Successful Workplaces Spark Human Energy

By Julie Fuex


Top workplaces, such as Google, are known for providing workspaces that are innovative and rich with amenities and perks. However, look through Fortune’s Top 10 Best Companies for 2016 and you’ll see a trend emerging. It’s not just about the cool workspace or the fun perks, but it’s also about valuing employees and building a strong culture. These companies provide workspaces that complement their culture and implement policies that meet their employees’ needs.

As organizations work to resolve the business challenges many are facing, they are wise to turn their focus to their workplace design hoping to increase productivity, innovation and collaboration. Thoughtful design can provide opportunities for collisions leading to new innovations and higher productivity among knowledge workers. Meeting spaces can be designed to promote specific collaborative behaviors. Workplaces are now being designed to support mental and physical wellbeing. Onsite amenities can help attract and retain the best talent, and heighten employees’ work-life balance.

With all that a smart and thoughtful workplace design has to offer, it’s not surprising that companies are using their workplace as a strategic tool to gain competitive advantage. However, workplace design should not be the only focus for organizations seeking more collaboration and innovation. A company’s people and processes must also be considered. Recent research shows that when employees’ needs are met, they feel more energized, valued, focused and purposeful at work; resulting in a 125% increase in employee engagement. In turn, high employee engagement positively impacts a company’s profitability and can even double its odds of success. When companies provide smart workplace design and processes that meet employees’ needs, they provide higher returns than their peers.

It seems easy enough – provide a thoughtful workplace design promoting your culture, make sure employees have support to succeed, and watch the cash roll in. Yet in my role as a Business Transition Consultant, I’ve witnessed organizations focus solely on workplace design and lose sight of whether their current culture and policies align with their new design.

In order for companies to see the increase in productivity, innovation and collaboration they seek, workplace design efforts must include a focus on people and processes. For those making a significant change to their workplace, this may require evaluating and adjusting current processes, such as workplace flexibility, to allow employees autonomy to use the workplace to best suit their work. It also means providing managers and leaders with the training and resources they need to oversee employees in the new environment and serve as role models for desired behaviors.

Workplace is no longer about providing a place for an employee to sit. It’s become a strategic tool, intertwined with an organization’s people and processes, to provide companies a competitive advantage. Its benefits are fully realized when workplace design is part of a comprehensive workplace strategy that considers an organization’s culture, leadership and processes. This is what PDR calls The Tuned-In Workplace.

Perspectives is a workplace strategy leader to leader forum to spark a valuable exchange of ideas about the future of workplace strategy.  Perspectives 2016 is targeted for late August or early September 2016. The focus is Collegiate to Corporate: Workplace Insights from Learning Environments and how we enable the next generation problem solvers.

If you’re interested in learning more about this topic or Perspectives, please contact Julie Fuex.

Julie Fuex

Julie is a Senior Consultant with PDR, specializing in change management and communications strategy. She advises companies undergoing changes to their workplace on how to effectively communicate and engage their employees to increase adoption and behavior change.