What is the difference between workplace and workspace?

Workplace or workspace?

“What is the actual difference between workplace and workspace?” A question that pops-up frequently amongst employees, designers, HR managers and even architects because we are all not quite sure what the exact difference would be and they sure do sound similar. However, it is very important to keep them separate before redesigning either.

Let’s dive right in. Workplace is the literal physical location you go to work, such as the building, the lobby, your office, your desk, and it embodies the employee experience and organizational culture.1 It is a foundational support for you to be able to do your work, however, it is not the place where your actual work is done, because this is called workspace which is closely related to IT.1  You can transform any place you work at, for instance at work, on the train or on the grass in the park, into your own personal “workspace”.

To clarify or confuse you even more, digital workplace is concerned with for instance creating digital meeting rooms, which is basically the digital version of the physical workplace. In turn, workspace is a component of this digital workplace.1

Workspace can also be called the workstation where your work is done.1 Workspaces can actually include non-human digital agents, such as a software where you plan your weekly lunchbreak in or that meeting with that potential client.1

 “The workplace is where you go to work; the workspace is where you do your work”. 1

In order for a space to be entirely habitable, the physical environment has to meet the following three criteria: health & safety, functional & task performance, and psychological comfort which can be directly affected by the physical workplace design.2 For instance, one of the direct results of poor quality of work life is increased stress levels.2

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1 Bicknell, H. (2017, October 31). 5 Ways to Distinguish the Workplace from the Workspace | Lakeside Software. Retrieved October 29, 2018, from https://www.lakesidesoftware.com/blog/5-ways-distinguish-workplace-workspace

2 Vischer, J., & Wifi, M. (2017). The effect of Workplace Design on Quality of Life at Work. In Handbook of Environmental Psychology and Quality of Life Research (1st ed.). London: Springer

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