One of the emerging challenges for companies of all sizes to tackle is the idea of workplace design as a function of personality. Any employee, no matter what niche or industry they are employed in, will work better in an environment in which they feel comfortable.
This isn't just HR mumbo-jumbo either, it's research backed fact. Therefore, it only makes sense that any human resources manager would seek to make the employee environment as comfortable as possible and consider the effect of workplace design and employee productivity
The Many Personalities Of the Modern Workforce
The challenge is that over the past decade, technology, new business thinking, and new job structures have radically changed the way many offices operate. The trend is often towards increased collaboration via open office spaces, hot desking for those who might spend a larger part of their working time out of the office and bright, noisy design that is increasingly replacing the old-fashioned partitioned off cubicle or closed door office.
All of this is embraced by many workers, as it suits their personal work style. For others, however, it's an intimidating change that makes them uncomfortable – and less productive – on a daily basis.
To understand the impact of workplace design on personality you have to accept that any workplace is populated by many different personality types, even if they all essentially have very similar basic skills.
An extensive global study was undertaken by UK-based human resource consultants OPP and it broke down some of the most common personality types that HR managers should be aware that they may need to accommodate when planning workplace design to take into account workplace design and employee productivity. These included all of the following:
These are practical, organized and very through people. They prefer a quiet work space, separate from others, where they can enjoy a traditional desk and storage system that will allow them to quietly focus on the task at hand, the way they personally work best.
Activists are the people who are best suited for the open office work space. They thrive on collaboration and brainstorming and are energized by working with others for the majority of their work day.
Visionaries enjoy working with others, but they are the thinkers in the office who like to come up with solutions on their own as well. This means they enjoy having the option of retreating to a quieter space to collect their thoughts at least occasionally.
Explorers are also well-suited to an open office environment as they enjoy working alongside others to brainstorm ideas and get things done. They are also attracted to bright, thought-provoking design and to new gadgets and technologies.
As you can see, accommodating all of these different personalities in a single workspace is a real challenge. One popular solution – one that is actually being implemented within the massive new Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California in the States is to combine a number of elements within the space.
Collaborative areas are available, but so are hot desks and cubicle offices with removable walls, meeting most of the needs of the varying personalities in the company while also offering them the chance to break out of their comfort zones should they want to with relative ease.
This does sound like an expensive and time consuming project to undertake perhaps. But given that studies have shown that having a workspace that suits their style can significantly increase both employee engagement and job satisfaction it may very well be one worth any company exploring further.