Applying the Journey Method to Workplace Design - Employee Choice and the Impact on Well-Being
We’ve all heard that being healthy comes from the inside out. I’ve found that this mantra applies not just to the human body, but the corporate workplace as well. In order to better serve our clients, we as employees need to be in a good mindset ourselves. At work, this is a result of the environment, amenities and policies in place that allow people to thrive. As generations mix and workplace trends continue to evolve, offices with windowless rooms, stationary desks, fluorescent lighting and high partitioned seas of cubicles are quickly being phased out; making way for healthy, productive work environments with employees who have options of where and how they want to work. After all, we spend so much of our lives at work, why not make it a place that people want to be?
One of the most critical factors I’ve seen in design that supports well-being is allowing people to have choice. In other words, any way you want it, that’s the way you need it.No two employees are the same, so why should we expect them to have the same work preferences or thrive under the same conditions? A few years ago, we recognized this in our own firm, prompting a major, multistory renovation of our Milwaukee office in a historic 5-story building. The results tripled the number of options where employees could choose to work throughout the day. From sit-to-stand desks to small enclaves, large conferences rooms, corner huddle spots and even a rooftop terrace, all with a variety of furniture options, it was important to give our employees ample opportunities for personalization.
Creating employee-focused environments not only fosters healthy culture but it is also strategic. Allocating funding towards employee well-being is not an expense --it’s an investment in your organization’s future. These investments will result in happier, more satisfied employees, which can easily parlay into happier, more satisfied customers and a strengthened company image. Money well spent if you ask me.
The better employees are cared for, the better employees they will be. And providing environments that function any way they want it, where they can (to quote Journey)… laugh, sing, do everything, move, groove, basically, a lot of things is a step in the right direction.
For a deeper look, I'd like to invite you into our office through this video to see employee well-being in action.
Eric Romano, AIA, EIT, LEED AP