Applying Activity-Based Workplace Design to Your Coworking Space

An Activity-Based Workplace

In an activity-based workplace, employees move between different areas best suited for their needs instead of working at the same desk every day. Benefits of activity-based working include improved social connections between workers and the idea of choice. Individuals pick their spot and can move whenever they like. While some individuals prefer peace and quiet, others work best in areas with constant background noise. An agile workspace design offers both of these extremes, along with everything in between.

Using this concept maximizes a company’s office space and encourages more collaboration and communication among employees. Activity based workplace design focuses on flexibility between workers. Because the design lets individuals choose what space within the office best suits his or her needs, nobody is ever limited to a single desk in the corner. Activity-based designs done correctly allow people to work wherever and with whomever they please.

Smart office design is becoming more prevalent in the corporate world. Gerson Lehrman Group (GLG), a consulting firm in downtown NYC, represents the largest activity-based workplace design implementation by a U.S. company. GLG noticed the need for more collaborative and client-friendly space and they adapted office design accordingly. Now fitted with a coffee bar and glass walled meeting cubes, the space maximizes productivity and efficiency. Unispace in California adopted a similar activity-based design approach and Microsoft’s Netherlands office even includes relaxation zones, auditoriums, and concentration booths.

Other examples of spaces in a smart office design include:

  • Focus rooms
  • Flexible conference rooms
  • Multi-media rooms
  • Quiet zones
  • Stand-up workstations
  • Open lounge cafe areas

How is it implemented?

It is essential to observe your company’s current office space first. Look at how different groups use the existing space. If the software development team is constantly in meetings with one another but the sales or customer service team is typically on individual phone calls, you know that you need a space that caters to either group.

Collecting data can be done manually by keeping spreadsheets of how many people from each team come into the office each day and where they work. Another option is to utilize workplace technology. Systems such as badge readers or lighting and network sensors gather data about which groups use certain spaces and how frequently.

Always keep in mind the idea of an open office plan. The goal is to use your space wisely and improve the company by aiding your individual employees. As an owner or operator of a coworking space, implementing a new agile workplace design can mean anything from a complete renovation to simple changes like revamping an existing lounge area or changing how certain conference rooms are used.

How the Concept Complements a Coworking Space

Benefit Coworkers

Activity-based design tailors the workplace to meet different needs. This cost-effective approach to office space planning increases employee productivity and engagement.

Increase Productivity

In agile working, employees choose where they will be most effective. That means work can be finished faster with more thought behind it.

Improve Employee Wellness

Employees move around more when they don’t have a specific assigned seat. Walking between workspaces can act as the break an employee needs between tough meetings or a difficult assignment. Staying fit at work can be an extra benefit of a smart office design.

Establish Relationships

This approach causes a more transparent and accessible environment forms between company members. People interact more and have the opportunity to build friendly relationships that will last beyond a workplace setting.

To recap, follow these five tips to begin to implement an activity-based workplace design in your space.

-Empower your employees to be productive wherever they work, even if it’s not at a traditional desk.

-Continue to promote a collaborative environment in your coworking space.

-Focus on promoting openness, both in your office layout and among employees.

-Keep an open mind about workplace organization; constantly rethink options to maximize efficiency.

-Be creative. Planning a new space should be fun!

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