workplace design

People, place, and passion: The importance of mission driven workplace design

Designing your office or workplace offers some terrific opportunities to cultivate strong cultures, worker engagement, and performance. Watch our video explaining more.  Connect with us!

Why Best Place to Work Thinking?

Why Best Place to Work Thinking?

Curious if Best Places to Work thinking might be valuable to your business or organization? See this post for more.  Check back in the weeks ahead for more insights about Best Places to Work thinking and design.  

Creating places and spaces which inspire: Color, finish and material selection integration

Best Practice Tips for creating inspiring places and spaces

Curious about how architects work to help their clients create attractive and purposeful interior spaces as part of a renovation, addition or new construction project? See our video with helpful insights into our creative process. With our work we seek to help you, your organization, your business, or your family move gracefully through what often is a stressful, complicated part of any project.  

For a typical project, small or large numerous decisions await which require careful integrative consideration and creative insights on sustainability, indoor air quality, durability, comfort, branding, cost, production time, installation coordination, and more.  

Watch to learn more

There's a lot that goes into creating an attractive high performing interior whether an office, retail space, school classroom or home. This video explains the complexity of color, finish and material selection and why hiring an architect to help adds tremendous value to the long term success of your project large or small.

Curious about next steps?

After watching, let us know if you have any questions or comments. To learn more click on the contact us button below.  You're welcome to leave comments here.  Check the opt in box to receive our updates from the Arocordis Blog with events, insights and more we share here. 

 

In design: CORA Rehabilitation Clinic - Kennerly Facility

In design: CORA Rehabilitation Clinic - Kennerly Facility

Opening Soon

CORA Health Services, Inc. hired Arocordis Design recently to develop concept design and renderings of their soon to open 5,400 SF. Kennerly Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida.  We worked with their national and regional operations leadership to help them infuse their new space with tasteful brand-focused design....

National Life Group Dallas Lobby and Reception Area

National Life Group Dallas Lobby and Reception Area

    Earlier in the summer of 2016 we provided interior architectural design services for National Life Group  and their just finished reception area renovation at their Dallas area office location serving over 200 plus employees.  

 

      Finished this summer, this presents a new face for the Texas location while connecting to company wide aesthetics and brand story. We designed the reception desk area, planter and engineered stone rough and polished cladding, sign marquee (For weight reasons) as well as provided general direction as to wall graphics, furnishings as well as fixed finishes. ...

Working side by side enhances engagement, not estrangement

Working side by side enhances engagement, not estrangement

Pardon its dog-eared appearance but that's the way it goes for a book which has traveled hundreds of miles, had coffee spilled on it, and been underlined more times than we can count.

Why is it a great business book for a high aspiring business and organization?   Friedman takes you behind the scenes, out into the open office, meeting spaces and into the board room

Celebrating Best Places to Work in Vermont

Best Places to Work Vermont Celebration - 2017

Best Places to Work Vermont Celebration - 2017

Tonight we attend the 11th annual Best Places to Work in Vermont held in South Burlington. A sold out event, experiencing it shines a light on successes around the State in businesses large and small following their values and passions building thriving companies. 

By embracing 'Best Places to Work' processes and organizational strategies, companies drive culture building and engagement helping attract and retain talent, improved performance and more. 

We have always wanted to attend to be amongst all of this amazing positive energy.  And being here certainly doesn't disappoint! Vermont is a special place to live, work and run a business.  

There is so much variety in the business focus and value sets of the award winning companies here. What they hold common is their passion for measuring the success of their environment, employee survey results, levels of engagement in programs and other factors.

Another factor is having clear and persistently lived and shared values in their workplaces. Building successful organizations is clearly a team sport requiring many hands and brilliant minds working together. Strength in values and strength in a team of operations, administration, and in many cases, the field, or manufacturing floor all counts. 

16 of the 45 companies here tonight are here for the first time. It's our impression building a best place to work takes years and requires a big vision to get there. Companies following Best Places strategies over the long run, research shows, perform 50-100% better than industry peers. Long term commitment to the process really matters to building success. 

Consider pursuing a Best Places to Work mindset in 2017 and beyond. You won't regret it!

