Mark Catchlove from Herman Miller visited the studios and presented their research which has led to their solution – The Living Office.
The team were intrigued to hear about the developments in office design given the recent appointment of a dedicated Workspace team earlier this year.
Eras of Change
To being the session, Mark explained that there has been plenty of research into workplace design and how people interact in their offices and workplaces. He also explained that it has a lot to do with the culture that is instilled by management, but the workplace can have an impact on employee’s engagement and also their wellbeing.
There have been several eras within the workplace; the first being the Era of Industry. This was a time where manufacturing and mass production were prevalent, and organisations had hierarchical structures and leadership focussed on control. People worked in uniform and structured environments. As technology played a greater part in everyday lives and working, this made way for the Era of Information. This era was all about controlling the flow of information, and processes, but still within fairly structured workplaces.
It is argued that we are now moving to an Era of Ideas, where the sharing and deployment of ideas are fast paced and requiring rapid response and quick turnarounds. The workplace design has to adapt to fit this era with more flexible workspaces and offices.
The Living Office
Herman Miller developed the concept of the Living Office through years of research; looking at what makes people productive whether it is time, space or even their colleagues.
Mark also mentioned that management also plays a big part, but that place is just as important with the evolution of cubicle-led offices to open and interactive workspaces. The Living Office concept also acknowledges that each business is different, and when designing workspaces, Green Room would look at the individual business, from its purpose to the activities it carries out, along with an understanding of its character.
Mark then moved on to discuss that each person has a set of fundamental needs that should be met in order for that individual to be happy.
- Security – the need to feel safe in their working environment
- Autonomy – being given freedom to choose their role
- Belonging – feeling that they are needed (social capital)
- Sense of achievement – recognition for a good job done
- Status – feeling valued within the workplace and team
- Purpose – a sense of belonging and feeling valued
Mark explained that there needs to be a balance of profit and prosperity within a business in order for it to be successful. If employees share the passion for driving better business results then the business is more likely to prosper.
Modes of Work
Following the assessment of the business activities, personalities and having an understanding of the fundamental needs of employees are, Herman Miller has also defined ten modes of work that are required for businesses. 70% of the work modes are collaborative, and 30% are solo activities required for individuals to reflect and process their actions.
Collaborative spaces include areas for chat (e.g. coffee areas for impromptu meet-ups); areas to converse and co-create (areas for engagement and conversations); and also areas to huddle and present ideas.
Mark then explained this process of analysis then moves into space planning and the layout of offices and workplaces.