In the twenty years since Becker and Steele published their enlighting book regarding the importance of the planned work environment, many business leaders are still overlooking the value of the organizational workplace. Many leaders still see the workplace as merely conditioned space in which their employees work and, as such, write it off as a cost of doing business with little or no regard to the effectiveness it can bring to organizational output. We have spent the last twenty years (and more) prophesying about the “Office of the Future” and its capabilities of supporting new ways of work. THE FUTURE IS NOW! We can no longer rationalize today’s organizational space as adequate enough until the future arrives.
In 1995, Becker and Steele asked business leaders and space planners to “take the trouble to do a thorough up-front analysis” towards an effective planning process …Asking for an “organizational ecology approach”. That advice has never been more pertinent than it is today! Ecological (Human Centered) methodology should be a priority in space planning today and should largely be driven by organizational leadership! An appropriate workplace, based on diverse employee need, is more critical to a successful business than ever before. And yet, many of today’s workplace “solutions” are still based on assumptions of past need and, as a result, are detrimental to interaction and collaboration thus stifling the fulfillment of organizational goals.
It is no longer about organizational real estate as such. It’s about People, the Individuals, the Workforce that occupy that space and that environment’s capacity to effectively support work activity.
Over these many years, the semantics have changed but the message remains consistent. Whether you call it an “Open Plan”, an “Organizational Ecosystem”, or an environment of “Biotic Diversity”, the fact remains…
The effective and timely completion of the business objectives of today’s organization are directly related to the physical space in which that work takes place! This is no longer merely a theory of design practitioners but a fact of smart business criteria. The last two decades have only intensified the necessity of physical spaces that support incomprehensible advances in technology and social diversity within (and outside) the work environment.
Smart business leaders must take the lead in regards to planning an effective work environment for their organization. Having a thorough knowledge of their existing culture (or what it should be) and working in collaboration with organizational space planners, they will truly generate a positive Workplace by Design.