How To Cultivate The Best Value From Activity Based Workplace Design

Tim Oldman - CEO and a founder, Leesman speaking at the workshop

Tim Oldman - CEO and a founder, Leesman speaking at the workshop

Applied Learning in Boston

Recently we attended an exceptional seminar given by Leesman Index at 9OFS in downtown Boston sharing their latest research findings on Activity Based Working.  The seminar was hosted by Tishman Speyer, a global real estate, design and construction consultancy. Facility managers, workplace strategists, interior designers, real estate developers, software companies and architects like ourselves attended. 

Rising Augmentation, need for trust and self-direction

Moving further into the 21st Century finds us veering away from mere knowledge based work alone so crucial to productivity and success in the mid to late 20th Century. Today we increasingly work with processes and systems augmenting our own knowledge and abilities with artificial intelligence (AI) hybridizing how and why we work, how we write and more.  Today we already have begun to learn to work in tandem with these smart tools as they begin to auto-prompt us with predictive intelligence and suggestions helping us (if we are willing and able) to work smarter and at greater capacity than ever before.  

With this increasing augmentation of how we work, employers, depending on industry and type of work processes, are finding the need to shift towards more trust based work cultures relying more on self-directed workers.  More than ever before, critical thinking, curatorship, creativity in complex problem solving play an ever increasing importance requiring more autonomous trust based management styles. This strongly contrasts with work processes relying on traditionally managed knowledge workers working within more traditional 9-5 work settings rooted in late 20th century work styles.

Those older management strategies relying on more hierarchical and fixed in place work, worker and workplace design mindsets may no longer suffice.  Hence the recognition of the value and rise of alternative business transformation strategies like Activity Based Working and Workplace Design where choice, variety and integrated operational and soft systems reign; All working together to empower employees to behave and work differently because they have to.  We think competitiveness and value differentiation demands a shift in mindset transforming how, why and where we work along these lines.

Thus Activity Base Working and ecosystem workplace design offer a clear alternative pathway to help transform business processes and fuel innovation.  But we have to be careful to be thoughtful and ensure as Tim Oldman, the Leesman Index CEO said, "Define fit to purpose when considering shifting towards such transformative business model."  But it is surely not the only answer.  We know one thing to be true, these principle, and others like them, must be tailor fit to each organization's business processes, workforce, brand promise and culture. 

There is no cookie cutter approach to workplace design.

Why did we attend this event?

We went to learn more about this design framework and gain a clearer sense of its value to the mission driven companies and organizations we like to work with.  We wanted to know if ABW might be valuable and adaptable to our clients needs and helping them thrive over the long term.

A year or so ago Leesman released its first version of this survey detailing the rise of Activity Based Working. This work established the context and promise of measuring ABW as a business transformation strategy. Leesman had the goal to revisit research progress with the participants and companies 12 months later to assess and report back on ABW's continuing effectiveness and rising use.  Last week, they were in New York City and Boston where we saw them. They were reporting back their findings over the last twelve months with updated information.

You might wonder what Activity Based Working means and how best to cultivate its value for your organization?

So first, what is Activity Based Working? 

Activity Based Working (ABW) provides employees with (a variety of) purposefully designed settings to best support the many different activities that are undertaken in a workplace. Rather than an employee carrying out their work in a single allocated desk or cubicle, ABW encourages (the recognition) different work activities can be better supported by spaces and features designed specifically for that task.
Spaces are designed to create opportunities for different activities, from intense, focused work and solo telephone calls, to impromptu meetings or more formal collaborative work.
...ABW requires a different approach to workplace design and this often results in visually stimulating spaces. But it also needs an equally different approach to to technology and manegement/staff behaviour.
— Leesman Index, The rise and rise of activity based working

Many confuse this working approach to merely hot-desking, hotelling or flexible sharing desk sharing strategies to assist in providing greater facilities operational flexibility, or reducing needed office square footage. A sticky point for ABW adoption and success is the 'clean desk policy' which come with not having personal and 'owned' workspace.

Example space program closeup

Sometimes viewed as anathema to expectations for a 'space of one's own' at work, ABW's business value proposition relies on shifting mindsets around work, working and the workplace. When well aligned with business fit, purpose and mobility oriented work processes, ABW and the matching ecosystem workplace design help transform businesses Leesman data shows. But it requires thinking differently about mobility based work, people and place.

