Best Practices

Imagine a world where people love coming to work.
Now make it happen.

Above & Beyond

Learn from the data what sets high performing workplaces apart
Diverse Spaces for Diverse Activities
Workspace Variety

The presence of flexible workspaces is one of the most notable ways that high performance offices with a Leesman+ certification differentiate themselves from average offices, and Gallup confirms that employees rate flexibility of spaces as one of the most sought after office features (regardless of whether you have closed private offices or an open space concept).

Beyond differences in types of activities, keep in mind that employee needs also vary according to differences in personality. According to the Yerkes–Dodson law, extraverts and people conducting simple tasks will generally prefer environments with more vibrant colours, and a buzz of music or activity. Introverts and people conducting simple tasks will perform better in more calming environments. (Reference: Nigel Oseland,  “The impact of psychological needs on office design”)

Key Action Items

Design spaces that support these prominent activities:

  • Individual focus
  • Social activity(with access to healthy food and drink)
  • Scheduled group work
  • Informal breakout work (suitable for both individual and collaborative work)

You’ll get bonus points if you also have spaces for relaxing/ rejuvenating.

Design for a

Flexible Workforce

When designing your office environment, keep the growing trend of the mobile workforce in mind, and give employees the autonomy to use the space the way they see fit. Employees who are trusted to do their work when, where, and how they please are more likely to be engaged and committed. It fuels a sense of autonomy that is crucial to motivation in the modern workforce. 

According to Gallup, in 2016:

  • 52% of employees had some flexibility in their working hours
  • 43% worked remotely in some capacity
  • 51% say they would switch to a job that allows them flex time, and
  • 37% would switch to a job that allows them to work off-site at least part of the time

The consensus between Gallup‘s and Gensler‘s findings is that employees are more engaged and more innovative when they spend some of their time working remotely.  Freelance work is also on the rise, and companies are hiring more and more workers on a contract basis for specific projects. These temporary workers are often overlooked but need to have easy access to tech infrastructure and office facilities. 

Key Action Items

  • Ensure that there are plenty of electrical outlets available
  • Implement a quick and easy system for onboarding freelancers, giving them access to files and wifi
  • Leave at least a handful of unassigned workstations for mobile workers to move freely amongst
  • Have multipurpose areas that can be reconfigured for events and overflow as the team grows or takes on temporary contractors


Ensure Design Reflects Company Values

Align Workplace with Purpose

Employers need to ensure that they are prioritizing office features that genuinely reflect the company’s purpose. A study by Weber Shandwick found that “few employees globally perceive a strong match between how their employers represents themselves and what they experience.”

Avoid falling into this credibility gap. When a person walks into your office, they should understand the company’s reason for being.


Key Action Items

Think about what your company’s reason for being is, and how can you incorporate it into the design of your workplace.


Access to Nature

Natural Lighting & Plants

Biophilic design is an approach to design that incorporates elements of the natural world into the built environment based on the premise that people are healthier and happier when they feel connected to nature.

This emerging field shows a lot of promise, however designers should still be cautious when making predictions about how natural elements will influence productivity or creativity as there is still a need for more in-depth research. One consistent scientific finding is that the presence of natural elements in a built environment helps to foster recovery of stress and mental fatigue (Source: Biophilia Literature Review)

Applying a biophilic design approach to your workplace experience design can be as simple as adding a few plants to your decor, or as complex as working to attain the rigorous requirements set out by certification systems like the WELL Building Standard, BREEAM, LEED, or the Living Building Challenge. Select companies undertake this strategy because it aligns with the company’s sustainability or health and wellness related mission, but this approach is not for everyone.

Key Action Items

Try adding some of the following solutions:

  • Indoor plants (pay attention to where they are placed so they don’t impede the flow of the workplace, and they will get enough light)
  • Living walls
  • Natural light from skylights, large windows, and glass walls
  • Outdoor terraces and community gardens
  • Water features such as indoor ponds and waterfalls
  • View of natural landscapes
  • Nature-related imagery
  • Natural materials such as wood
  • Walking paths for meetings
  • Sounds of water or bird song to mask noise levels (People prefer noise to be at a similar level to that found in the natural world, with a slight buzz of activity)
  • Systems allowing for comfortable variations in air flow, temperature, or light, (especially when they can be programmed to follow a circadian rhythm)



More Resources

Eager to learn more about the science behind these solutions?

Copyright 2018 by Alyson McPhee, All Rights Reserved