Companies rely on data to inform all kinds of decisions on a daily basis, from large-term strategic business decisions to day-to-day operations. But what about the look and feel of the office and the overall experience being created for employees? Creating a workplace design strategy is one area where data-driven decisions can help to create an experience for employees that drives productivity and satisfaction. 

According to the 2019 Capital One Work Environment Survey, 90 percent of employees agree that they are able to perform their jobs better in well-designed workplaces. What does well-designed mean? It entails providing design elements that employees want to see in the workplace, like bold colors and artwork, but it goes far beyond just creating visually pleasing design. Uncovering exactly what a well-designed workplace looks like for a company’s workers, from a functional perspective, is key to understanding what kind of design strategy and benefits to implement. Collecting insights to inform this process can be as simple as observing employees as they move about the space and tackle different projects throughout the day.

Observing to gain insights

The use of shared spaces, like those for collaboration or solo work, is one area in which insights can be especially effective. When it comes to the types of spaces that people want to see in their workplaces, 77 percent agree they perform better when they have space for collaboration, while 88 percent say that is true when they have space for focused, heads-down work. Nearly half (45 percent) want space aside from their traditional desk for solo work.

To ensure a workplace is providing for these preferences, leaders can examine how workers are utilizing spaces in the office for collaboration and solo work. In some cases, they may notice behaviors, like a conference space going unused frequently, that indicate that the configuration or the furniture itself is not supporting the way employees are currently doing work. There is a gap between intent and day-to-day use. 

Using these insights to update furniture to reflect the needs of a workforce is a relatively simple change that can have a positive impact on employees’ productivity throughout the day. In fact, nearly three in four (73 percent) say using flexible workspace options leads to their best ideas. Ensuring the right options are provided is critical and enables employees to do their jobs better.

Implementing a workplace design strategy, even one driven by data, is an iterative process that changes over time based on trends and employees’ preferences and working styles. Observing and collecting input on the way employees are using the collaborative and solo workspaces in the office can help to ensure that all future design strategies meet employees’ needs, better enable them to do their jobs, and ultimately to provide the best products and services for customers.    

Internal and external input

Listening to employee feedback is another way to collect data that’s a key part of successfully implementing a design strategy. Leadership can encourage employees of all levels to share their opinions on what’s working and what’s lacking in their workplace to uncover areas for opportunity and change that can ultimately improve productivity.

In addition to listening to employees, it’s important for companies to keep a pulse on external trends to bolster efforts to hire and retain top talent. According to the Work Environment Survey, 61 percent expect flexible hours from the next company they work for. When it comes to the design elements they most want to see in their workplaces, 58 percent want natural light, and 50 percent want spaces for rest and relaxation. External data can be a key factor in validating a company’s current strategy and balancing what current and prospective employees want to see in their workplaces.  

Using data to inform a company’s workplace design, just like any other area of the business, can lead to deeper and more effective strategy that positively impacts employees and ultimately, customers.