Expert Spotlight: John Koga, Vice President for Design

March 06, 2018

“How do you design a workplace that makes people feel really good?”

This deceptively simple question is at the heart of what makes one workplace design succeed over another. It’s more than checking off a list of design features, amenities and the latest technology must-haves. How people feel about a workspace is as important as the space itself. That’s because the workplace is seen as a reflection of the self.

We call this “place identity”. When place identity is high, employees report more engagement and enthusiasm in their work, more communication with their colleagues, and a stronger connection with their employer.

Aesthetic and Environmental Control Drives Place Identity

Successful workplace design intentionally enhances an employee’s sense of belonging through aesthetic and environmental choices that give people control. Whether that’s something aesthetic, like customizing wall color and furniture selection, or environmental, like optimizing lighting levels and indoor temperature, this control empowers employees and companies to shape their workspace to reflect their needs, values and preferences.

A Return to Tradition: Honoring an Employee’s Time

Successful design also honors an employee’s time. Today’s work environments have so many offerings – technology, amenities, and myriad workspace options – that this variety is confusing the workplace. Our challenge now it to choose design elements that balance out collaboration with personal time. Design elements that give employees time to rejuvenate, time to explore, time to innovate, and time to share.

Designing a Community Ecosystem: Identifying Experiences and Emotional Ties

When we design a workplace, we’re designing a community ecosystem. We are designing for the individual employee, the company as a whole, and for visitors to the workspace. We’re looking at the micro-communities on a single office floor, in an entire building, or across a wide campus. We’re studying the experience of people in these spaces. How do people make connections? Where are they naturally drawn? What are their needs? By studying these interactions, we can future-proof our spaces, designing for opportunity and creating a workplace where people genuinely feel good.

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