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Traditionally, when we arrive at work, we check part of ourselves at the office door and adopt our “office persona”–  a version of ourselves attuned to our company’s workplace culture and professional expectations. In fact, a recent Deloitte study found that more than half of us cover up some part of our identity to fit in at work. But in a world where the lines between work and life increasingly blur, separating our professional and personal selves is not only tricky but counterproductive.

How to Make Your Workplace More People-Centric

Our job-related skills are only a piece of what we bring to our careers. When we can be our whole selves at work, we’re more engaged, productive and innovative – and workplace design can help make this possible.

1. Anticipate and support employee’s personal needs. Workplace amenities like a Mother’s Room or private phone booth make it easier for employees to seamlessly address professional and personal needs throughout the workday. These amenities can also be a valuable tool for recruiting and retaining top talent. Women returning to work following maternity leave, for example, can feel self-conscious about stepping away from their desks. A Mother’s Room signals that your company understands and fully supports their needs, making it easier to bring their whole self to work.

2. Give employees greater control over their environment. 75% of our perceived comfort is psychological. When we perceive a work environment as noisy, uninviting or chaotic, we can subconsciously feel threatened and may struggle to do our best work. Simple adjustments can flip this equation, giving us a greater sense of control over our environment and personal autonomy.

  • Lighting: Task lighting, overhead dimmers, and adjustable shades
  • Acoustics: Sound dampening features and designated quiet spaces
  • Workstation flexibility: Height-adjustable desks for sitting and standing, adjustable chairs, and adjustable height benching systems

3. Empower with choice. Collaboration and concentration can exist side-by-side– as long as your work environment includes the right design cues to maximize space utility. In a collaborative zone, mobile furniture like stools or smaller chairs can be easily rearranged to accommodate impromptu group meetings. Designate a small conference room as a “library zone” where employees can work undisturbed in silence with the door closed.

4. Set precedent. Whether you’re training for a marathon or moonlighting as a DJ on the weekends, being transparent about your hobbies and passions – as appropriate – helps your team feel more comfortable doing the same. When we can integrate our personal and professional lives, we can bring our whole self to the workplace.

More Ways to Bring Work and Life Together

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