School might be out for summer, but it is still a perfect time to learn what your work environment is visually communicating. Through observation and understanding, you can determine the actions that will bring beneficial changes.
There are many drivers for change in the workplace, including technology innovations, increasing emphasis on attracting and retaining employees, and the fact that four generations are working side-by-side for the first time in history. A great workplace must stay agile in support of the most important asset: their employees. Investing here encourages employee dedication and loyalty, freeing them up to do their best work. It’s a win-win situation.
Let’s talk about what your work environment is visually communicating to external and internal users in three steps.
To begin this process, consider choosing a few employees to walk around the space and complete a list of improvements that are needed. A mixture of employees with varying years of experience can provide more depth to the feedback. If you’d like an even broader range of responses, consider interviewing representative employees from different groups or provide all employees with an online survey to gather the information.
With any of these techniques, you can seek a range of information, from big picture items concerning your location, and its proximity to amenities, down to smaller details of maintenance or furniture placement. Keep in mind that you are seeking pain points or daily distractions. Easing or eliminating these can create a happier work environment.
During the next step, it’s time to analyze the observations and weigh how improvements in these areas could be beneficial. Again, supporting employees as your most important asset is key. Let’s look at a few examples that can make a big difference.
At your company’s entry point, such as a lobby or reception area, is there a clear message to indicate to someone that they have arrived at your company? Here, you have a perfect chance to showcase the essence of your company, reinforce your brand identity, and visually represent your company values. Strategies range from displaying your company logo in a prominent way to full-scale Environmental (or Experiential) Graphic Design, or EGD. EGD can be designed in a literal way, such as stating your company values or mission, or you could take it toward the abstract, by incorporating symbols that are meaningful to your company in an artful display of objects or lighting. Consider placing elements of your brand throughout your space as a cohesive thread that ties everything together.
As you travel through your space to where most of the work happens, is there access to natural light and a view? Access to natural light is beneficial for our health. Exposure to it allows body clocks to work better, which can provide a better night’s sleep. That results in more alertness and productivity during the day. An expansive view can be quite beneficial, especially for employees who need to produce creative solutions. Looking out to the horizon encourages bigger thinking and is a subtle reminder that anything is possible.
Have you provided employees areas for focus, places to collaborate, and elements of interactivity and fun? Distinct areas for focus and collaboration support what workers need at different times of the day. Informal collaborative spaces are a great place for employees near retirement to share knowledge with employees entering the workforce. In addition, sit/stand desks, adjustable monitors, and the use of laptops provide ultimate flexibility and offer healthier options for employees through ergonomics and movement.
At any point in your space, you can provide opportunities of interactivity and play. This might not seem imperative, but it offers employees chances to step away from focused work and gain some relief. Many of our best ideas come during these times of relief.
Now to the last and most significant step. Hopefully, you’ve identified some areas you can improve with simple cleaning, maintenance, or rearranging. A few Fridays dedicated to the cause may solve your problems. However, if you’ve found that you need more help, PDR offers a wide range of services that can take you from small changes to a complete transformation of your work environment. For more information contact us, we would love to help.
As a designer, educator, and leader, Christy brings a unique blend of abilities to PDR. Over the past 10 years, she has led creative teams to produce outstanding visual and experiential work. Through attentive listening and a focus on individual personality types, she has mentored and developed a department of up to 60 team members. Believing it takes just an extra bit of attention and the right mindset, she has been able to ignite in others a passion for their chosen careers and a love of lifelong learning. When it comes to decision-making, the key for her has been careful research and analysis, along with a leadership style that balances assertiveness and approachability.