It has been said that if you don’t like the view, change your perspective. It turns out much research has gone into the literal perspectives of employees and how to better their workplace views for positivity and productivity.
With the advent of cubicles in the 1980s, an emphasis was placed on maximizing space, often at the expense of employee comfort. Many businesses literally became a rat maze, with “cube farms” penning in employees across corporate America. Little thought was given to how four little fabric-covered walls in a five by five space for each would affect the attitudes, work performance and even the health of employees.
Research shows that human beings are naturally drawn to light, and feel and work better when given access to an attractive view. Daylight has been proven to affect people, with those healthier and less stressed given access to light and interesting views to look at, whether natural or not.
Progressive office design means planning and designing for successful employees. Not every building or business can provide each employee “a room with a view,” but cutting-edge design creates environments in which employees feel more at ease, less stressed, healthier, more positive and better able to collaborate and interact with others. And collaboration is to this millennium what cubicle isolation was to the 1980s.
Benching – Smart Collaboration
Smart businesses are turning to “workplace benching,” which is an evolution, or rather revolution, of the cubicle workspace. Benching solutions offer:
- large stand-alone open plans with limited acoustical and visual barriers;
- customizable storage, panels, height-adjustable tables for flexibility, mobility, and storage;
- hybrid integrations for reduced footprint and greater interaction and collaboration
Recent economic challenges have sharpened a focus on maximizing corporate or business “real estate” and the resultant cost reductions through workspace efficiency. In fact, according to Gensler – a global architecture, design, planning and consulting firm – cubicle sizes have been reduced from an average of an 8-by-10 foot area to a downsized 5-by-5 foot space. That’s a 69 percent space reduction, which is for the purpose of cost-saving economics alone, certainly not for the benefit of the crammed-in employees.
Beyond making the most of business space, however, is a new emphasis on collaboration and a growing pursuit of sustainability in design and function. Workplace benching is emerging as a successful, attractive and cost effective response to these quests for smart space choices, collaborative options and sustainability or “green” design.
LEED Likes Light
LEED®, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design offers credits for companies, through “nationally accepted standards for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings.” LEED certified buildings are easier to sell or lease, easier on the environment and easier, and less expensive to cool and heat. LEED certification is good for any business and the timing is perfect for new construction or a simple redesign to think about earning LEED credits.
Because of the growing emphasis on daylight views, companies can earn up to three LEED points, depending on the extent to which daylight views are provided. In addition to LEED certification, further savings will come from maximizing daylight to reduce the need for artificial light, also lowering air cooling and energy costs.
A New Perspective
Since the cube days of the 1980s we’ve had to change our perspective from focusing on the work to the detriment of employees and productivity, to focusing on the employees so they can think all about the work—healthfully, positively and productively.