Aug 10, 2017 08:10AM
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The most productive employees are those who are happy and who enjoy their work environment. As modern, open offices remain popular, an agile approach to workplace design provides flexibility for workers that contributes to productivity and happiness.
DLR Group is an employee-owned, integrated design firm with 26 offices and more than 1,000 design professionals worldwide. The firm’s dedicated Workplace Studio researches, evaluates, and executes designs for the modern workplace— using the agile methodology regularly.
“Agile design is an effective tool for making workplaces functional for the generational demographics that make up our workforce,” says Melissa Spearman, LEED AP BD+C, Senior Associate and Workplace Leader at DLR Group’s Omaha office.
The once-largest generation in the workplace, baby boomers, are retiring or working primarily in management positions. Spearman says these workers are accustomed to structured environments and formally designed spaces.
“Meanwhile, millennials have claimed their stake as the largest group in today’s workforce,” Spearman says. “Millennials have ridden atop the wave of technological advancement and learned to adapt quickly as new systems emerge. They are already agile and expect the latest technologies to be available in their workplace.”
Sitting in-between are Gen X workers. These employees are excited about the flexibility new workplace methodologies can provide, as long as it contributes to a healthy work-life balance.
The eldest members of Gen Z are finishing college and entering the workforce now. Spearman says her team is still learning about the work style of Gen Z, but it is clear they are agile self-motivators. Personal development is a constant in their lives, and they need space for it in their future workplaces.
The question Spearman’s team aims to solve for each workplace client is: How can one workplace support, encourage, grow and—most importantly–appeal to all of the generations in the current workforce? Spearman says an agile workplace design methodology encompasses six key principles:
1. Focus Zones—Heads down workspace where employees can focus without interruptions.
2. Smart and Connected Spaces—Areas with integrated technology for teams and individuals to gather. Spaces can include a huddle room, nook, or any designated areas within the office that allow for use of digital tools and power.
3. Flexibility—Utilizing furniture from a kit of parts to create optimal flexibility and interchangeability.
4. Collaboration Spaces—Areas for employees to engage in quick chats and impromptu collaboration.
5. Teaming Areas—With today’s multifaceted workplace environment, these spaces allow employees to work in teams to solve problems and strategize.
6. Community Space—Expanding the breakroom into a multi-function space for many different uses allows it to be a gathering space for all-office meetings, a place to hold an afterhours event, or a gathering place for others in the community to enjoy.
“To accommodate today’s varied workforce, DLR Group’s Workplace Studio focuses on designing spaces around motivated individuals,” Spearman says. “Providing an agile environment with a variety of workspace areas to support various generational needs helps employees get their jobs done.”
DLR Group 6457 Frances Street, Suite 200 Omaha, NE 68106 402.393.4100 dlrgroup.com