Is an architect enough for relocating or redesigning your workplace?
Sometimes it isn’t enough to put a fresh coat of paint or throw around a few Fatboys, to improve your workplace. If you’ve outgrown your current workplace, in size or in quality, meaning, you need to improve the design of your current workplace, you will need an architect in order to make those changes. But is an architect even enough?
If you’re hoping to make your office a workplace that truly enables your employees to be their best, an architect may not be enough. Architects tend to look purely at the form and function of an office space, to the exclusion of a lot else. As an architect myself, I can tell you, many opportunities are lost due to that narrow focus, including opportunities to make your employees happier, healthier, and more productive. Even if you select an architect with a vast experience and well-developed skills, and even if you do end up with a beautiful and functional workplace, you could be harming your employees rather than supporting and nurturing them.
It should come as no surprise to those who have experienced working in a positive environment that positive interactions in the workplace and happiness are directly linked.1We’re happier when we get along with the people we work with, and when the workplace we go to every day is designed to make our work more meaningful and our quality of life better.
Many opportunities are lost due to that narrow focus, including opportunities to make your employees happier, healthier, and more productive.
When designing and planning your new workplace, it is not enough to have someone focused on form and function. You need someone that has a good understanding of ‘flow’: meaning how people interact with each other. Most importantly, the design of the workplace not only needs to take into account how people interact in the workplace; it is to be designed in order to nurture people’s interactions in the workplace.
A great design will take into account the form, function, and flow in a space. Think about how a person walks from one place to another. Will they be tempted to cut through another person’s workplace because it is faster, constantly disrupting them? A good design will make it so that the natural flow of a building doesn’t disrupt any workers. Even better, the natural flow will be designed to create added value for all people in the company.
If you’re wondering who can help you design and build such a utopia-sounding workplace, you’ll be right to think that your architect should — but many won’t. You’ll want to make sure the architect you choose has the vision, the strategies and the experience, of designing for interactions. Bear in mind, that an experience designing workplaces does not automatically translate into an experience designing for interactions. We all know too many beautiful and even functional buildings that make their inhabitants miserable.
Unlike the majority of architects, you’re looking for an architect with a deep understanding of human interactions, an architect that is also a Workplace Interactions Expert.
A great design will take into account the form, function, and flow in a space.
How to find a Workplace Interactions Expert architect
Architects with experience in workplace interactions are out there, and they can elevate not only the look and feel and functionality but also the entire experience of your workplace. Whether you are starting from scratch, or just updating an old facility, a Workplace Interactions Architect is your key to increasing productivity and creating a workplace that is easy, nurturing and enjoyable to work in.
Luckily, the effect of architecture on people’s well-being, performance and happiness is catching on in the architectural world, as more people are understanding the value of it.2 Smart offices, the use of color, texture, and natural lighting in the workplace, as well as other less obvious features of architecture that balance human health and productivity, are becoming more and more popular.
While most architects still look at a building purely in terms of how it looks, Workplace Interactions Architects are gaining momentum, as more and more clients, specially HR, FM and CRE3 managers as well as other workplace professionals, demand the best quality of workplaces for their employees.
If you are wondering whether the architects you are considering are Workplace Interactions Experts, a shortcut for you is to pick up the phone and first talk to them and listen closely to the language and words they use. You also would want to back their talk with their projects and past clients, so do check their work and their references. Architects that truly design for interactions are usually very passionate about what they do, and it will not be difficult to spot. You’ll be able to tell them apart from others through their focus on human interactions. Look for someone who wants to design the workplace in a way that fosters human interactions. That should be reflected both in their vision as well as their process. You surely can’t expect architects who work in the same customary process as every other architect to deliver a workplace that surpasses every other workplace!
During your search, you may be tempted to simply hire an architect to do the building side of things, and a Workplace Interactions Expert who is not an architect to make changes from there. A Workplace Interactions Expert who is not an architect may not be easily able to translate those interactions into the design of the space itself. You need both skills, ideally in the same party.
While they aren’t many and they surely aren’t common, great Workplace Interactions Architects do exist, if you can just find them. You need them in order to have a workplace that is nurturing and enabling for your employees. Simply relocating or updating your office space is not enough. Real change involves creating a workplace that is innovative not in terms of form or function, but rather in terms of flows, interactions, employee experience and happiness.
We believe that space is a strategic tool that can foster interactions, and any added value or innovation, small or large, starts with interactions. Interactions are the seeds of innovation. At the intersection of the main forms of interaction – creativity, collaboration and learning –added value emerges. Would you like to learn more? Download here the excerpt of the book The Power of Interactions.
Align and Engage your entire workforce to achieve massive growth in your Organisation.
3. HR: Human Resources, FM: Facility Management, CRE: Corporate Real Estate.