Thursday, February 3, 2011

Strategic Workplace Survey Results In! Part 1 of 2

I am sharing with you today the results of the recent Strategic Workplace Survey I conducted over the last two weeks.  Thanks to all of you who participated! I did the survey to do a number of things. First was to test out the online survey process.  Primarily I wanted to shed light on issues shaping the design and operation of the workplace this year and beyond and learn more on what is on the minds of the readers of this blog and those I reached out to via Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.   I'll also keep the survey open for a while to continue collecting data.

Reinforcing the generally better news about the economy most responded their place of work would likely be adding staff or additional resources or at least keeping staffing numbers level.  No one surveyed reported the likelihood of more layoffs or downsizing.
The area which surprised me somewhat was the results from the selection of the top three general workplace challenges facing respondents in 2011?  Worker disengagement and lack of clear management process and support were tied with lack of training and development focus and attracting and retaining talent as key underlying concerns.
Perhaps this indicates workers at all levels are burned out from the past couple of hard years and that management hasn't paid attention to managing effectively or providing clear training and professional development oppourtunities.  The cut-backs many have endured or had to make might be now hurting growth, innovation, performance and service.  Clearly more can be done operationally to build more effective team work and worker engagement.  This might be good news for those in the training and professional development services area to connect with clients again!

When asked what were the five general physical aspects needing the most help in the workplace the standout was a shortage of collaboration and meeting spaces. After that there was a tie between inadequate shared common areas, poor acoustics and lack of visual privacy, poor indoor air quality, followed by distance from home and lack of adequate parking.

These are common issues we design professionals here from our management customers and space users.  If these issues were more aggressively addressed in workplace design or renovation, perhaps this could impact worker productivity and wellbeing, ultimately helping the bottom line of the company.  When you're considering your next project whether renovations, additions or new construction really dig deep here when developing the project brief and space programs. Consider adding more conference and meeting spaces of various sizes and types. Make sure you tame the acoustics, general lighting issues and indoor air quality.

With your architects, interior designers and facilities people, talk to your employees and really find out how they view the spaces they work in and how to re-imagine together a more collaborative, effective workplace.  What kinds of common space and amenities would help both employee effectiveness and worker wellbeing?

Next post I'll focus on more specific ways workspaces can be improved, issues around sustainability and green design and day to day interactions between workers results there.  I'll also share some feedback from other designers who wrote me back in some of the LinkedIn groups I belong to.  In the meanwhile, thanks for checking back about the survey results.  Let me know if this is helpful to you and if there's anything I can do to improve.  Thanks, Steve

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