An office is a place where people work ‒ they are its main users. Sometimes, however, this obvious point seems to be omitted in the process of arranging an office. Companies that forget about the users when designing their office spaces can face considerable losses – losses of people.
Nina Bocheńska, Business Services Communication Specialist
People are rather averse to change by nature, because they are afraid of losing the sense of security that comes from being in a familiar environment. When it comes to changing an office or rearranging an existing space, companies also have to deal with reluctant employees. The best method used during change management is to involve employees in the process, making them co-creators of the project.
According to the human centred design approach, it is the user who is the centre of attention, and it is their needs and expectations that count the most. This involves taking a creative approach to seeking the best solutions that ensure the project is adjusted to users’ real needs as much as possible. Employees can be involved in arranging the new office space in many different ways.
Companies often create interdisciplinary project teams with whom they discuss the new office layouts and arrangement projects. It is also worth choosing a few representatives from the group who will be ambassadors of change – people who promote change and act as a link between ordinary employees and a management board that takes the final decisions concerning the project. Employees can also co-create a project by taking part in various competitions, in which they have to come up with names for meeting rooms or a theme for the design of a particular office zone. The effects of these actions can be very interesting – for example, a canteen arranged American-style, a meeting room with photo wallpaper that shows a constellation of stars or a relaxation zone full of plants and hidden hammocks.
Internal communication to employees is also very important. Because people are by nature afraid of the unknown, it is worth dispelling any arising doubts before changes are implemented. Being systematically informed about upcoming project stages and engaged in the project from the conceptual stage, employees will feel like co-creators of the idea, which will help reduce any discomfort and stress connected with facing the unknown.
Today, people are increasingly aware of what modern office spaces should look like. At the same time, employers face ever greater expectations concerning the workplaces they offer. And it is not just about the aesthetics; people often emphasise the positive aspects of working in the right conditions. The most important effects of working in a well-designed office are facilitated communication, the possibility to perform undisturbed work, improved well-being, greater motivation and increased willingness to work. A well-arranged space helps employees come up with new ideas and perform everyday tasks, so it is worth thinking of the office as an investment.
Employees make up a company’s greatest capital and they determine the organisation’s success. A user-friendly and well-designed office that is focused on the needs of its users can become a competitive advantage and help the whole company function efficiently.