Mobility Adoption

Leesman's study reviews four different types of Mobility Profiles working in ABW work settings as compared to traditional workplace strategies with 'owned' personal workspace and more familiar office layouts.  We find it really interesting how they define these Mobility Profiles and feel they have great value for consideration and reflection for design and planning purpose by a high performing organizations regardless of ABW adoption.

The Mobility Profiles

  • Mobility Profile 1: I perform most/all of my activities at a single work setting and rarely use other locations in the office.
  • Mobility Profile 2: I perform the majority of my activities at a single work setting but also use other locations in the office.
  • Mobility Profile 3: I perform some of my activities at a single work setting but often use other locations in the office.
  • Mobility Profile 4: I I use multiple work settings and rarely base myself at  single location within the office.

Cultivating Value Through Adoption of Activity Based Working and Workplace Design

Where does the value lay for organizations of various kinds, the most befitting management and organizational styles, business sector types, prevailing business processes and transactions?  We think Activity Based Working and Workplace Design offers value in the following ways, especially in combination with more than one of the factors below. Barriers to adoption must also be considered as well.

  • Mission and Purpose: Mission driven companies, valuing active and strong culture and pride in place.
  • Processes: Business processes requiring a high degree of mobility, agility of thinking, creative group and high value remote collaboration, and combined with self-directed working in high trust cultures.
  • Team with a team: Silo'd teams within larger corporate cultures with a degree of independent autonomy and internal oversight.  "They can help drive innovation within a larger organization." says Ed Cortis, CTO of Rocket Space, who said his "ABW team of 300, worked within an IT team of 1500 when he was a Bankwest."
  • Creative collisions: According to Cortis, "When there is value placed on enabling 'creative collisions', especially amongst agile teams which rapidly assemble and disassemble."   
  • Informality: More informal, flatter organizational work cultures valuing "We" not "I" performance, rotating leadership, servant leadership styles at all levels.

Barriers to adoption

  • Organizational misalignment: Mismatch of activity based working with incompatible leadership, management styles and culture, behavior.  (This is a hard one to parse out but it's worth a closer examination in applied research)
  • Look and feel focus versus really doing it: Admiration for appearance of activity based workplaces but unable to adapt to required workstyles and mindset shifts. You get the snazzy workplace but people aren't prepared to use it properly.
  • Poor acoustics and space planning: Lack of planning for acoustical quality with sound insulated walls, glazing, ceilings and floor surfaces. Poor space planning and lack of variety of open to more closed and private (quieter) spaces.
  • Not adapting and listening: Over-zealous unyielding management unwilling to adapt ABW framework to reality of their people, work culture and processes.
  • Inflexible, fixed mindsets: Team members with fixed mindsets, rather than those open to change. Can be people of any age or experience level. Not generationally specific. (Be careful of generational confirmation bias here.)
  • Ineffective technology infrastructure: IT support system, equipment and processes not in place to effectively support a more fluid, changing work setting, workers moving around on and off-site. 

Summing up

We have been thinking about Activity Based Working for some time and looking for learning ways like this seminar to better understand its value to our architectural and workplace design practice.  Clearly this framework has great potential and will continue to mature. This system appeals to architects and strategists like ourselves on many levels.  However, we must remember to not force this upon our clients when the fit isn't there.  

Remember, when considering this framework, ask the hard questions, examine with your design team your organizational DNA, culture, management styles, work processes and technology support capacity.  Like many things, perhaps adapting aspects of this framework to your design project has the greatest value and the conversation about it will surely unlock invaluable insight how best to design your office to help your business and people thrive.  

That is why we do what we do.

(More About Leesman)

If you have not heard of Leesman, also known as the Leesman Index here is a little about them. They are a data and analytics firm which provides 'collective intelligence' measuring how the workplace best supports people.  They share their data freely and widely, stemming from their practice measuring thousands of workplaces globally over the course of many years. They leave it up to others to use their data and insights, applying and synthesizing them to project work and professional practice needs.  

If you would like to learn more about ABW or other aspects of our design and professional services please contact us.