Studies show that people are much happier when they feel connected to others in the workplace. People who have friends at the offce are at least four times happier at work than those who don’t, while over 70% of millennials want their coworkers to be a second family.
A renewed focus on community in the workplace comes along with a new focus on mental and physical health. Corporations want to build wellness into their workspaces, but they don’t always know how to go about it, and they don’t always have the vision to achieve it.
Frank Lloyd Wright designed the open-plan office at the turn of the century to enable the uninterrupted flow of work and clear visual supervision. It worked exceptionally well, but 100 years on the nature of work has radically changed,
while the physical environment has not kept up with these changes.
Open-plan offices tend to be the antithesis of collaboration, and sometimes actually promote isolation. But you can create opportunities for innovation through collaboration if you layer the work environment with places that support connection, and allow people to be spontaneous and accessible.
Truly enabling people-centric workplaces requires management vision and practices. You need to have the right culture and behavior, and the right space, technology, and services. The physical environment combines with behavior and attitude to deliver a message and influence workplace behavior. Organizations who want to create people-centric workspaces have to learn this lesson, in order to start walking the walk.