Commercial | December 2019

Six Characteristics of an Innovative Workplace

Six Characteristics of an Innovative Workplace

Offices in the past were simply places where employees had to be present between nine to five. Plus, these workspaces generally had dull designs, with boring colours, fluorescent lights, and tiny cubicles all around.

In one word – uninviting.

With no sense of community present, employees pretty much showed up at work, went about their individual jobs and left for home. Apart from work related interactions, the scope to develop any long term, meaningful social bonds with co-workers was non-existent.

But the last decade witnessed a transformation largely due to technological advancements which led to lasting of those drab cubicle walls making way for inspiring and innovative workplaces.

Research findings state that a direct correlation exists between employee productivity and workspace design. In fact, Gensler’s U.S. Workplace Study brought to light that, “poor workplace design costs U.S. businesses an estimated $330billion in lost productivity each year.”

The value add to this monumental shift in innovative workspaces stems from companies readily accepting the necessity and advantages of making their employees comfortable.


How to Bring in Purpose Every Day?

Innovation or driving any kind of transformation is hard, especially if there is purpose missing in the equation. You need tremendous patience to motivate your workforce to push the gears in full throttle in a specific direction.

Enterprises are now doing their best to create a work environment that is more human-centric. And there is little question on the role of technology which is igniting these changes. Moreover, with devices becoming more mobile, the space needed to get the job done has also reduced significantly.

This again calls for strategizing on space utilisation or think of reinventing underused real estate at the workplace. Of course, analytics here plays a vital role in identifying the needs of the modern workforce.

Depending on the outcome, workplace design too needs to undergo modifications that cater to the requirements of the employees on an individual and a collective level, uniting on a subconscious level more than ever before. Aesthetics still remains a key factor. But the mantra for innovative workplaces is ‘less is more’.

The objective is to focus more on empowering employees and less about physical appearances. It is about building bridges to bring your workforce together as a community and not create walls to divide them. Remember that a workplace culture that facilitates collaboration, is socially engaged is going to be more productive for the business too.


What Exactly Is an Innovative Workspace?

A survey by Capital One that polled professionals in 2017 revealed that 82% of them believed that the best ideas and concepts that they’ve ever had were inspired from working in innovative and flexible workspaces. According to them, dynamic and collaborative spaces, lots of natural light, greenery, artwork are typical features of a coveted space today.

From a designer or architect perspective, the reintroduction of core values along with purpose and function are the key focal points of such an innovative space. If the finer points were to be compared to what it was a decade ago, most experts would agree of the following:

1. Technology acts as the unifier that connects members of the workforce

2. Spaces are more transparent and open

The result of proactively interacting and empowering the workforce through innovative workspaces not only sparks productivity, efficiency and creativity, but also aids in their health and well-being too. Moreover, employees are eager to remain loyal to such an organisation whilst top talent will be keen to join in.


What’s Your Favourite Way of Breaking the Mould?

Some ground-breaking workspace concepts have been introduced by enterprises to connect generations that have no similarities whatsoever. A common theme hovers around the idea of flexibility and fluidity.

As employees’ transition to these spaces, let’s take a look at the key characteristics that are dominating the trends.

1. Dynamic Spaces: The success strategy for every business depends on how flexible and dynamic they are. Continuous and performance oriented activity surrounds such businesses that are creating these dynamic offices as a part of their overall workspace solution.

Lightweight furniture, mobile walls and doors, lots of mobile space are the functional features focussed upon to adapt to the ever-evolving needs of the employees.

2. Face to Face Interactions: Human interactions through engagement and collaborations within the workforce are increasingly taking centre stage for strategic business growth. Basis the brands and goals of the organisation, the office design specs can facilitate these interactions derived towards achieving a position outcome through personal encounters.

Strategies that can be designed to promote this sense of community and collaborative environment includes developing atriums that are seen to visually connect spaces. Scientific studies have also found that it minimises stress and boosts wellness in employees.

Chance encounters are being promoted by designing internal staircases which were pretty much non-existent 10 years ago. Moreover, these architectural elements are now becoming the central focus of workspace redesigns.

3. Gathering Spaces: Don’t forget the benefits of integrating multiple corridors in your innovative workspace design. Not only does it promote employee interactions, but it also works as a noise buffer, funnelling people away from specific zones in the office. These corridors have transformed into employee gathering spaces which seem to spike engagements and social connectedness on a deeper level.

What these gathering spaces also does is trigger communication for inspiration. Ultimately, the impact through these chance encounters is even more profound.

4. Biophilic Design: Most individuals spend almost 90% of their time indoors. A biophilic design that incorporates natural elements into workspace design compensates people for the time that they are forced to ignore this intrinsic natural connection.

Nature is incorporated in the office space through tons of natural light, greenery through indoor plants, and textures. The benefits, unquestionably, are there since these zones act as private places, noise buffers and also enhances wellness by minimising toxic elements in the air.

5. Unorthodox Spaces: Unconventional components in innovative workspaces are quickly gaining ground as it has been seen to spark creativity in the millennials. Couches, bean bags, gaming zones, meditation rooms are key elements of these new age office design that is blurring the line between work and home.

Focusing on employee collaborations, these spaces are multi-faceted since they can be used to connect with members of the workforce or slip away for a few moments of downtime before returning to work.

6. Incorporation of Technology: Technology is a key contributor to modern workspace designs considering the role it plays increasing work efficiencies among employees today. Digital whiteboards, LED video walls are some ideas that are gathering wider acceptance with organisations across the world.


Using Space Creatively, with the Workforce in Mind

Focus, collaborate, learn, and socialize are the four models of new workspace design that every organisation should take into account when creating these inspiring and engaging environments. The idea behind every design decision is driven by the input of the workforce so that they not only maximise space utilisation, but the transformation designs make employees comfortable too.

The variable personalities involved in designing these spaces should largely complement employee temperaments too. Simply put, every individual should be able to connect to a little something. Perhaps a quiet zone for the easily distracted, a learning space for those inclined towards visual and acoustic collaborations, etc.

What’s also important in this race towards using the space creatively and effectively is also to support diversity. Even though it may be a difficult concept to achieve at first, but a workplace will be rich in culture if innovators embrace such heterogeneity.

Recognising this need to address the complexity of business challenges through workplace design will help separate the average from the best.

Innovation isn’t a one-time thing; it means unswervingly and uncompromisingly going above and beyond what has been done before to humanize the environment. The results will speak for themselves - better performance and an involved workforce; both powerful influences on the bottom line.

Commercial, Brigade Group



A Few Thoughts

Celebrating the 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi - the Father of our Nation is a great way to recall the principles of this noble man


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