These are the four main aspects of a knowledge worker’s day, according to the workplace design firm, Gensler:
To facilitate their practice, Gensler conducts industry-leading research into how people work.
Their most recent study, released late last year, resulted from interviewing 900 individuals across all variety of companies from banks to telecom to internet to financial services. They also examined the overall workplaces in question as well as corporate performance including profitability as well as measures of innovation and market leadership.
According to Gensler, leading companies and their employees placed a much higher emphasis on collaborative activities (including socializing) and less on individual focused work.
We found that employees at top-performing companies not only spend more time collaborating and learning, they consider that time more critical to job success than do their peers at average companies, who remain focus work-centered.
Leading companies often have spent money in recent years creating custom workplaces to facilitate collaboration, socializing, and learning as well as allow for focused individual work.
This led Gensler to create a Work Place Index (WPI) based on a range of factors from air and light quality to overall design. They then examined a company’s WPI score against factors such as profitability, and noted a strong positive correlation (and this WPI score can be done before and after a major workplace renovation).
The results show that as a company’s WPI rises, their scores on multiple business metrics also rise, including profit, market position, innovation capabilities, employee engagement and brand.
Indeed for some leading companies, workplace change that increased the WPI score corresponded to profits rising 7-14 percent.
As more research like Gensler’s reaches the knowledge economy and broader corporate world, it is likely to continue the push toward workplace changes – both the physical and psychological. After all, many employees don’t want to be seen as socializing too much for fear of it being considered unproductive; or feel they should be seen diligently working in their office.