Employees choice key to successful workspaces

"Destiny is not a matter of chance; it is a matter of choice."  ~ William Jennings Bryan

Creating, redesigning, or adapting an office space is going to be a process that involves multiple choices. There's budget, planning, project management, office furniture and physical fit out; there's colour schemes and fabrics, work surfaces and lighting. You need to get it spot on because this is a direct reflection of your company. A scrappy, ill designed, budget working environment is going to leave an unwanted feeling amongst both your customers and your employees.

An ongoing debate in office design is that of open versus closed work spaces and the necessity of balancing places of collaboration and individuality within the office environment.

We've seen the unrelenting march of the open plan office environment morph into the prevalence of co-working spaces which have emerged as the millennial workforce began to dominate office culture. And there is talk of a backlash, a desire to return to private, more intimate and individual office spaces.

So what is the best option? Do we ditch the open plan environment? Do we scurry back to our own little enclosures? Or do we think of something else?

The Gensler (U.S.) Workplace Survey 2016 has given us an insight into not what designers feel is the best way of planning workplaces, but what the people who have to work in those offices actually want.

And what do they want? They want options. They want alternatives. They want choice.

Choice for employees will be key to the success of the workspace according to the report, which surveyed 4,000 professionals from 11 different industries and across different levels at U.S. companies.

The options most valued were the ability to access both sitting and standing desks, a choice in when/where to work, to be able to use conference rooms to socialise, to have café facilities on site and to have use of outdoor spaces.

Not all businesses are going to be able to provide all of the facilities that their employees would like to have - but in any company listening to the needs and wants of your staff, and accommodating those desires as best you can, will have a positive effect across the board.

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