Successful Workplaces Balance Focus and Collaboration, Gensler Study Finds

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Gensler, who recently topped out on the world's second tallest skyscraper in Shanghai, have just released a report outlining the keys to designing a successful workplace. Using their custom 'Workplace Performance Index' they surveyed 2035 office workers in the US to find out what makes employees happy and productive in their workplace.

One surprising result which they uncovered is that, in opposition to the trend of workplaces being designed to encourage collaboration, workers are actually spending more time on focused, individual tasks than they were 5 years ago. Consequently, over 50% of respondents said that they were distracted by others when they needed to focus. What's more, the survey found that when employees could not focus individually, collaborative work was also less productive.

Read on after the break to find out more results from the survey

This did not mean that workplaces should exclusively be designed for focus, however. The study found that workers still spend around a quarter of their time in collaboration with colleagues, and that the best way to design a successful workplace was to provide the right balance between spaces which allow employees to focus, and spaces which allow them to collaborate with others - most importantly making sure that these spaces do not interfere with each other.

Workplaces that achieve this balance not only allow their employees to be more productive, but also improve employees' perception of the company they work for: employees who had a balanced office environment overwhelmingly ranked their companies more highly in every measurement category, believing the companies they worked at encouraged innovation and had creative employees.

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Gensler also found one key to successful workplaces that has really gained ground in recent years: choice of work environments. With the huge increase in communication tools made possible by the internet, the study found that companies which allowed flexible work hours, the opportunity to work from home and a variety of spaces to work from within an office were much more productive.

The study found that offering this kind of choice and autonomy to employees made companies more productive, boosted growth and reduced staff turnover. As a result, designing a successful workplace is not just a matter of spatial design; it also includes providing the right tools and designing protocols which allow employees the autonomy to find their own most effective ways of working.

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Cite: Rory Stott. "Successful Workplaces Balance Focus and Collaboration, Gensler Study Finds" 12 Aug 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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