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» News » 2017 » March » Where Innovators Work
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Where Innovators Work

Where Innovators Work


In a survey of more than 4,000 workers across 11 industries in different parts for the world, Gensler, the architecture and design firm, found that the most innovative companies provide their organisations with a diversity of well-designed spaces in which to collaborate and to focus, as well as empowering employees with the ability to work when and where best suits their work needs.

“We are seeing that workplace design is a critical part of truly innovative companies’ success. On average, employees at innovative companies have better-designed, more functional workspaces that unlock creative potential,” says Diane Hoskins, co-CEO at Gensler. “Employees truly flourish when they have room to not only collaborate but also have space to focus, and are empowered to work when and how they work best—both within their workplace, and in other locations outside it.”

According to the survey, the most innovative employees have the option to work in a wide variety of spaces that meet their needs, and use that option to maximum effect – whether they need individual space to focus, a conference room to brainstorm or learn a new skill, or a social space to chat with co-workers during a coffee break. Key findings on the habits of top innovators include:

  • Innovators report spending only 74% of the work week at the office; less innovative employees spend 86% of time at the office
  • Innovators are at least 2 times more likely to have access to, and use, cafeterias, coffee shops, and outdoor spaces
  • Innovators report 2 times more access to amenities including specialty coffee, restaurants, gyms, and childcare facilities
  • Innovators overall report 2 times more choice in when and where to work

The authors of the report have developed a set of design action items every organisation should consider to optimise the workplace and improve performance and innovation:

  • Invest in more functional workplaces and effectively managing those functions most important to individual performance to make any space type – even open office – highly effective.
  • Diversify beyond the desk by including a variety of group work spaces inside and outside the workplace. Innovators have access to, and utilise a greater variety of spaces in and out of the office.
  • Empower the entire organisational community, not just senior leadership, with the ability to choose when and where to work. From 2013 to 2016 choice at all levels of an organisation fell, but senior leadership continues to report greater choice than more professional or administrative staff.

Connect every employee to the meaning behind their work, their company’s mission, and the broader organisational community with design strategies that support and impact corporate purpose.

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