Personalisation in Office Design
Are some of your staff happy with your office, while others complain about it? Are some reluctant to come into the office, saying there's no point in it? If so, your office likely suits some of your staff, but not all. This means it's not customisable.
Personalized workspaces lead to a 10–15% increase in job satisfaction. Customisability is crucial because it gives staff a sense of ownership and belonging in their workspace. This leads to an increase in their job satisfaction, productivity, and engagement.
Office customisation is not about letting staff but pictures of family on their desks and having other personal effects - though it may include this. Customisation is about recognising your staff are unique, and that they all work in different ways, and then allowing for that in your office design.
In this article, we'll explain 4 ways you can design customisation into your office space. By the end, you'll know how to work with your internal project team and fit out company to create a customisable workspace your people love.
Your workforce contains many different job roles, and all your staff have different personalities. As a result, the way each employee works is different. Some will need a high-energy, compact environment to motivate them. Others will need a quiet space free from distractions. For many staff, the ideal environment will change throughout the day, depending on what they're working on at that time. So how can you design a space that suits all your staff, all the time?
To do this, your workspace needs to include variety. Most offices need 4 types of space: collaborative, semi-collaborative, focussed, and breakout. Collaboration spaces are informal areas designed for working together in teams. Semi-collaborative spaces are also designed for team working, as well as allowing individual work when required. Focussed spaces are for solo deep work, free from distractions. Breakout spaces are retreat spaces, designed for staff to relax and socialise.
What kinds of space you need and how much of each will vary from company to company. You may also need to include a variety of environments within each space. For example, your focussed space could include a desking area, as well as working pods and bookable offices. Ensuring your workspace has plenty of variety will give your staff a range of options, allowing them to work in the environments that best suit their needs at that time.
To create a workspace that truly works for all your staff, you need their input. They are in the space, using it every day, and have a perspective that your management or office designer won't have. Your people will be able to tell you what works about the current space, what doesn’t work, and what would help improve their performance in the new space.
When getting staff input on your office design, you have to be careful not to let it descend into anarchy. If you are not specific about the questions you ask or you surrender control of the process, you will have too many conflicting opinions, and the process will become very difficult. To avoid this, you could run a multi-stage online survey that asks your people specific questions, with each round of questions building on the previous round.
The benefits of getting staff input on your office design are twofold. First, your office will be closer aligned to their needs and the way they work, which will improve their ability to perform in the space. Second, their sense of ownership and engagement will be much higher because you involved them in the process. As a result, they will be much more positive about the project and less resistant to change.
Even if you have involved your staff in the design and have a wide variety of spaces, your office still won't suit your staff all the time. People work in different-sized teams on different types of projects. The size of space they need often varies.
To facilitate this, you can include movable screens and partitions within your office. These can be moved by the users of your space as necessary. There are a wide variety of products that will suit this purpose, from folding walls to rail-mounted curtains to floor-mounted acoustic screens. Whatever you choose, they will allow staff to customaries the size of the space to suit their needs, eliminating distractions.
As well as partitions that are movable by users, you could also include reconfigurable partitions in your space. These can't be moved by your people, but furniture installers can reconfigure them on a semi-regular basis, according to your needs. Reconfigurable partitions include modular pod systems, planters, and zoning furniture.
In the same way as your people often need different size rooms, they also need different size furniture. As well as working in different-sized teams, they may be working on different types of tasks. Furniture is one of the most important parts of the workspace, as it is the element that users interact with the most. As a result, they need furniture that can be adapted to their needs.
Modular furniture, such as movable tables and chairs, enables this. There are also a lot of unique collaboration furniture solutions such as modular tiered seating, that can be reconfigured according to the needs of the user.
Much like partitions, there are also reconfigurable furniture systems that can be easily rebuilt to suit the changing needs of your people. Pods systems, such as Campers & Dens or Verandas are popular options. There are also focussed working versions such as cave. These adaptable furniture solutions help ensure that your workspace is always supporting the needs of your people.
Enabling Customisation in Your Office
Because your staff all work on different job roles with different strengths and weaknesses, what they need from their workspace varies from person to person. It's simply not possible to create a standardised office experience that is perfect for everyone. You need to allow customisation within your office design so that your people can use your space to maximise their own performance.
Now that you know about the 4 key aspects of customisation in office design, you're ready to apply them to your own office. Working with your design and build company, you can create a space that suits each and every employee. As a result, your staff satisfaction, productivity, and retention will improve.
If you're ready to take the next step, download our definitive office design guide. This guide will answer all your questions about office design and why it matters, including what is involved, how much it costs, and the best office design for you. Download your office design eBook here. To learn more about creating a great office, read 8 Tips to Create a Workspace Your People Love and Why Workspace Design Matters.