The Ultimate Flexible Office Design: Trust Edition  

By David Keane | on October 9th, 2015

Do your employees enjoy their job? Perhaps not as much as you would like. Extensive research on engagement in the workplace, conducted by Gallup, suggests that only 13 percent of employees are engaged at work. This translates to around 900 million “not engaged” and 340 million “actively disengaged” workers in office interiors around the globe.

Why are workers so out of touch with their work? One answer is lack of trust.

Trust plays a major role in the success of businesses, particularly when workers do not have to be in the office every day. As work becomes more mobile, more fluid and unstructured, then trust is essential if employees are to come into the office for collaboration, information sharing and innovation across multi-disciplinary teams.

This begs the question: How do we build a framework of trust to promote job satisfaction among the workforce? Can it be established practically, through trust-based office design?

The answer is a resounding “yes.” Here are some tips for establishing trust through a well-considered office refurbishment.

Top tips for creating a trust-based office refurbishment

Consult team members before making any office refurbishment decisions.

Consulting the team demonstrates that leaders value and respect the opinions of their employees. It also allows workers to have positive ownership and responsibility over the office refurbishment you create.

Base the office design around mission and values.

Building an office design around the people that use the space, rather than the people who visit the space, enhances connections between workers. This is because employees want to work with co-workers who have similar values to them. Displaying these values visually, in the office refurbishment, confirms that workers have a strong sense of shared purpose and are contributing to the success of the company.

Build the office refurbishment around choice.

By offering a variety of spaces within the overall office design – formal and informal, quiet and collaborative – you demonstrate that you value the needs of your employees both individually and as a team. Give workers the opportunity to configure these spaces, and the sense of trust is even greater.

Make the office refurbishment a home from home.

Worker comfort directly affects engagement, retention, loyalty and of course, worker health. And the most comfortable place people know? It is their own home. By bringing domestic elements such as lounge furniture, eat-in kitchens, reading nooks and chill-out zones into your office refurbishment, you create comfort and that all-important feeling of trust.

Design the office refurbishment for collision.

It’s easy to develop trust with the people you see every day. But what about the people you don’t know? Building “water cooler moment” features into the office design encourages workers from different departments to mingle, chat and build trust organically.

An office refurbishment can’t solve all the trust issues an organisation might face. But it can kick start the process, with great results for productivity, engagement and the bottom line.

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