Why should your workspace design be a priority for HR professionals?
The impact of design on the lives of employees is huge. For example, take the tendency to have a large number of windows in the office as a way of letting in plenty of daylight. “Research shows that the impact is positive for employees,” says Audrey Robert, senior architect at Lachance & associés architectes.
The architect highlights the benefits of a factory that has many windows versus one that would have none. “The workers have contact with the outside, they can see what the temperature is and have a better idea of what time it is, as they see the sunshine. It's good for morale and it instills a healthy dose of positivism.”
All needs are in nature
Obviously, each company and each department has their specific needs in terms of design and development. “People in accounting will require a secure space to work. In the case of human resources, confidentiality is important,” says Robert.
Sometimes, one department can have a variety of needs, depending on the personality of each employee. “There are employees that work very well in open spaces, while others need their corner office to focus and be effective,” says the architect.
There are also generational factors that should be taken into account. “I notice that younger employees work well in open spaces, because they are accustomed to working in teams. Older employees will prefer more traditional offices. They will use the conference room for teamwork, for example.”
Design as the corporate culture vector
Ideally, we would like a building that reflects the company’s values, but this is not always an obvious thing to find. “Here, we are in the area of perceptions, so it's hard to quantify…” states Robert.
Of course, an open office reflects the image of a company where collaboration is an important value. However, you can also create your message through your choices of forms and materials.
Audrey Robert cites the example of a construction project she took part in at Desjardins: “Wood, a warm material, was used to create a warm space. We then used round shapes to invite cooperation.”
Listening, a membership pledge
“The nature of the project does not always allow us to solicit employee participation in the building’s design,” the architect states. “But when it's possible to do so, this is where we see the greatest commitment of people towards their workplace. Also because they identify stronger to a project for which they were able to give their opinion.”
The message has been launched!