really matters.

Functionality is becoming increasingly important in today’s evolving workspace. With technology on the increase, it is becoming easier and easier to choose somewhere to work, rather than having to be ‘fixed’ to a physical workstation.

Focus – Consider giving your people single-person spaces that they can use, for short periods of time, to effectively perform tasks, without disruption or interruption.
no matter the role, everyone needs space for writing a report, analysing, deep thinking, or perhaps a private phone call. These are the typical functions that take place in a focus zone. It’s been proven that the open plan is the worst place to perform these functions, yet many offices still do not have these zones.

Collaboration – Project work. Brainstorming. Customer service. Designing and developing. This is perfect fit for the open plan type spaces, where you want your people to ‘overhear’ each other. Using furniture items like project benches, high benches, high back sofas, informal sofas, and grouping them in a certain way can do wonders to both the aesthetic landscape of your office, and more importantly, how your people perform in it. In a report based on an Oxford Economics survey, respondents who focused on innovation as a top business strategy goal see workspace as crucial for catalyzing co-creation, with 85% saying colocation with current and potential business partners is a key driver for workspace investments.

Consider how banking supremo BBVA sustains a value network by creating new workspaces for teams. Located in Madrid (Spain) and in Bogota (Colombia), these innovation centers are where the organization’s most disruptive work happens. These spaces are designed to foster a culture of collaboration with entrepreneurs, start-ups and developers, marked by openness, accessibility and collaboration capabilities.

Social – It’s a known fact that people are more likely to stay with a business where they make friends. That’s why we are seeing more and more businesses introduce the social aspect into the workspace; Gyms, indoor gardens, games rooms, even bars. All these zones are areas that draw people in. Enhance social interaction by providing casual and flexible spaces that act as destinations located along common paths of travel.

Public  – Simply defined as shared areas, that can be completely unrelated to the business. These are closely aligned with ‘social’ spaces, however they are designated specifically for relaxing in, and not activities. This can be anything from cafes, small libraries, or ‘quiet rooms’. 

When a workplace is designed with the above 4 elements in mind, it will cater to every individual’s style of working, from someone who gets their creative energy from being around other people, so someone who needs to be in quiet isolation for the majority of their day. We have just moved to WeWork, which has individual, collaborative and public spaces, and the benefits are apparent. People with different work styles have an opportunity to work in a way that suits them, while remaining in the same building as their colleagues.