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Understanding the science behind effective workplace experiences

7th July 2016

Understanding the science behind effective workplace experiences

Over the past 20 years the workplace industry in the UK has been fixated on improving asset efficiency. Workplace density has gradually risen, driven by the need to reduce operating costs and maximise productivity. But somewhere along the line, we forgot about the impact this has on the people who work and visit these environments.

The role of the knowledge worker in modern offices

The number of knowledge workers – employees whose main capital is their knowledge, experience and intellect – is rising at an inexorable rate. Creating environments that harness this knowledge and creativity is vital to commercial success. Yet organisations do not apply the same science and sophistication to the creation of their office workplaces as, say, a manufacturing company would for one of its factories. They know that achieving productivity and efficiency is important, but very few companies truly understand how to design workplaces that imbue these qualities in their workforces.

What guides modern design?

While the design of a modern factory is guided by logic, process and science, the design of most modern workplaces is often led by emotion, opinion and guesswork. But just because most organisations don’t believe there is a science to designing effective workplaces, doesn’t mean there isn’t one.

Understanding the science behind effective workplacesWhat the consumer world can teach us

In the consumer world, huge amounts of research is carried out to understand how to create environments that engender certain emotive responses; from excitement and enjoyment at an amusement park, to the desire to purchase products at a retail outlet. If we are to truly understand how to harness productivity and engagement in the era of the knowledge worker, this level of science and research needs to be applied to the corporate world too.

A scientific approach to understanding workplace experiences

Interserve is leading a comprehensive research project to define, understand and apply the science behind designing effective workplaces. Working in partnership with leading workplace change experts Advanced Workplace Associates (AWA), we will explore how organisations can better understand the link between working environments and commercial success and develop a suite of materials, tools and methodologies to design and deliver effective workplace experiences.

This will be a two-year research programme, with a series of research-led reports published throughout. In this initial white paper, we outline in more detail some of the concepts we will be exploring and set out the agenda for subsequent reports in this series.

Download the white paper, Defining, understanding and applying the science behind effective workplace experiences here.

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