Need for a Human-Centric Approach to Workplace Design

Titir Dey Managing Director Space Matrix

Guest Post by Titir Dey, Managing Director-Design, Space Matrix

Titir Dey Managing Director Space Matrix
Post Authored by: Titir Dey, Managing Director – Design, Space Matrix

“Put people first” is a maxim that many brands are subscribing to these days. This involves taking an approach where companies give importance to employees and their expectations so that they are able to do their best and perform optimally!

And this philosophy is reflected in every approach that a corporation takes, including designing a workplace that goes beyond a brick-and-mortar structure and brings alive visually the thinking prevalent in the company. 

Building Collaboration through Workplace Design

Great design, it is said, is a multi-layered relationship between human life and its environment. And in the workplace, it is all about the employees and how the design can speak to them, reflect their aspirations and make work look fun while at the same time bringing out their best.

This is what a human-centric approach to workplace design is and involves focusing on flexible office layouts and integrating technology to augment the right products!

Workplace design focused on relationship building
Workplace designs should make work look fun, centered around social interaction, and relationship building | Source

Workplaces are now being designed around social interaction, collaboration, and relationship building. There is an increasing trend of bringing the outdoors into the workplace. This includes access to natural light and views of the outside, utilizing available outside areas, including natural features like wood and stone, embracing bright and soothing colors, and including biophilia in the work environment.

A Sustainable and Tech-Enabled Workspace Design

Sustainability has moved up the list of many businesses and the same is reflected in workplace design. This involves optimizing the site in which the workspace is being built, the energy use, preserving and conserving water, material use and choosing the right ones, enhancing indoor environmental quality, and the right operational and maintenance practices.

Today, technology is allowing businesses to include productivity as part of their workplace design. Increasing use of tabs, employee-centered apps, request management, cloud-based collaboration tools, and the Internet of Things gives employees a sense of being connected at the workplace.

An MIT technology review notes that data-driven workplace design that enhances the connection between physical surroundings and behavior and performance of employees in a work environment is here to stay!

Designing smart offices go beyond just having tools to enhance productivity and improve connectivity. A smart office uses technology and analytics to understand how the workplace can best serve employees. It also uses technology in workstations and conference rooms, to visitor check-in areas, booking tools, and space utilization software.

It also involves the use of hybrid workspace technologies like smart furniture, smart security, air purifier, and virtual assistants, to name a few! 

Inclusivity and Diversity at Work

Another innovation in workplace design that takes into account the need for promoting a diverse workforce is supporting the diverse physical and intellectual needs of employees in the workplace.

Using positive, inclusive language at all times, having visual and auditory cues and signages, and building spaces for enhanced mobility are some of the ways by which corporates can attract and retain different kinds of people in their workplace. Designing workplaces for special needs like having a crèche where women can leave their newborn babies and milk feed them when required is also becoming popular.

Workplace design including wellness centers
Offices these days are adding wellness centers and spaces for yoga/meditation to boost a positive health focus

A more recent trend is to have wellness spaces within the office environment whether it is for fun or recreation or spaces for relaxation where people can recharge themselves when feeling overwhelmed. Having spaces dedicated to meditation and yoga can also help employees in centering themselves when they feel out of place!

In conclusion, we can say that a human-centric workplace revolves around people and their specific needs. And in the post-pandemic world, the workplace is indeed getting transformed. Starting with shared workspaces and an office layout that can make employees communicate and work together, a human-centric workplace design provides flexibility, improves interpersonal relationships, and focuses on wellness thus providing opportunities for internal as well as external growth.

As Steve jobs said: “Design is not how it looks like and feels like, it is about how it works”. 


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