How Design Is Evolving The Workplace Community?

Mishu Ahluwalia, Founder & CEO, GoHiveMishu is an entrepreneur with more than 17 years of work experience, across domains like technology, real estate and e-Commerce.

The last couple of decades have thrown-up a paradigm shift in the way the work-place is defined. Today, the boring uniform and large workstations have evolved into efficient and inclusive spaces, capable of inspiring people, encouraging conversation and increasing morale. Technology has spurred innovation, and that is also the key in the design values of workplaces. As the definition of work has changed, so has the place where the work is done. Trends show that engaging workplace design enhances employee efficiency and productivity.

The rapid evolution of the work-place goes deeper than the surface and supports the company culture and ethics, builds brand value and also respects diversity and inclusivity. Designers today have breached the frontiers of mere hospitality and re-tail. They understand that design can be used as a strategy to attract and retain talent and increase employee satisfaction. The sense of flexibility also enhances the sense of community. The modern work culture is enhanced by a sense of community.

Work culture is all-embracing in modern times. There is a sense of community, of belonging. Modern companies understand that success is built on diversity and inclusivity. The teams and their leaders both develop an integrated culture. The ethos has evolved to accommodate an ever-adapting regime and a willingness to tolerate and include. People of various backgrounds collaborate to create a unified whole with a common purpose.

Good design has ensured that people are able to connect over shared experiences and stories. Workplace design has evolved to support the natural curation of a particular company's work culture. A shared
work-space creates a broader sense of community and gives workers of different companies a chance to coexist and exchange views. This is integral to ensure that the changing demographics of the employee force and the explosion of technological advancement are in sync with the workplace ethos.

Workplace design has evolved to support the natural curation of a particular company's work culture

Design experts have actually harnessed data on how design impacts productivity. Co-working is the future of the work culture. The startup culture has caused many an entrepreneur to set-up places with low capital. The needs are few, and work hours are flexible. The sense of community is evident in the shared common spaces, wellness, and food facilities and even spaces to spend time together for employees from different companies.

Building an Experience Map to Influence Brand Awareness
The designer essentially creates an experience map to create overlap-ping layers of external perception and internal practices of a particular company. These are the two prongs on which the curation of meaningful workplace design is based. Visioning and programming interviews are conducted to understand the ethos of the work culture. The basic understanding of consumer needs is focused on the anticipation of the end-use of the workplace design. Is there a need for client visits, internal meetings or external events? All this information is punched together to create a place that suits the work requirements.

The office is not restricted to ‘my desk' space, but has evolved to community spaces, where all are free to choose their own workspace for the day. Community guidelines are shared to promote etiquette and functionality. The idea is to untether talent from specific desks and empower workers with choices. There are separate demarcated spaces for personal and project storage. Office supplies are stored centrally. These small changes ease the operational burden in a shared workspace and also reduce cost drastically by lowering inventory and controlling waste.

The modern workplace values a variety of work styles and ethos. Equal importance is given to group meetings and spontaneous one-to-one interactions. There is scope for an individual to work alone or in a diametrically opposite vein, work in collaboration. Shared workplaces celebrate this diversity by allowing project rooms, pin-up spaces, huddle rooms, open seating arrangements, cubicles and focus rooms for individual work. Community rules are necessary to treat others in the way you want to be treated.

Workplace design is not only about trends and technology. It is an integrated understanding of the three principles that govern workplace design ­ culture, brand awareness and community. The model leads to a culmination of the three elements. The vision is to have a vibrant workplace with employees who are creative, productive and highly engaged.